All New Hawke’s Bay Adventure Race

A new event called the Hawke’s Bay Adventure Race (HBAR) held in Hawke’s Bay 14th July 2018.  If you have not heard of Adventure Racing it is a multi-disciplinary team sport involving navigation over an unmarked course with races extending anywhere from two hours up to two weeks in length.  Teams generally vary in gender mix and in size from two to five competitors, however, the premier format is considered to be mixed gender teams of four racers. The HBAR was open to four-person and two-person teams with single and mixed gender divisions. Interestingly enough the event had more women than men and noticeably there were a large number of youth teams involved.

In some ways, the Hawke’s Bay Adventure Race is not a new event as for ten years Tim Wilkins and Damon Harvey coordinated the Snow and Wilkins 6 Hour Adventure Race so the event is a bit of a back to the future affair.  Being coordinated by David and Tanya Tait, this year’s event promised a fun day out with about a dozen different adventure inspire activities during the six-hour event and it didn’t disappoint.  Teams mountain biked 16km then once they completed a compulsory gear check they could choose to complete a Rogaine, ride a unicycle, throw a throw bag, do a memory challenge, complete a puzzle, cross the hoops, erect a tent and complete a ropes section.

“We have been asked to run an adult race for many years now and we are excited about this year’s race”. Mr Tait said. Based on the successful points-based format used for the GO-4-12 Youth Adventure Race that David and Tanya have coordinated for thirteen years, the event is designed to be achievable and fun. “The course had only one transition area, so it was easy for support crews” Mr Tait said. Support crews could observe most activities and the highlight for many teams and observers was the 30m Tyrolian Traverse.

Teams meet near the Patangata Tavern and received their maps and instructions at 7:30 am. Hawke’s Bay put on a day that could have been easily described as picture card perfect with a cloudless day and mild temperatures. At 8 am teams were briefed and headed to the start line 2km away for the 9 am start. Teams rode the 16km to the Historic Gumtree Gate Woolshed via Mangatapiri Station with some testing hills and a fun stream crossing that required team members to work together to get up the muddy slope. The first team into the Transition area were named Hopelessly Lost, but they seemed like they were navigating ok. Teams steadily came through the Transition area with most choosing to take a physical rest by completing a good number of the special activities.

Team Lunachicks in the two-person and Fit Chicks in the four-person women’s team were showing their experience, but the surprise of the day was Team Happy Pitbull, a local family team who despite two broken bikes, were proving to be competitive in the mixed team section. In the school’s section there was a lot of youth who had never done an adventure race before and the format proved to be novice-friendly.

Safety is obviously a major consideration within sports such as Adventure Racing and each team had Spot Trackers and support crews and race management could see where teams were and on a few occasion a team could be observed making interesting route choices, but they all worked out what they had done and got back on track.

After teams had completed what they could of the Rogaine they headed to the finish line at Elsthorpe School on their bikes. Some teams were slow at the start of the ride but got into a rhythm. At the finish line teams rang the school bell and celebrated together the fact they had completed a great adventure together. “It was great greeting everyone home and see everyone finished, which for us is great as we wanted it to be challenging but achievable” Mr Tait Said. It is safe to say that given the positive feedback that this is an event that will grow its numbers.  For more details about the Hawke’s Bay Adventure Race visit

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