A trans-Tasman battle is looming in Kaikoura next month with leading New Zealand and Australian adventure racing teams set to battle it out for line honours in the third chapter of New Zealand's premier adventure race, GODZone.
Race director Warren Bates says it was no surprise that most of the record-breaking field of 40 teams hailed from either side of the Tasman, with a smattering of other international teams and racers making up the final competitor mix.
"The 2012 world champions, Team Seagate led by Nathan Fa'avae, are returning to defend their unbeaten GODZone record this year and there are certainly some very competitive New Zealand and Aussie teams stepping up to take them on."
Team Rubicon out of Australia led by David Barlow is considered one of the strongest Aussie contenders while New Zealand Team Kathmandu XT led by Duncan Hamilton are ones to watch, according to Bates.
"Duncan Hamilton has got together with some other very experienced adventurers like Neil Jones, George Christianson and Kate Callaghan so they will race competitively. As will Team Chimpanzee Bar led by Jim Cotter and Team Orion Health led by Wayne Oxenham.
"American team Checkpoint Zero, led by Paul Humphrey, have a good track record with 24 hour races and competed at the World Champs last year in Costa Rica so they look promising as does Irish Team Moxi AR led by Chris Caulfield.
"Christchurch-based racer Sia Svendson is also back with a team this year and after placing second in the first chapter she will be eyeing up a top three position for sure."
Initially the GODZone team list was capped at 35 but unprecedented demand saw another five team spots open up for those on the waiting list.
GODZone is this year being hosted for the first time by Kaikoura and the spectacular geography and coastal area has offered new ground for the race to venture through.
Bates says there are some points of interest that were given due consideration when setting the course.
However, teams will know nothing about their destination until maps are handed out on the first race day.
"It's going to be a true journey of epic proportions and many, many different elements. Navigation, as always, is going to be key for the 2014 GODZone and we expect many teams' finishing times may be longer than in previous years."
The race begins on March 7 and runs until March 15.
- The Marlborough Express