Kiwi team's adventure of a lifetime
Team Seagate has won the Expedition Africa 500km adventure race after leading home defending champions, Sweden's Haglofs Silva, by more than two hours yesterday.
When the Seagate team of captain Nathan Fa'avae, fellow Nelsonian Sophie Hart, Christchurch's Chris Forne and Auckland's Stu Lynch ended the final 230km cycle leg at Port Edward mid-afternoon yesterday, they'd completed the nine-stage 524km journey in three days, eight hours and 56 minutes - 2 hours ahead of Haglofs Silva.
Team Seagate had dominated the race throughout, with their impressive win expected to put them back at the top of the world rankings. Expedition Africa was also round two of the Adventure Racing World Series, with Seagate having previously won the Godzone Race in Kaikoura in March.
Team Seagate had relinquished their No 1 spot after not finishing last year's world championships in Costa Rica through illness.
However, they'd always kept a healthy distance between themselves and the following 39 teams over the past four days as they mountain-biked, hiked, kayaked and navigated their way through more than 500km of wilderness on the remote and wild South Coast, often referred to as "paradise of the Zulu Kingdom".
Team Seagate had been on location at the venue for a week before the race, training and adjusting to the climate and time zone change.
However, it had been a stressful departure from New Zealand after Emirates airline wouldn't allow them to take all their race equipment, forcing them to leave 30kg of gear behind.
They clearly made the appropriate adjustments as Seagate established their initial 3hr 39min lead over Haglofs Silva at transition three to confirm their overall dominance early in the piece.
Team Bring It On, a mixed Brazilian-New Zealand team including Nelson's Sakkie Meyer and Wanaka's Emily Wilson, had just reached transition 5 this morning and were having a two-hour nap before taking on the eighth stage 40km trek section.
The race attracted a strong international contingent with teams from Sweden, US, Australia, Belgium, Costa Rica, France, Argentina, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, Brazil and Russia.