Kiwis In The Lead
Saturday 25th February 2017
Kiwi Teams Lead the Charge on Day One of GODZone
New Zealand teams are at the front of the pack on day one of the GODZone adventure race with the top five teams all Kiwis.
Wanaka’s Team Tiki Tour’s Tom Lucas, Mike Kelly, George Lucas, and Floorjte Gimmett have made the most of their local knowledge to hold lead position for most of the day.
With them in close second is returning GODZone champs Team Yealands Family Wines led by world champion adventure racer Chris Forne with Dan Moore, Dan Busch and Simone Maier.
Team Swordfox from Nelson made up of Brent Edwards, Ash Whitehead, Stu Lynch and Georgia Whitla from Nelson is right behind them in third place.
Then Wanaka Team Torpedo 7 led by Richard Anderson is keeping up the pace in fourth and the Sneaky Weasel gang out of Christchurch in fifth led by Struan Webb.
The five lead teams are heading into the first major trek of the race this afternoon. It is a 25km trek from Whitechapel near Arrowtown up over Bullendale and down into the famous Skippers Canyon and Branches Camp.
Team Yealands Chris Forne said at the Whitechapel transition area he planned to let the lead squad go ahead at some point and then make his big move.
“ I think what Chris is planning to do is make a navigational jump on the other teams sometime in the dark tonight as they go up over the mountain tops and down into Branches camp. There are some tricky checkpoints the teams have to find in the dark and there is some very steep terrain to navigate. Chris is the best navigator in the world so lets see what he does,” says Race Director Warren Bates.
Currently the five leading teams have all chosen slightly different ways to tackle the Stage Two trek that will finish at the Branches Camp some time in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
The race started this morning with 70 teams heading off on their 410k journey from Queenstown Beach running up to Skyline near Ben Lomond, then mountain biking over Queenstown Hill to the Shotover River. From there they kayaked and canoed down the river to just above the AJ Hackett Bungy Bridge before gorgeering up to Whitechapel.
The 15 teams on the Pursuit course (shorter format) had the added thrill of abseiling off the historic Lower Shotover Bridge around midday.
The fastest teams in the field are expected to travel at an average speed of 3.1km/h on the Bullendale trek over and expected to arrive at TA2 Branches Camp in Skippers canyon around 6am tomorrow.
From there they will paddle the upper Shotover River down to TA3 at Deep Creek and a spectacular white water rafting section with Queenstown Rafts.