Check out some great action from today’s GODZone as the teams take on the mighty Mt Tapuae o Uenuku – wicked scenery too!
The Hurunui River is the focus of day four at the GODZone adventure race in Kaikoura as the front end of the field paddle the longest water section of the 520km course.
Five teams started paddling in earnest at 7am this morning after camping on the river side by Jollie Brook near Lake Sumner during an overnight dark zone.“
Because the teams were not allowed on the river overnight it effectively restarts the race for them today as they bunched up coming off the Glyn Wye trek,” says Race Director Warren Bates.
Christchurch team Vida de Aventura led by Sia Svendson was first to paddle this morning alongside Wanaka team R&R Sport Torpedo 7 led by Richard Anderson.
One minute behind were team Chimpanzee Bar led by Dunedin’s Jim Cotter and team Absolute Wilderness from Picton and Nelson led by Dan Moore.“ These guys are all pretty evenly spread in terms of ability on the water but certainly Dan Busch and Dan Moore from Absolute Wilderness are considered to be very strong paddlers. They will use their local experience on this particular river.
Team R&R Sports Bob McLachlan is also a highly competent paddler and Joanna Williams has won the two day Coast to Coast so they will be very competitive in that white water today,” says Bates.Team 40 Kathmandu had the slowest start getting on to the water leaving around 10 minutes behind the early morning starters.
GODZone first placed Team Seagate also got back on the water at 7am some 30km downstream from Jollie Brook having got several hours evening paddling in last night.“ They are already half way through the 101km paddle and under the Hurunui Bridge which shows the river levels are good for some speed. It should be a very fast kayak for them out to the mouth this morning.”The Hurunui river stage will be technically challenging given the GODZone competitors are travelling in inflatable Canadian canoes that require a strong degree of paddling ability.“Keeping the boats in a straight line through swirling currents and obstacles is not that easy depending on how much time you have spent in one of these,” says Bates. “It does require some expertise to stay on track.”
All the action on Day four of the GODZone adventure race has played out on the Hurunui River as the top five teams chased glory.
Leading team Seagate consolidated their first place position with a decisive paddle down through 70km of the 101km river stage and out through to the Hurunui River mouth.“ Seagate arrived just on 2.30pm and were met by Nathan Fa avae’s family who were delighted to see them looking so strong and leading the charge,” says Race Director Warren Bates. “ Nathan’s son Zephyr Fa avae commented that his Dad looked abit like a Granddad which got a few laughs.
”The team spoke about the how spectacular the entire river section experience was.“ It was just fantastic and we totally loved it all,” said Sophie Hart. “ When the dark zone started last night we pulled up to in a totally mint spot to camp in which great.”Nathan Fa avae said the teams behind them were also going to enjoy the paddle and have a great scenic experience.
Meanwhile the next five placed teams jostled backwards and forwards for position. Teams Vida de Aventura, R&R Sport Torpedo, Chimpanzee Bar, Kathmandu XT and Absolute Wilderness were underway at 7am heading downstream.
Absolute Wilderness however soon discovered they had left their GPS tracker back at the transition.“ This cost them a lot of time going back to get the tracker and they lost their third placing behind Vida de Aventura,” says Bates. “ They then got back in the game, paddled hard only to then have boat problems and had to stop for repairs. But this afternoon they have paddled their way back into fifth spot and going well.”
Currently R&R Sport Torpedo is in second place with Kathmandu in third and Chimpanzee Bar in fourth. Team Vida de Aventura have dropped back to sixth position.“These teams are all paddling like demons to make it off the river just before the dark zone cut off at 8.30pm.”
Team Seagate are now on the coast heading up towards Kaikoura completing the final four stages including a 25km mountain bike to Gore Bay, a 25km coastal trek to Medina, a 38km to Omihi Camp and then a final 25km kayak to Kaikoura main beach.
“Kaikoura will be the place to be tomorrow morning as we may have them across the finish line as early as 10am,” says Bates.
Irish team Moxie AR became the first team to officially pull out of the event today after one of their members, Eoghan Cartan, was taken to hospital with an suspected broken ankle.
New Zealand’s leading adventure racing team Seagate won the 2014 GODZone adventure early this morning making it three in a row at the event for the champion multisporters.
The decisive winners crossed the finish line in Kaikoura at 6.40am this morning approximately 89 hours and 36 minutes after starting on Saturday afternoon (March 8th).
Welcomed by a thrilled crowd of family, friends and fans plus race organisers, the team paddled through relatively calm conditions to land on the beach. Team leader Nathan Fa avae spoke highly of the 520 km course.
“ It was a very challenging course particularly Mt Tapu O Nuku because there is no easy way up there. There was a lot of blended terrain to travel through that we really enjoyed. It was a great journey and one we are very proud to have finished.”
Seagate team navigator Chris Forne was equally effusive about where the team have travelled over the past three and half days.
“ The highlight was the second trek over the Glenn Wye range and down to the river. It was soft underfoot and lovely bush and we travelled through most of it during daylight so some really good moments there. Even managed a few swims.”
Stuart Lynch loved the paddle through the Hurunui River. “ It was a top canoe and very cool in the rapids and some nice surprising bounces further down as well.”
The GODZone win is a first for Seagate on the 2014 World Adventure Racing Series calendar and Nathan Fa avae says it was important to get it under their belt.
“ We came into this event with a collective goal to start the year on a positive note, take first place and send a clear message to other international competitors that we are a team to be respected.”
Race Directors Adam Fairmaid and Warren Bates congratulated the team on their success and Mr Bates said it was a text book win by the very strong foursome.
“ This is a signal that Seagate are back in form and lays down a challenge to others in the AR series. They raced so decisively from the get go and never let up pushing on at every point.”
The team were handed magnums of New Zealand brewed Moa Beer and South Island made Jimmy’s Pies which went down a treat.
“ This could very well be the best pie I have ever eaten in my entire life,” said Sophie Hart, “ The Moa is much better than dirty old bubbly.”
As winners of the 2014 GODZone , team Seagate take home the coveted trophy and an entry in the Adventure Racing World Series Championships to be held in Ecuador in November, 2014.