Just shy of 400 participants stood at the start line of the 9th annual Big Bang Adventure Race in Manakau, just North of Otaki on Saturday morning. All amped and ready to go, the 117 teams, split into 2 waves, had no idea what their day would entail. The maps were handed out and teams given a few minutes to work out their plan of attack. The first challenge was school yard style wheel barrow race to the bikes, followed by an uphill ride through beautiful forestry. The downhill that followed was the highlight of the day for many. Open, clean and non-technical, the brakes could be released for a free sail down to transition area 1.
From here teams headed into the hills on foot to navigate the ridges of the lower Tararua Ranges.
‘We try and keep the navigation to a level that makes teams think about where they are and how they get to the next point but is not too technical. The key to the event is good old fashioned map and compass navigation.’ says Event director Carrie Yaxley. ‘There are always options, be it a ridgeline or a creek to follow, to get to the next point’
The winning team ‘Lightning speed robots’ from Porirua took out the top spot, completing the event in just 3hrs, 39min and 29 seconds. They were not the fastest team from the beginning, in fact they spend much of the day in 2nd place behind the college team ‘Better than google maps” from New Plymouth Boy High School, some members of this team were the 2018 winners. ‘Better than google maps’ took the 1st place spot right through to the final leg, where Lightning speed robots’ pipped them at the post, coming in 1min 30 ahead.
The weather had a positive effect on many teams who thrived in the warmer temperatures the weekend held.
The sunshine helped warm the teams after the mystery water activity, a 3m jump into the Waikawa stream. Lesser options were available but over 70% of people opted to jump!
The final leg was a walk / run up to a trig point, with panoramic views of the Kapiti / Horowhenua region. What a way to finish the day.
“It’s a hard event for the teams, they have to dig deep to complete the course but every one of them made it to the finish line’ Says Yaxley. ‘ With a crew of over 50 volunteers on the day, it’s a big job, but we love it and can’t wait to do it all again in 2020. It will be our 10th anniversary next year, it’s very exciting to have made it this far’”
“Thank you to all the sponsors who helped make the day a success, the support is very much appreciated”
Entries will open March 2020, with race day all set for 7th November.