Seagate eye world title bid

FLYING HIGH: Team Seagate Sophie Hart, Trevor Voyce and Nathan Fa'avae are off to race in Argentina.
FLYING HIGH: Team Seagate Sophie Hart, Trevor Voyce and Nathan Fa'avae are off to race in Argentina.

Three of Nelson's top adventure sport athletes are heading to the wilds of South America in a bid for world championship qualification and to complete some unfinished business.

Team Seagate, comprising Nathan Fa'avae, Trevor Voyce and Sophie Hart, left yesterday for the Argentinian region of Patagonia for the Tierra Viva Adventure Race, which starts at the weekend.

The event is one of eight which awards automatic qualification for the world champs in France later in the year for the top three finishers, with the winner of each round getting free entry.

The world title is one the team is desperate to win after being bumped into third spot in Tasmania last year after a minor breach of the rules (forgetting to carry a tracking device on a trail run) saw four hours added to their time.

They ended up 90 minutes behind the winner.

"We felt like we lost the race, as opposed to anyone else winning it," Fa'avae said.

The Patagonian race is one of two Team Seagate is entering, along with one in New Zealand in April.

Fa'avae said the team was keen to explore Patagonia, and it made sense timing-wise to enter the first race of the series.

The area of Patagonia the race is being held in is in the north of Argentina and the team was hoping for conditions similar to home.

"Patagonia is typically known as a place of extremes. I didn't know much about it prior to booking tickets to go racing there," Fa'avae explained.

"Turns out that Patagonia spans Chile and Argentina, and the south part is very very cold and windy.

"I think on latitude it is further south than Stewart Island.

"The northern part of Patagonia, where we are going, the latitude is more similar to Nelson.

"It still evidently can have extremes of weather, but I think if all things are equal, we'll have pretty similar conditions to what we could expect right here, right now."

The format was expected to be reasonably straight-forward with plenty of hiking, mountainbiking and kayaking, as well as self-navigation.

Voyce completed the two-day teams Coast to Coast on Saturday, where he came second, while Fa'avae and Hart spent the weekend paddling on the Buller River.

"Even though it's been an international race, I'd say our buildup into this has been fairly minimal, we just kind of figure our fitness should have carried through summer," Fa'avae said.

Follow the race at http://tierraviva.com.ar/2012/?lang=en

Nelson