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Gov-General To Wave The Flag At Southern Traverse

Mon, 1 Nov 2004

Governor General To Wave The Flag At 2004 Southern Traverse

November 1 2004: The Governor- General Dame Silvia Cartwright will act as official starter for the 2004 Southern Traverse on the West Coast of the Southern Alps.

Dame Silvia is visiting the West Coast to coincide with the start of the icon New Zealand adventure race on November 15 and organisers are delighted that she will be on hand to send off the teams.

The course will be secret until Sunday November 14 when competitors will be briefed about the exact location and itinerary for the Traverse.

The race, sponsored by the West Coast Development Trust, runs from November 15 -20. The first team across the finish line will win $30,000 and free entry to the 2005 World Adventure Racing Championships, also being held on the West Coast.

The second placed team will win $7,000 and $3,000 will go to the third team home.

With the countdown on to the start of the event several teams are emerging as likely contenders for the 2004 title.

Murray Thomas's Team Bridgedale Socks will defend its title and is expected to set a tough pace. Team members Sally Fahey, Tim Pearson and Bill Godsall have huge combined experience and strong confidence following a good win in Dunedin last year.

But there will be plenty of challengers. The West Coast based Team Kathmandu led by Duncan Hamilton and including brother Hamish knows the area intimately. Their team mates Kate Callaghan and George Christison, who was this year's Coast to Coast winner, will be tough opponents.

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Team GoLite Timberland USA led by Billy Mattison is a regular competitor at the Southern Traverse and always a top performer. His Eco Challenge and World Adventure Racing Championships experience stands him in good stead to put the team on the podium.

Add to the mix young Kiwi racer and world orienteering championship competitor Aaron Prince, along with US Nordic ski representative Isaac Wilson and experienced adventure racer Monique Merrill, and the team's pedigree is one of the best.

Team Sierra International, also one of the top picks, is made up of the Minehan brothers Julian and Mark and New Zealand's Jim Cotter and Rachel Barton.

Cotter and Barton raced together in 2003 in Team Omni Graphics, which created widespread interest as the team involved in an Otago University research project, to identify the physical and mental impacts of multi-sport endurance racing.

Southern Traverse director Geoff Hunt says the course will be challenging and takes the event back to its roots providing wilderness style racing on the rugged West Coast.

"There are some great ridge tops, awesome paddling and mountainbiking. The scenery is something else as well. It's certainly going to be just the forerunner we need for the world championships on the West Coast next year."

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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