Published on February 5th, 2018 | by adventuremag0
Over 390 adventure racers from around the world will begin the challenge of navigating their way through the world’s largest expedition adventure race, GODZone, in Fiordland, this March.
The official team list has been released today and the event is breaking records all round for 2018, attracting the largest number of 4-person adventure racing teams to ever compete in New Zealand.
“ Not only do we have our largest field ever, we also have a wide geographical spread of countries represented that includes Argentina, France, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, United States and South Africa. There is also a strong Australian representation led by A1 Series National Champions, Thunderbolt AR” says Event Director Warren Bates.
“ It is a showcase of national and international multisport talent and is indicative of a rise of interest in adventure racing globally. The World Heritage area of Fiordland has been a big drawcard for teams looking for a real expedition race, and the competitors are clamoring to get out into some spectacular wilderness areas.”
The challenging, nonstop adventure race will be held over ten days rather than the usual seven days from 1st – 10th March 2018. It includes a new discipline of pack rafting to add to the line up that already includes orienteering, mountain biking, kayaking, trekking, canoeing and fixed ropes.
The 550km GZ ‘Pure’ course (unsupported) and 470km GZ ‘Pursuit’ (supported) course will remain secret from competitors until race registration in Te Anau on the 28th February. Bates says it’s going to be a big event on every level.
” The teams are going to moving slowly in some of the longer stages of the race, and I expect it will be tough going at times for many of them. This course has fewer, longer, stages that will mean some big backpacks and probably more sleep for teams than usual – especially when you consider navigating at night in the bush. It’s going to be stunningly beautiful, yet very tough, requiring teams to have plenty of stamina and mental grit to get through.”
Some well-known faces will be in the starting line up when the race gun goes off on Thursday, March 1st including some famous rugby players and multisporters.
“Nathan Fa’avae is back racing after a couple of years hiatus with his wife Jodi, Mark Rayward and Dan Moore and they won’t be going slow. Richie McCaw returns with Bob McLachlan (the pair recently won the men’s sport category at Red Bull Defiance), Rob Nichol and Sarah Fairmaid and they will be looking to step up,” says Bates. “The British Royal Airforce have a team led by Jamie Buckle competing to mark the RAF 100th year anniversary this year and we have ex-Springbok Stefan Terblanche racing with the Merrell team from South Africa.”
“ There are one or two highly competitive US teams turning up including Team Yogaslackers led by Daniel Staudigel. They were out here for Chapter 5 in Tasman and will be racing to potentially take out the prize money for the first international team. The winners of the A1 Australian Adventure Racing Series, Team Thunderbolt AR, led by Hugh Stodart are expected to be extremely competitive.”
“The Aussie’s will be gunning for a podium finish, but I think there are some strong, young, Kiwi teams who will be hard to beat such as Team INOV-8 led by Bex Law and the Sneaky Weasel Gang led by Struan Webb,” says Bates.
Last years GODZone champions, Tom & George Lucas, Mike Kelly with Corinne O’Donnell replacing Floorjte Grimmett of Team Tiki Tour returns to defend their title for 2018.