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North v South Challenge Promoted at 2008 Traverse

Press Release
2nd April 2008

North Versus South Challenge Promoted at 2008 Fairydown Southern Traverse

The 2008 Fairydown Southern Traverse at Hanmer Springs (April 11,12,13) is being billed as a North and South Island challenge with strong teams emerging from throughout New Zealand.

"We want to create an additional challenge within the Classic Southern Traverse both amongst the senior teams and the younger under 23 teams which are entering for the first time this year," says Race Director Geoff Hunt. "We think the competitors will enjoy the increased competition."

The North Island Powered by Velvet, fresh from winning the ARC in Coromandel this march is likely to make a tough contest of the race. Coast to Coast guru George Christensen leads a formidable team of Sonya Clark, Chris Morrissey and Rhys Burns who are highly proficient and skilled adventure racers.

From the South Island the Icebreaker R&R Sport team comprising Dunedin and Queenstown athletes has an enviable racing pedigree. The names Haydn Key, Matt Woods and Mark Williams are synonymous with adventure racing in New Zealand, and together with leading women's competitor Sarah Fairmaid, are expected to lead the South Island charge.

To mark the inaugural entry of under 23 teams from both the north and south a special trophy will be awarded to the winning team in this sector.

Hunt is excited about the prospects of having young newcomers in the well established event. "The Southern Traverse is an iconic race and to ensure the traditions will be carried on we need to start encouraging younger athletes which is why we are offering free entry to these teams this year."

Hunt has recently carried out a course check around Hanmer and says route choice will be vital to team's success.

"The trekking on the first day will have 16 controls and just two checkpoints with a 12 hour time limit. There will also be two mountain bike rides totally around two hours which leaves around 10 hours to collect as many controls as possible. The teams that judge the distance to the finish line carefully will be able to achieve the maximum number of controls and get there by the cut off time. After that time penalties will be imposed."

The course will provide a lot of interest and diverse terrain.

"The highest of the hills we are traversing is 1575m but again the route choice by teams will be important and will decide how much altitude they will have to climb the first day, bearing in mind that at midnight they will start into the second part of the course with an initial uphill climb of almost 1000m."
Teams will start arriving in the Hanmer Springs resort late next week for the three day challenge.


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