Chapter 2 – “Mt Cook”
Well, we didn’t think we could trump Milford Sound but many of the competitors think we did with a start line under Mt Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand. From here a near linear route, North to South, confronted teams which exposed them to the very best of the South Island’s rugged scenery.
From the high alpine glaciers of the Mt Cook National Park the teams raced southwards to their ultimate destination in Queesntown. The adrenaline was flowing right from the start with exposed ridges, crampons and ice axes, a very lively Tasman River paddle and the small matter of the World’s highest cliff jump just a few km before the finish – which for some teams was a long 6 days after they started.
Thirty four teams from all over the world made it to the start line, with 14 countries represented – Argentina, Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Holland, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa & the USA – with approximately 33% of the participants overseas nationals. Every level of experience was represented with the two best teams in the World – Seagate & Thule – going head to head in battle once again, along side a number of teams who had not competed in an expedition length race before. The consensus was that this was an incredibly strong line up of teams, particularly those from New Zealand, Australia and Brazil. Those teams who had previously competed at GODZone had ‘upped’ their game this time around as they now understood the unique demands of racing in the Ultimate Adventure Racing location.
The age of the competitors varied, testament to the attraction of this type of event for all ages. We were delighted to welcome back Jim Cotter and Neil Jones who are legends of the sport and at the same time watch them go up against the new generation of ‘colt’ teams that are improving all the time with experience.
|Team Name||Team Captain||Team Member 2||Team Member 3||Team Member 4||Final Result|
|1.||Harraways Oats||Jess Simson||Aaron Prince||Stu Lynch||Dougal Allan||Full Course|
|2.||3 Bald Eagles 1 Fit Kiwi||Dan Abel||Sarah Bryant||Joe Haver||Tom Thomas||Retired|
|3.||Rab/Arrowfield Apartments||Mark Wallace||Allister Adams||Katherine Allan||Gray Patterson||Full Course|
|5.||Bivouac Colts||Ryan Thompson||Dayne McKnight||Bex Law||JJ Wilson||Full Course|
|6.||Brasilia Multisport Team||Camila Nicolau||Guilherme Pahl||Bernard Robinson||Sam Clark||Full Course|
|7.||Bridgedale Socks||Colin Slater||Dave Rudge||Mary Mcbride||Jerome Sheppard||Retired|
|8.||Due South||Hugh Tait||David Burnett||Chris Stewart||Amie Manning||Short Course|
|9.||Sheep Eaters||Janet Musker||Joel Tate||Tim Sikma||Grant Pepper||Full Course|
|10.||Complete Performance||Peter Hall||Richard Dove||Rosie Shakespeare||Simon Lewis||Short Course|
|11.||The Go Team||Rhys John||Tim Farrant||Hadleigh Miles||Emily Wall||Full Course|
|12.||Heartland Ricoh||Tony Watson||Ian Walsh||Tamsin Chittock||Mike Robins||Full Course|
|13.||It’s All Good||Kevin Humphrey||Kath Copland||Brett Sparkes||Sharon Dilly||Retired|
|14.||Kauri Coasters||Barry Ruddell||Graeme Ewanson||Anyika Thomsen||Alan Kirkpatrick||Full Course|
|15.||Konica Minolta||Josh Harris||Sam Manson||Naomi Whitehead||Rob Lord||Full Course|
|16.||Lost & Lonely||Ian Huntsman||Wendy Riach||John Henson||Brent Herdson||Full Course|
|17.||Macpac||Rob Preston||Kathryn Preston||Damon Goerke||Brent Edwards||Full Course|
|18.||Macpac Girls on Top||Debbie Chambers||Anne Lowerson||Jill Westenra||Sakkie Meyer||Full Course|
|19.||Magellan Adventure||Tom Lucas||Jo Williams||Mike Kelly||Mike Walker||Full Course|
|20.||Midnight Sun||David Kricker||Emily Cambier||Justin Jarvis||Duncan Stodart||Short Course|
|21.||Moa Hunters||Richard Anderson||Simon Bowden||Bob McLachlan||Floortje Draisma||Full Course|
|22.||Night’n Day||Jane Matchett||Michael Lawrence||Neil Burrow||Scott Dunavan||Unranked|
|23.||Orion Health||Wayne Oxenham||Lisa Bates||Jim Hawkridge||Glen Currie||Full Course|
|24.||Outer Edge||Rohan Kilham||Sean King||Andrew Renwick||Tsalina Yi-Lin Phang||Full Course|
|25.||PAKn’SAVE||Jim Cotter||Sia Svenson||Petr Sykora||Milan Brodina||Full Course|
|26.||AWS Legal||Greig Hamilton||Robert Jarvis||Louise Mark||Seamus Meikle||Full Course|
|27.||Placemakers Queenstown||Lucas Fornes||Sam Wright||Di Liddell||Gary Erving||Retired|
|28.||Rogue||Liam St Pierre||Leo Theoharris||Rebecca Wilson||Ray Deetlefs||Full Course|
|29.||Seagate||Nathan Fa’avae||Sophie Hart||Chris Forne||Trevor Voyce||Full Course|
|30.||NCX||Stephen John||Paul Toneycliffe||Natasha Trovato||Huw John||Retired|
|31.||Swordfox||Nick Ross||Shane Armstrong||Fleur Pawsey||Ashley Whitehead||Full Course|
|32.||The Knowledge Institute||William Sams||Hamish Fleming||Elisha Nuttall||Emily Wilson||Retired|
|33.||Thule Adventure Team||Jacky Boisset||Myriam Guillot||Marcel Hagener||Jacob Roberts||Retired|
|34.||Vitalliance||Pierre Francis||Christine Rossignol||Thomas Duchamp||Amir Reza-Tofighi||Retired|
|35.||Whakatane-NZ||Neil Jones||Austin Oliver||Gordon Townsend||Shona Steel||Retired|
If ever an adventure race was a ‘journey’ this was it. The route plunged north to south in a broadly straight line with twists and turns to keep everyone watching from the outside on the edge of their seats. The route started with technical challenges in the form of glaciers and cold, turbulent, white water. The middle part of the race was defined by the big route choices of the Dingle Burn stage. The final challenge was the tricky navigation of the last 2 stages, purposely positioned to catch out those teams suffering from severe sleep deprivation. It’s a course we’ll struggle to better since it had everything a race like this needs (and the weather gods were smiling on us) but we will be trying, rest assured.
The route covered a total distance of 513km, which included approximately 119km of trekking, 267km of biking, 37km of canoeing and 90km of kayaking. The consensus was that this was a slightly easier course than Chapter 1. Maybe. The hot weather brought about it’s own challenges but overall the terrain, whilst more technical in places, was quite open and even though teams got lost (sometimes for long periods) the impact was not so severe as at the Milford event.
However, the teams, on the whole, were far better prepared this time around, had fully understood the importance of excellent navigation after the first Chapter and many had set themselves the more realistic goal of just conquering the course ahead of them, rather than worry about placing.
START – Teams started at the Sir Edmund Hillary Memorial at The Hermitage Hotel, Mt Cook National Park. Start time was 6am so that teams would reach the first ridge line at daybreak.
STAGE 1 – Alpine Mountaineering using fixed lines, crampons and ice axes to climb to the Annette Plateau and round to the glacial lake at the head of the Tasman River (icebergs on show for all)
STAGE 2 – White water canoe down the grade II & III rapids of the Tasman River and then a short paddle along the stunningly blue Lake Pukaki to Braemar Station
STAGE 3 – A long and fast mountain bike section which travelled the newly opened Alps to Ocean cycle route before turning off into the magical spires of the Clay Cliffs at Omarama and then up the Ahuriri Valley
STAGE 4 – The high mountain trek over the Dingle Burn area offered incredible route choice possibilities with the top 8 teams selecting 5 different routes on their journey across this stunning area which culminated in the Lindis Valley
STAGE 5 – A steep climb by mountain bike and an amazing descent took teams across the Grandview Area and Lindis Valley to the top of the Hawea River and ultimately the confluence with the Clutha River
STAGE 6 – A superb 90km paddle down one of the highest volume rivers in the world, the mighty Clutha River. Lots of fun grade 2 rapids along it’s length and then a sleep inducing kayak along the calm waters of Lake Dunstan to finish
STAGE 7 – The Pisa Range is a giant range of hills with a relatively flat but intricate system of tors and small river valleys on it’s summit plateau. It was the perfect place for some very tough navigation just at the point when teams were tired and under pressure from rival teams. The Live Coverage and Tracking kept us amused as we watched the teams struggle in the dark
STAGE 8 – What better way to finish than a beautiful bike ride with a net downhill of 1200m? The route included a few challenging climbs and some epic descents before culminating at the Shotover Canyon Swing – the World’s Highest. Teams had enjoyed a few days to consider how they would deal with this mental challenge but most did it with great spirit (and a few screams and the odd obscenity directed at the event organisers)
FINISH – Teams finished at Event HQ in Queenstown which was delightfully hosted for the entire duration of the event by Pinewood Lodge (thanks guys for everything – we’ll be back)
The 2013 edition of GODZone, Chapter 2 – Mt Cook, was won by team Seagate, which comprised Trevor Voyce, Chris Forne, Nathan Fa’avae, and Sophie Hart who once again put in another inspiring and devastating performance.
Seagate were always going to be the team to beat but many predicted that Thule and the newly formed (though highly experienced) Harraways Oats would run them close. It quickly became apparent in the early stages that Thule were suffering some ‘personnel’ issues and also finding the tough New Zealand navigation to be outside of their comfort zone. Early on Day 2 they found themselves in the wrong place in a tricky part of the Dingle Burn and elected to quit when they were lying in 5th position and quickly being caught by other teams.
Harraways Oats, comprising highly experienced racers Stu Lynch and Aaron Prince, together with young hot shots, Jess Simson and Dougal Allan always looked like they would run Seagate close. They had strength in depth, experience and great navigation skills. The gap of around 3hrs at the finish was a lot closer than the second placed team last year and our calculations and time splits show that most of the time lost to Seagate was in transition – not that surprising for a team that came together relatively quickly. It was a fantastic performance.
Third place were taken by Australian-based team, Macpac, who raced in their own words ‘as well as they could have done’. Rob, the team captain, had admitted that they were slightly under-prepared and a bit taken aback by the difficulty of racing in New Zealand in their first year at Milford Sound. This time around they raced smartly and made few mistakes which gave them a well-earned place on the podium.
GODZone was invited by New Zealand Multisport to host the National Adventure Racing championships which was only open to all Kiwi teams. Seagate took top honours alongside, Harraways and Swordfox (who improved their overall leaderboard position this year from an impressive 5th at Milford to 4th).
GODZone is keen to promote emerging youth teams on their journey into this demanding sport. The younger teams compete for the Colt Trophy (as well as the overall title) and once again it was Bivouac, who triumphed last year, who came through with a fantastic performance. They were crowned well deserved winners and finished well inside the top 10 overall – a fantastic achievement given the quality of the field.
The Top Five
|Team Name||Team Captain||Team Member 2||Team Member 3||Team Member 4||Team Member 4|
|1.||Seagate||Nathan Fa’avae||Sophie Hart||Chris Forne||Trevor Voyce||3Days 3Hrs 35Mins|
|2.||Harraways Oats||Jess Simson||Aaron Prince||Stu Lynch||Dougal Allan||3Days 6Hrs 28Mins|
|3.||Macpac||Rob Preston||Kathryn Preston||Damon Goerke||Brent Edwards||3Days 14Hrs 44Mins|
|4.||Swordfox||Nick Ross||Shane Armstrong||Fleur Pawsey||Ashley Whitehead||3Days 20Hrs 49Mins|
|5.||Magellan Adventure||Tom Lucas||Jo Williams||Mike Kelly||Mike Walker||4Days 3Hrs 1Mins|