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Avaya Consolidates Lead On Day Two Godzone

Nathan Fa'ave & Sophie Hart

New Zealand's iconic expedition-length adventure race put the 'Sold Out' sign up just one day after opening entries back in September 2019, and teams have been champing at the bit ever since to get on with the job of racing.

Day two of the 666km event has not disappointed with plenty of fast-paced action at the front of the field with all eyes on Nathan Fa'avae, Sophie Hart, Chris Forne, and Stu Lynch of Team Avaya.

The team arrived at Rerewhakaaitu Camp, near Rotorua just after midnight last night, having overtaken Richie McCaw’s team isport and Queenstown’s team Tiki Tour on Stage One.

“Tiki Tour slipped into second place, arriving about half an hour behind Avaya, and then team isport was 25 minutes behind Tiki," says GODZone Race Director Adam Fairmaid. "The teams spent the rest of the night there for a mandatory stop and got underway just after 6 am this morning on Stage 2 - a 134km mountain bike leg into Moerangi. And they are all still currently in 1st, 2ndand 3rdpositions respectively.”

Avaya showed their skills on today's long Moerangi bike stage that took them towards Lake Aniwaniwa and then south to the iconic Moerangi trail, one of the best backcountry rides in New Zealand.

“It’s one of the most visually spectacular trails in this area of New Zealand showcasing early Podocarp native bush, rivers, and streams,” says Fairmaid. “Avaya smashed it, arriving just after 3.30 pm at the third transition, and they are now deep into stage 3 - a challenging 21km Rogaine and trek in the Whirinaki State Forest. It will take teams anywhere between 10 and 20 hours to complete this stage."

It’s not a surprise that the adventure racing world champions are stamping their mark all over GODZone’s ninth chapter, with the foursome having never lost a GODZone they have raced.

"They are five-time winners of GODZone," says Fairmaid. “ You could argue it's anyone's game at this stage, but Team Avaya very rarely follow a team through an adventure racing course - their comfort level is at the front," says Fair maid. "They will be gunning to get through today with their eyes firmly on getting to Stage 6, the 54km Mohaka River section tomorrow. They will want to get onto the river as early as possible - potentially Sunday afternoon to push their advantage further before the ‘no paddle’ night zone kicks in on that leg.”

He says with many gruelling kilometres ahead mid and back-end placed teams will have to keep moving steadily forward to make short course cut off’s that are looming.

“We are keeping our eye on Christchurch team The Sneaky Weasel Gang who have jostled their way into fourth position currently followed by Team Motueka who are keen as mustard to make a top 3rdplacing. Further back some teams just won’t make it through the full course given the enormity of what lies ahead and that will all play out in the next 24 hours. Watch this space.”

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