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The line up for this weekend’s 2013 Orion Health GODZone adventure race is one of the strongest fields in the world.
Race Director Warren Bates says the excitement is mounting as teams start to arrive in Queenstown ready for race registration on Friday and there is much anticipation about who will be leading the field.
“The general quality of competitors is outstanding and we definitely have some of the very best teams in the world racing here in the South Island. There won't be a stronger field at any adventure race around the world this year.”
Last years winners Team Seagate, made up of Sophie Hart, Chris Forne, Trevor Voyce and led by Nathan Fa’avae, were crowned World Adventure Racing World Champions in September 2012 in France, and they are back to defend their title. Mr Bates says they are undoubtedly the ones to beat.
“Team Seagate are back this year and highly competitive, they are the strongest adventure racing team in this competition and currently in the world and we will have a great match between them and second placed World Champions Team Thule who they beat in France.”
French/Swiss Team Thule consists of Jacky Boisset, Myriam Guillot, Marcel Hagener, and Jacob Roberts and they will spare no effort in taking on the GODZone challenge for the very first time.
“Really the race is Seagate's to lose basically”, says Warren “We all consider Seagate’s navigator Chris Forne to be the best adventure racer in the world right now. He is peerless, super strong and has gained lots of experience.”
This year’s field is a mix of leading internationals and strong Kiwi contenders. Other race favourites include Team Harraway consisting of Jess Simson, Stuart Lynch, Aaron Prince, and Dougal Allan.
“Jess has to be the female to watch at present, she is really up and coming and the combo of Aaron, Dougal and Stuart puts these guys in serious contention’” says Warren. “ It’s been awhile since Aaron Prince has raced home here in New Zealand but he won the Southern Traverse when he was only 19 so he has the pedigree.”
Australian Team Macpac consisting of Rob Preston, Brent Edwards, Damon Goerke, and Kathryn Preston are back for a second year and expected to be up in the front pack along with Team Pak’nSave out of Christchurch.
“The Aussies will be racing hard and are very experienced but we expect Team Pak’nSave will also be on the money led by Petr Sykora, with Sia Svendson who was in the second placed team last year, Mila Brodina and Christchurch’s Jim Cotter who is a legend from yesteryear.”
With the 2013 GODZone field 45 teams deep there will be plenty vying for a top ten placing and the Chapter Two course has been set up to throw some real navigational challenges in the final 24 – 36 hours of the race.
“We expect the first teams will chew through the 513km course in three maybe four days and then it will be a mad scramble for the others to try and make it into the top ten – I expect there will be some real surprises in that final mix,” says Warren.
A $50,000 prize pool is up for grabs including the 2013 GODZone trophy and $30,000 to be divided amongst the top 5 teams and over $20,000 of free entries and sponsor related prizes that will be distributed amongst the entire field.
A full list of registered teams can be found at http://www.godzoneadventure.com/resources/team-list/