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Southern Traverse Provides $40,000 Prize Money


April 27 2004: The first team across the West Coast finish line in the 2004 Southern Traverse will win $30,000 and free entry to the 2005 World Adventure Racing Championships.

Director Geoff Hunt announced today that $40,000 in prize money will be allocated to the top three teams. Second place will win $7,000 and $3,000 will go to the third team home.

"The winning team has the added bonus of competing in the world championships next year but the destination has yet to be decided."

This year's event is being staged on the West Coast of the Southern Alps from November 15-20. The West Coast Development Trust is principal sponsor.

The provision of $40,000 prize money this year is good news, according to long time Southern Traverse competitors.

Queenstown's Eric Billoud, who is a leading adventure racer, says it takes the race to a new level.

"This is a development we have all been looking forward to and it will be welcomed by everyone who races at a high level and has connections with the Southern Traverse."

He says adventure racing is costly and sponsorship is often difficult to source and to have the chance to win a substantial cash prize can only be good for competition.

"But it is not only a good development for athletes. It is also good for the Southern Traverse because it stamps it as one of the events on the way up."

The West Coast is a 'brilliant location,' according to Eric, who plans at this stage to be among those on the start line in November.

"The West Coast and the Southern Alps have to be the primo spots. The place offers challenges which are not found anywhere else - it's the whole concept of the wild environment you are dealing with."

Geoff says the Traverse is pleased to be returning to a wilderness area like the West Coast but warns that it is tough country.

"An initial checkout has revealed sections that are too tough even to put the Traverse teams through. It is going to take a lot of exploration in the area to design a course which will suit the event. It's certainly going to be quite a challenge to ensure it is both weather and waterproof."

Entries for the Southern Traverse are starting to roll in with many international teams quick off the mark. Teams from Spain, Japan, America and Denmark have already signed up along with several Kiwi stalwart teams.

Geoff says he is expecting strong support from the Kiwis particularly because of the challenges the West Coast will throw up.

"It's all there and after making my first navigation of the area I know that the committed adventure racers will find it so different from anything else they've encountered for a long time."

Entries for the 2004 Southern Traverse are now open. Registrations on line or contact Southern Traverse office direct on 0064 3 441 8215.

Southern Traverse is a premier international sports event management company operating elite events around the world, including the World Championship Adventure Race, the AR World Series and the Southern Traverse.


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