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Sticking to half a race plan enough for Tiki Tour win

Tuesday 28th February 2017

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By Annabelle Latz

Tiki Tour (13) only stuck to half its race plan, but it didn’t affect the champion result one bit.
The local team took line honours for GODZone Chapter 6 in convincing style this morning on the shores of Frankton Beach.
Amidst picture perfect conditions, the kayaks of Tom Lucas, Mike Kelly, George Lucas and Floortje Grimmett touched the shore line at 11.15am; three days, four hours and 15 minutes after setting off from Queenstown Beach on Saturday.
They were super happy with their race, all looking fairly relaxed on the finish line with a beer and pie in hand as they took a moment to reflect on their efforts.
Tom said he and his brother George had spent a fair bit of time mustering those hills as youngsters, so knew the lay of the land well.
“The race went really well for us,” he said.
Their pre-race plan was to go hard, and stick with navigator Chris Forne, (Yealands Family Wines team member).
“We did the first bit, but we never had to do the second bit!” said Tom.
Tiki Tour lead from the beginning, competing in convincing style throughout the 406km course.
The public interest for GODZone this week has been no secret, with thousands of online followers, and hundreds of enthusiasts dotted around the transition areas.
In similar style, there was a great crowd at Frankton Beach to cheer Tiki Tour in.
Judy Knight said the stars had aligned for this week’s race, with regard to the weather, and the great spots from which people could view the events unfolding.
“There has been some awesome tracking. Tiki Tour haven’t put a foot wrong, they’ve just been so tactical, focused and intelligent,” she said.
Kathryn Jones and her children spent Sunday with family members of Tiki Tour team members Tom and George’s family, visiting the transition areas.
“And if I was ever awake at 3am there was something to look at!” she said, adding how easy and fun it was to track race progress.
Fiona Ryall took her children out of school when Tiki Tour was due to finish; a spectacle young ones love to see.
Hamish Fleming, local adventure racing star who has competed in GODZone, has really enjoyed watching this year’s race unfold in his back yard.
“It’s been so accessible. You can just shoot out and see the teams,” he said.
His mate Steve Norton agreed, acknowledging it was really nice to see it around town, including all stages.
Hamish and Jenny Cochran, from Merrell, the apparel sponsor for GODZone, have been thoroughly enjoying their week down in Queenstown amongst the vibe.
“It’s so well organised, and so easy to follow the event with online tracking… Go all the Kiwis!!” said Hamish.
Local man known as Alroy, who has a few Southern Traverse races under his belt, has especially watching the mountain stages and the night stages.
“It’s been brilliantly well organised, it couldn’t be better,” he said.
His favourite part about GODZone is that all sorts and levels of competitors are having a go.
“They’re out there doing it, they’re giving it a go, and it doesn’t even matter if they’re last or first,” said Alroy.
Craig McLean and Quinton Penniall were cheering in their workmate Tom Lucas.
“He’s very casual about his exercise, keeps it very low key.. he’ll just pop out for a run or a paddle and pop back in to the office,” said Craig.
Race Director Warren Bates was enjoying the atmosphere on the finish line, and said Tiki Tour handled the pressure of the race amazingly.
“I really do think the best team won, there’s no dispute,” he said.

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