ACTION ON AND OFF THE WATER AT GODZONE ADVENTURE
It’s been an exciting day of river and coasteering action for the lead teams in the 2015 GODZone in Lake Wanaka.
All the action has been on the fast moving water of the Matukituki River in the Mt Aspiring National Park with team Seagate pushing their lead-time ahead only to slow down at the coasteering section due to a slight leg injury.
“ It was a bit of a shock to see them move so slowly after their storming start in the race yesterday but from what we can gather Chris Forne had a fall on the Albert Burn trek overnight and so he’s hobbling slightly.
The next bike leg is 137km long so that will keep him off it but the question remains will they be able to keep the snapping teams behind them at bay,” says Race Director Warren Bates.
Making quick times on the canoe and in second place, team Swordfox led by Nick Ross, came into the coasteering section in West Wanaka just 40 minutes behind Seagate.
“ Swordfox are having an excellent race and have the bit between their teeth to try and take this years race. They have placed in the top 10 in the last two events and are looking strong at this stage for a podium finish.”
The coasteering stage on Lake Wanaka has been a highlight so far for the teams says Bates being slightly unusual on a lake. “ Its full of rocky bluffs and cliffs that finishes with a 50m swim across to Glendu Bay so pretty spectacular,” says Bates.
Currently in third place and looking dangerous are world ranked number one team Vidaraid who completed the river section 40 minutes after Swordfox.
“ I think Vidaraid have managed to manoeuvre themselves into the exact position they want heading into this massive bike ride tonight. Their navigation overnight was excellent bar one tricky spot and that’s what has got them into the top three. It’s a watch this space situation with Vidaraid.”
Six teams had made it through to Macpherson Creek transition area off the Albert Burn by late this afternoon with the remaining 46 teams working their way along the trek that passes the Whare Kea hut checkpoint.
“ We have had one team pull out and that’s Blenheim team, Absolute Wilderness, who used their GPS yellow brick unit to report one of the team has a knee problem. It will be very disappointing for them as they were real contenders.”
TEAM SEAGATE CHARGING THROUGH GODZONE COURSE ON DAY TWO
Reigning GODZone and World Adventure Racing Champions Team Seagate are leaving nothing to chance as they race into day two of the weeklong GODZone adventure race firmly in the lead position.
Over night the front running teams have ascended 2400m, passing the Albert Burn saddle in the western arm of Mt Aspiring National Park down into the majestic Matukituki Valley.
“ Despite yesterday being a real challenge for teams with cold, wet conditions, the pace of these lead teams has not slowed at all. As predicted Seagate are keeping to their usual strategy of racing at the front but they are being chased quite closely by some very good teams at the moment so the pressure is mounting,” says Race Director Warren Bates.
“ Swordfox have managed to hold second place overnight but the big movers have been the number one world ranked team Vidaraid who have jumped several places to third. They are really gunning for Seagate so today might be when they close the gap.”
There are some good Kiwi teams in this chasing bunch with Wanaka based teams Torpedo 7 led by Richard Anderson and Tiki Tour led by Tom Lucas in the mix.” says Bates.
The bulk of the field of 52 teams are now travelling towards the Whare Kea hut checkpoint situated at 1740m on the Albert Burn alpine trek.
“ Seagate have set a scorching pace from the get go. They are ahead of our estimated fast times by aprox one hour and it does not seem anything is slowing them down. Certainly there has not been much sleep had by any of the leaders but we wouldn’t expect that at this stage of the race.”
Stage four of the 560km course begins today with a 30km white-water canoe down the Matukituki River followed by a short coasteering section around a section of Lake Wanaka that will take teams into Glendu Bay.
“ Today will be refreshing for these teams with the river flow at a reasonably constant level taking them all the way down through the wide glacial valley – it’s a beautiful stretch of water. There are some good rapids where the east and west branches meet which will keep them awake,” says Bates.
The coasteering at the end will bring an element of surprise because the teams have to swim some 400 meters to get into Glendu Bay. “
From there, the competitors will mountain bike along the spectacular Dampner Bay track on the western shores of Lake Wanaka to the GODZone race headquarters to pick up maps for the next 400km of the course.
“We have never split the maps up before like this and so we are taking the opportunity to get a video clip of each team when they come into HQ which will give a great insight into how the teams are coping,” says Bates.
He says the back of the field may take the next 24 to 48 hours to finish the Albert Burn trek.
“ The middle teams should reach the Matukituki river section by the end of today but the back teams may not appear until sometime on Monday. We will start to see a wider split between the leaders and the middle pack by the end of today and then it will be almost impossible for anyone to close that gap.”
Charity: Cure Kids has been chosen as the recipient charity of GODZone 2015