Traverse Winners Chase 2004 West Coast Title
1 October 2004
2003 Southern Traverse Winners Chase 2004 West Coast Title
September 30 2004: Southern Traverse guru Murray Thomas has given notice that his Team Bridgedale Socks will be setting the pace on the West Caost this year in their bid to retain the 2003 title.
This year's Southern Traverse is set for November 15-20 and will be based around Hokitika. The principal sponsor is the West Coast Development Trust and $40,000 in prize money is up for grabs.
Murray Thomas's team Icebreaker Bridgedale won the Otago based event last year and while it was personally his second Traverse win, it was the first time the rest of the team had taken line honours.
This year Murray, Tim Pearson and Sally Fahey, who all now live in Alexandra will compete together again. Last year's fourth team member Quenton Johnson is being replaced by well known multisporter Bill Godsall of Cromwell.
"Bill and I have competed together in every Traverse except last year when he was in Borneo," says Murray. "We are the most experienced Southern Traversers in the field and we race well together."
Obviously the team wants to pull off another win. "To win back to back would be great."
Murray has never competed on the West Coast and expects it will offer its own unique challenges
"We're looking forward to having a play on the West Coast. We've heard about the notorious Coast weather and we're expecting, among other challenges, deep rivers and tough country with steep hills."
The 2005 World Adventure Racing Championships are being held on the West Coast and Murray says this year's Southern Traverse will be the ideal opportunity to get a handle on likely conditions for the world event.
As the 2003 Southern Traverse winners the Bridgedale team gained entry to the World Adventure Racing Championships in Newfoundland in August this year.
But the team was forced to withdraw after Tim Pearson was injured following a mountain bike crash. Murray says it was disappointing and they are fired up to get back into the competition in the Southern Traverse.
"The Southern Traverse is a fantastic event. I haven't missed one yet and it's a great way to see the country and experience racing with a group of similar people."
Registrations from around the world are rolling in for the November event. One-third of the field are international teams, many of them keen to experience the West Coast before the world championships next year.
Teams from America, Japan, Denmark, Great Britain, Australia, Russia and the Netherlands are signed up along with a number of very strong Kiwi teams reinforcing the highly competitive field.
Entries for the 2004 Southern Traverse are now open. Registrations on line -www.southerntraverse.com or contact Southern Traverse office direct on 0064 3 442 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.