Spirits are high as the final teams are welcomed with pizza and champagne, across the finishing line at Ulladulla, in the 2016 AR World Series Championship.
Seagate (NZL), defending world champions, steadily increased their lead to take the win just short of 4 days of racing. Adventure Medical Kits (USA) and Columbia Vidaraid (USA), 2nd and 3rd respectively pushed hard to catch Seagate but just couldn’t close the gap.
The scenic course saw 97 teams from around the world, kayaking, mountain biking, caving, trekking and navigating, non-stop day and night, for 630 km and 8 days around The Shoalhaven region.
In a race of attrition, teams contended with the course terrain, sleep deprivation, navigational errors, injuries, bike mechanicals, weather, and fatigue.
Some selected highlights of the 8 day expedition race were:
Teams had to complete Aussie themed challenges such as eating vegemite sandwiches, and a beach flags competition. Traditional owners welcomed the athletes.
35km sea kayak around the beautiful, oceanic Jervis Bay with dolphins and whales and local wildlife on shore.
95km Florence Head with a hell hike-a-bike. In this hilly leg, the teams had a challenging hike-a-bike section which required moving their bikes over terrain which was more like in a trekking leg.
Special mention of Goldfish, who managed to get their tandem mountain bike over this section of the course.
45km wilderness trek through the rugged Budawangs. Some teams struggled with navigation as trails disappeared and others appeared, causing confusion and lost time, especially at night.
Special mention of Team 4050 Adventure, who collected litter on the trek, shouted the volunteers at the TA pizza and then helped load the truck with bike boxes, before continuing on.
Bungonia Caving. Teams navigated through various sized caves to collect CPs with a mud map.
Special mention of Intrepid Tigers who arrived just after a hail storm to start the caving. It was cold, wet and muddy making it even more difficult.
44km Pack rafting Leg on the Upper Shoalhaven River. Teams boulder-hopped down the Slot Canyon carrying their pack rafts down to then paddle down the Shoalhaven River.
Special Mention of Naturex. Audrey paddled the pack raft as her team mate slept. That’s teamwork!
2016 AR World Championship final placings for the top 5:
American Medical Kits (USA)
Columbia Vidaraid (USA)
Painted Wolf (RSA)
The next AR World Series Championship will be Wyoming, USA in 2017.