White water action on day two of Godzone in Canterbury
Team Tiki Tour from Queenstown are leading the charge on day two of the GODZone adventure race in Canterbury today with a dominating performance out on the expedition course.
Tom Lucas, Mike Kelly, Corrinne O’Donnell and George Lucas stormed into a mid-Canterbury transition area at Castle Hill just before 5pm this afternoon having nailed the 73km packraft - trek - cave stage two.
“George has been setting the pace today and he’s the reason we are here in this position,” said Tom Lucas. “ The day started rough when we went around in circles for a bit and ran into some wasps but other than that it’s been a solid racing,” said Tom Lucas. “We are going to need some sleep at some stage otherwise we will blow but right now just want to get into this next mountain bike stage and complete it during the night.”
60 minutes behind in second position currently is Team Perpetual Guardian led by world champion adventure racer Chris Forne.
“No surprises there with Chris trying to reign the Tiki team in as much as he can,” says Race Director Adam Fairmaid. “Both these teams are pushing for a gap between them and the chasing pack and tonight is the night to do it on the mountain bike.”
One of North Canterbury’s largest rivers, the Waimakariri, was the major playground for the 260-competitor field. The day started with a 5am restart at Mt White Station, located in the Arthurs Pass National Park.
“It was a beautiful morning at Mt White Station as the teams departed just before sun rise and trekked off into the Torlesse Mountain Range,” says Fairmaid. “All the Pure teams were champing at the bit to get going having spent plenty of time mulling over the full set of maps they received late yesterday detailing the 600km course that’s ahead of them.”
The shorter formatted 500km Pursuit and Prime racing teams restarted from Flock Hill Station, some 35km down the Arthurs Pass road, at 7am.
The leading pack of racing teams made short work of the Torlesse Mountain trek and by midday were paddling their packrafts (carried in their packs) down the Poulter River and onto the Waimakariri River with water flows at a steady pace.
“The river level was consistent all the way resulting in good steady times and kilometers gained for the front teams on what can only be described as one of this region’s best rivers for adventure,” said GODZone Race Director Adam Fairmaid.
The pace stayed high through the Cave Stream Scenic Reserve caving section. The 362 metre long kart (limestone) cave is one of the most outstanding features in the Canterbury region.
“The area leading up to the caves has some impressive rocky limestone outcrops, nooks and crannies and the caves themselves have a stream running through with several waterfalls inside including one that has to be navigated by a rung ladder. It definitely got the adrenalin going for a few competitors today,” says Fairmaid.
GODZone teams are now spread far and wide across the 73km stage two area with some competitors expected to finish in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
“I don’t expect these lead teams to stop for sleep yet and they will continue into the night on the 160km mountain bike stage that heads up past Lake Lyndon and Lake Coleridge towards the Black Hill mountain Range,” says Fairmaid.