The teams coming to Ecuador include the top two teams in the world rankings, and 7 of the top 10.
The AR World Series rankings were revised recently and Team Seagate of New Zealand took over the top spot after a year of racing in which they are unbeaten and have won two World Series events, Godzone on home territory and Expedition Africa in RSA. All of the team members have won World titles before and they may feel they have something to prove after dropping out of last year’s World Championships in Costa Rica.
They will not face any defending champions as last year’s winners Thule Adventure are not competing. The two French members of the team have now left to form Team France and they will be a new force to be reckoned with, while a third member of last year’s winning team, Stuart Lynch of New Zealand, has joined his Seagate.
Columbia Vidaraid (Spain) were second last year and won the Untamed New England World Series race this year. They are second in the world rankings and along with Haglofs Silva of Sweden (ranked 5th) have the advantage of keeping a consistent team over recent races. Both will be strong contenders as will other World Series race winners Raidlight 400 (France) and adidas Terrex UK, who won Raid in France and ITERA in Wales respectively.
adidas Terrex have also won the European Championships this year and will have a changed team in Ecuador, as will Tecnu Adventure of the USA. These two teams tied for third place at last year’s World Championships and since then both have had team line up changes and injury problems – but they’ve both continued to win consistently! Tecnu are on a 7 race winning streak and recently became the first team ever to retain the USARA National title, they’ve also raced in Ecuador before and know what to expect.
There are many other strong and experienced challengers too, including two more Swedish teams, Peak Performance and the Swedish Armed Forces AR Team. The most experienced and highest ranked Ecuadorian team are racing under a new sponsors name of ‘Movistar’. They will have the advantage of altitude acclimatisation and are joined by U.S. racer Jari Kirland, one of the most experienced female racers in the world.
All those who have raced in Ecuador before speak highly of the race organisation so all the teams are expecting a race of the highest standard. «We have raced a lot in South America, but never in Ecuador, but we have heard so many good things about the race and the organisation so we are very excited,» said Michael Lindnord of Peak Performance, himself a former organiser of a World Championships.
Those visiting the country for the first time are excited at the journey that lies ahead of them as they will get to explore Ecuador in way no one ever has before. «We have never raced there before so we feel very happy to come and discover this beautiful country,» said Sebastian Raichon, captain of Raidlight 400.
The race begins on Sunday November 9th and there will be live website coverage throughout, including news, photos, videos and satellite tracking of all the teams.