Computer screens the world over have gone deaf. Supporters following the last day of the epic World Series Adventure Racing event, XPD in Australia, have been shouting with excitement, elation, encouragement or despair at their respective teams represented by dots on a live tracking site.
Traversing a 650km unmarked route across remote areas of Townsville using maps and a compass, the top teams mountain biked, ran, bundu bashed and paddled their way through 12 long and difficult legs, day and night over 5,5 days. The majority of teams are still out there and have until Friday to complete the course.
Premier South African team, Merrell Adventure Addicts came hurtling in to second place just 78minutes after the eventual Australian winners, Mountain Designs. Commentators everywhere noted in the final stages the supreme navigational skills and sheer determination shown by our incredible team who had lost 8 hours recovering from near hypothermia on the banks of a river on the third night. Starting the penultimate stage, a 45km trek across tricky terrain, Merrell was 14,5 hours behind the leaders, with three teams ahead of them. The positive effect of the sleep was evident as they marched assuredly onward, choosing tactical moves while the others made costly blunders.
The local Australian team Peak Adventure, who had been leading for most of the race got themselves completely lost, tired and hungry and eventually gave up and quit the race.
“Luckily we had the light on that stretch. It’s horrible in there. That place is horrible. Horrible.” Said Captain Graham ‘Tweet’ Bird of the infamous Maze.
The Addicts consistently prove themselves to be amongst the best in the world at this extreme endurance sport. They won against 24 other local and international teams at Expedition Africa earlier this year, and head to Brazil for the World Championships in November where we will cheer them again as they race across the Pantanal, pitted against 90 teams.
For now though, it’s time for burger and bed. The bodies are sore, chafed and sunburnt.
“We are happy. It was tough, we made some mistakes, but we pulled through together. We have been very happy for the last day and a half.”
Sleep well Tweet, Hanno ‘Smelly’ Smit, Grant Ross and Robyn Kime. You’ve done us proud.
Merrell Adventure Addicts fb page covered their progress with updates, insights and photographs from the field.
The team is hugely supported and driven to OUT.PERFORM by Merrell. They ride Giant bicycles and use Black Diamond head torches and trekking poles and are proud to also be using South African products in the land down under; PVM, Squirt Lube, ButtaNutt, Llama Bars, Extreme Lights and Island Tribe all contribute to their incredible and inspirational successes.
More information on the team and Adventure Racing can be found on Merrell Adventure Addicts website and the XPD race site.