Adventure Racing: Race for 2nd Place Intensifies
Balance Vector Almost Home as Race for Second Place Intensifies
November 18 2005: Kiwi adventure legends Balance Vector are still well ahead of the pack and are now caving as they near the end of the 2005 Adventure Racing World Championship on the West Coast of the Southern Alps but the race for second place is on.
Kiwi team Port Nelson was ahead of the chase pack throughout the day but is still trailing Balance Vector by about 13 hours.
The seven teams vying for second place were close together at the Landing Creek transition point from the Kirwans Brunner Range trek to the kayak this morning, with all the teams passing through the checkpoint within an hour of each other.
Port Nelson left the transition point at 8.36am and leading defending world champions US team Nike Balance Bar by eight minutes.
Kiwis Sierra International, US/Kiwi/South African team GoLite Timberland and Swedish teams Cross Sportswear, Lundhags Adventure and Halti were in hot pursuit.
Port Nelson thrived on the kayaking leg down the Buller River and arrived at checkpoint 26 at the Inangahua Junction at 10.36am, 23 minutes before Nike Balance Bar.
The Kiwi team continued to extend its lead over Nike Balance Bar by almost an hour on the kayaks and left the transition for the Paparoa's mountain trek at the Ohikanui River at 12.58pm. Nike Balance Bar left at 1.45pm followed by Sierra International just two minutes later.
Balance Vector took 13 hours to complete the trek through the Paparoa's, three hours longer than expected, and started the mountain bike at 1.25pm.
Captain Nathan Fa'avae says it was tough going and took them about eight hours to go up the ridge. "It was a real struggle and we were pushing all the way."
Team member Richard Ussher says they also wanted to enjoy the environment having the luxury of plenty of time under their belt.
"So often you race through beautiful country like this and don't get time to take it in."
In spite of their long night all the team members looked fresh when they arrived at the Te Tahi Caves. They were met by a peaceful protest by caving enthusiasts holding placards, concerned about the caves being used for a race.
However they wished the team well urging them to "enjoy the cave."
Balance Vector is spending two hours in the Te Tahi Caves then abseiling down the cliffs at Charleston followed by the final walk 16km down Nine Mile Beach to finish at Tauranga Bay, near Westport.
ARWorld Series director Geoff Hunt says he expects the finish to be sometime between 10.00pm and midnight all going well.
Nineteen teams are still in the race but with a cut off at transition nine at the end of the kayak at 9.00pm tonight it is likely that some will not make it.
The West Coast Development Trust is the principal sponsor for the World Championship.
For up to date race coverage www.arworldchampionship.com or for alternative coverage www.sleepmonsters.com
Southern Traverse Ltd is a premier international sports event management company operating elite events around the world, including the Adventure Racing World Championship, the AR World Series and the Southern Traverse.
The Adventure Racing World Series is an international circuit of premiere adventure races representing 10 countries creating a 12-month calendar of professional events around the world. The series events are: Beast of the East-USA, Raid the North Extreme- Canada, Ecomotion/Pro - Brazil, Explore Sweden - Sweden, The Bull of Africa - S.Africa, Terra Incognita - Croatia, Bergson Winter Challenge - Poland, Wilderness ARC - Scotland and Southern Traverse -New Zealand. Adventure Racing World Series events are qualifiers for the Adventure Racing World Championship