Sixty-six teams tackled everything from climbing round a thundering waterfall to handling a sheep in a shearing shed, in the Stirling Sports Whakatane 6 hour adventure race.
Saturday’s event was held on Sisam’s farm southwest of Whakatane and fully lived up to its name — a sterling adventure.
Starting at the shearing shed race HQ, the action kicked off with one member of each four-person and two-person team sprinting over a grassy ridge to a pair of string lines, arranged north-south and west-east. Each competitor had to locate a pink ribbon emblazoned with their race number, dangling from the string lines.
After sprinting back to the start, it was straight into the feature stages. First, a long mountain bike, second an equally long trek, with teams having to track down checkpoints all the way.
The endlessly diverse course was set out by Lawrence Harper, Neil Jones and Austin Oliver, who all compete in adventure racing and multisport, and equally importantly, know the back country like the back of their hands. As well as heading into terrain that few know about, the navigation challenges they created put all the teams to the test.
Even when they were found, some of the checkpoints weren’t particularly easy to get to. One was 25m out into a pond, and needed paddling to on a rubber inner tube. Another was perched up the top of a waterfall. Another still dished up a navigation exercise that led to a hidden box filled with items that needed recording.
A section that most were talking about afterwards saw teams trekking up a tight stream gully, to the point water is taken for Sisam’s farm. Crashing water and steep rocks made for a dramatic few minutes, with ropes and ladders, and marshals on hand for safety.
Great prizes came from Stirling Sports Whakatane, and Whakatane Cycle Centre.
Rotorua team Out for the View won the four person men’s section. David Blundell, Cambell Bennett, Rhys Burns and Rob Lei finished just under the allotted six hours and picked up all but one of the checkpoints. That gave them a massive 7600 points, well ahead of second placed Last Minute (Craig Julian, Dean Sisson, Jason Good, Sam Clark).
Other winners included Not Lost Just Thinking (Wendy Gatwod, Lori Julian, Frances van Alphen, Dianne Plant), who blasted the four person women’s section with 4900 points. Mocha Mocha Baileys (Yvonne Harper, Paula Chapman, Felicity Paterson, Janine Harrington), weren’t far behind, with 4300 points.
In the two person mixed section, Ya Otha Right (Destry Harte, Lea Vellenoweth) scored a razor win from Red Dragon, with both teams locked on 5400 points. Quick Route (Daniel Jones, Alex Meikle) bagged a 200 points penalty for finishing just outside the six-hour time limit, but won the two person men’s section nonetheless, with a storming 6500 points. Racing in this category was tight and Swift n Deadly, and Fun Riders Inc (Jarrod Teddy, Karl Rendall), were both within 300 points.
The Girls (Emma McCosh, Conny Meier), led home the two person women’s section with 5200 points.
Fix It (Toni Keeling, Tom Reynolds, Matt Jeans, Jim Robinson) was another team to finish a few minutes outside the time limit, but with 7000 points still won the four person mixed section, ahead of Getto Smurfs (Chris Townley, Hugh Bootten, Hedley Meachem, Sarah Pitcher Campbell).
This was the third Eastern BOP Triathlon & Multisport Club adventure race where Lawrence Harper led the course design, and it reflected his commitment to making the sport accessible and fun for more than the guns. There was even a prize for the average overall points: teams Beats Milkn and Boxy Ladies stole the thunder.
Once again, schools racing was a huge part of the day — great to see 23 school teams out in the hills, challenging their skills and nerve. Trident entered a raft of teams and dominated the results.
In year 9-10 competition, four person male team Trident Sneaky Sloths got an impressive 4200 points; while four person female team Trident Jumping Jallopies (Raeana Araroa, Jasmine Lee, Sionone Blackwood) ended with 3600 points.
In year 11-13 competition, two person male team Mud, Sweat & Beers (Sam Oliver, Brad Jones) scored a great 6100 points. Two person female team Trident Ladies First (Toshi Knight, Louise Wotton) also had a sterling day, with 4400 points.
Open category winning teams
4 Person Male: Out for the View (David Blundell, Cambell Bennett, Rhys Burns, Rob Lei), 7600 points
4 Person Female: Not Lost Just Thinking (Wendy Gatwod, Lori Julian, Frances van Alphen, Dianne Plant), 4900 points
4 Person Mixed: Fix It, (Toni Keeling, Tom Reynolds, Matt Jeans, Jim Robinson), 7000 points
2 Person Male: Quick Route (Daniel Jones, Alex Meikle), 6500 points
2 Person Female: The Girls (Emma McCosh, Conny Meier), 5200 points
2 Person Mixed: Ya otha right (Destry Harte, Lea Vellenoweth), 5400 points
Student category winning teams
4 Person Male: Trident Sneaky Sloths, 4200 points
4 Person Female: Trident Jumping Jallopies (Raeana Araroa, Jasmine Lee, Sionone Blackwood), 3600 points
4 Person Mixed: Whakatane High School Gold, 2700 points
2 Person Male: Trident Tigers (Daniel Perkinson, Malcom Lee), 3200 points
2 Person Female: Tricky Chicks (Tiahana Braithwaite, Rowan Ball), 3400 points
2 Person Mixed: CHS Mixed (Tori Budd, Emma Skinner, Lavana Davis, Paige Preskwell), 3400 points
4 Person Female: Trident Dream Team, 3900 points
4 Person Mixed: Whakatane High School Senior Mixed, 3200 points
2 Person Male: Mud, Sweat & Beers (Sam Oliver, Brad Jones), 6100 points
2 Person Female: Trident Ladies First (Toshi Knight, Louise Wotton), 4400 points
2 Person Mixed: Trident Frosty Marsh (Grace Marshall, Dean Frost), 4300 points.