A Jam Packed Weekend and Fitting Finale for the Augusta Adventure Fest
Thousands of competitors and spectators descended on Augusta, Western Australia, for the 14th and final Augusta Adventure Fest. Turner Caravan Park and the Augusta community played host to a number of off-road adventure races in the shadow of Cape Leeuwin lighthouse and wild surrounds.
The event weekend featured a return to the original and more popular course designs. The mix of off-road races allowed people of all abilities to be part of the action.
Ben Allen whipped the final mountain bike leg to win the marquee adventure race starting 8am on a chilly Sunday morning.
A pro triathlete and off-road XTERRA champ by day, Ben managed to claim his first and last win at the world’s biggest adventure race. He joins an illustrious honour roll of past winners including Braden Currie, Jared Kohlar, Sean O’Neill, Ricard Ussher, Dougal Allen, Deanna Blegg, Kristen Gadson and other top athletes from Australia.
Ben cracked the four-hour mark in style with a time of 3:53:54 after a 12.5km coastal run, 2 kilometre ocean swim, 12.5km ocean paddle and gruelling 28 kilometre mountain bike leg.
“It was tough competition out there. Sam (Maffett) and Sean (O’Neill) were really laying it down out there. They were really setting a strong pace. And I thought if they go like this all day then I’m in for a tough day. But I stuck to my guns and just tried to focus on controlling my own race,” Ben said in a post-race interview.
“I had a good swim and a good paddle and finished off with a really solid mountain bike and was happy to take the win here at Augusta.”
Former champ Sean O’Neill wasn’t far behind in second place. A final time of 4:10:03 showed the stalwart has still got what it takes. Rounding out the top three was Matt Duncan at 4:15:39.
There were some tough women out there too. A familiar face by the name of Kristen Gadson claimed the ladies crown in 4:38:33.
“This was my 12th Adventure Race with Rapid Ascent. I’ve done one at Dunsborough, 1 one at Lorne and 10 at Augusta. I’m getting a few more injuries along the way now but I still love it. It was so good to be a part of the final race,” said Kristen.
Second and third for the ladies were Phip Hughes and Claire O’Brien-Smith. Both came in under six hours in an awesome display of endurance.
The first mixed team under the finishing arch were the Bunbury Chiro Empire—only a few seconds behind solo race winner Ben Allen. Second was FFF – TBA who won the Mini race on Saturday. Third was the Rapid Ascent Legends—a team put together by event organisers Rapid Ascent.
On Saturday, Brant Edwards lit up the home straight to win the MINI Race just after midday. He completed the four-part course in a time of 2:11:56.
The remaining podium places went to Brett Edelman and Augusta veteran Rob Lim. Both stalwarts finished under two hours and fifteen minutes. Rob has the lofty honour of completing all 11 years of the Augusta Adventure Fest and all 14 iterations sine the race’s debut in 2006.
The top five men were all in the 40-49 age group in a clear demonstration of power and tenacity compared to their younger counterparts.
First in the ladies was Joanna Jenkin in 2:27:18. It was a sensational effort by Joanna who trailed after the swim leg. Nicola Hayes was hot on Joanna’s trail only 10 seconds behind. Third in the women’s race was Nancy Shaw who blitzed the first swim leg and was the first overall to leave the water. A final time of 2:31:11 allowed Nancy to claim a podium finish.
The first team across the line was FFF – TBA. They were part of an eight person contingent flying under the FFF banner. In second place was a mixed bag from Eclipse Performance and third was a girl’s contingent under the same banner.
The much anticipated Junior Survivor race kicked off at 3pm Saturday as well. 600 kids went on a rampage in a running obstacle style race in the streets of Augusta and Turner Caravan Park.
Overall, race director John Jacoby from Rapid Ascent was impressed with how competitors embraced the return to the original format.
“It proved a successful return to the way things used to be with competitor numbers up in the order of 60% on last year,” said John after the race.
“I thought the competitors did really well across all races this weekend. Whether racing for the win, a great time, or just for the adventure, well done on giving it a red-hot go.”
“The kids in the Junior Survivor were pumped up too. It’s always a favourite event of ours to see so many kids embracing an off-road adventure in good spirits.”
“There’s such a great vibe across the whole event, and everyone seemed happy with the return to the original format. Thanks to all competitors and spectators for making it such a great weekend of adventure racing”
“We’re so sad it’s the last one but it won’t be the end of adventure racing in Western Australia. We’d like to say a big thanks to all the participants, volunteers, event crew and especially the Augusta community for welcoming us with open arms every year,” said Jacoby.
This was the last Augusta Adventure Fest but it’s not the end for racing in Western Australia. Rapid Ascent announced on Saturday afternoon at 5pm it will be hosting a new adventure race in Eagle Bay.
The dates have been set for November 7-8 next year. The new venue will play host to more than a thousand participants and just as many spectators the week after Melbourne Cup festivities.
See the new website for more information on the 2020 Eagle Bay Epic.
And be sure to check out all the event details from this weekend’s finale of the Augusta Adventure Fest including a full list of times and results.