Just two minutes separated adventure teams


Super Adventure Club won the 12-hour Absolute Wilderness Adventure Race by just two minutes while The Woodies made it two from two after rafting, mountainbiking and hiking through rivers and mountains near Murchison on Saturday.

Super Adventure’s Tim Fraser-Harris, Benni Moulam and Patrick Higgins of Nelson won the 12-hour team’s adventure race in 11hr 21min. They were second early in the race which started with a raft down the Gowan and Buller rivers and a climb up the 1469m Mount Murchison.

Super Adventure maintained that position on the mountainbike up Two Mile Creek and then into the Owen River before making their winning break on Life Style Accountings’s Nathan Sturrock, Lachlan Brownlie and Hamish Sturmer on the trek through the Sandstone River.

But their race wasn’t over as they had to withstand a late challenge from a fast-finishing Team Aniseed Valley which caught them entering the final transition and then passed them at the penultimate check point.

“It was a really close racing the whole way,” Benni says. “It was amazing finish only two minutes apart after 11 or 12 hours of racing.”

Tom says they decided to do the race together this year after racing in separate teams last year.

“We all know each other so decided to do it together this year. We can all navigate a bit so we managed to get through alright.”

Tim says the highlight of the race was “the stunning view from the top of Mt Murchison”.

“We were the last team to get up there and have a view. The weather closed in about a minute after we got their so we were so lucky.”

Team Aniseed Valley finished 27 minutes clear of third-placed Life Style Accounting and was also the fastest mixed team. The team’s female racer, Waimea College teacher Jane Orbell, had coached two of Life Style Accounting’s team members, Nathan and Lachlan, when they were in the school’s Hillary Challenge adventure racing team.

It was a long day for Team On Course of Course’s Steve Strange, Pete Hall and Colin Pearson who didn’t live up to their name finishing the 12-hour race in 17hr 51min.

The Woodies were in a class of their own in the six-hour race winning in 5hr 45min. Malcolm Edridge and Brad Wallace, who are forestry contractors, were also in The Woodies winning six-hour team last year.

Waimea Ocean Gate’s Libby Malthus, Elliott Kennedy and Cameron Jones were the second fastest six-hour team in 6hr 18min while the Cereal Killers Callum Irvine, Paul Dukes and Stephen Busby were third in 6hr 23min.

2 Fast 4 Waimea’s Hamish Andeson, Clayton Anderson and Finn Mitchell, with an average age of 13, won the three-hour race in 5hr 26min.

Race director and world champion adventure racer Nathan Fa’avae paid tribute to course designers Mark Rayward and Dan Moore who set out a spectacular and challenging route for both the six and 12-hour teams.

“A few of the racers rated it as one of the best 12 or 24-hour courses they have done,” Nathan says. “We were trying to give people a real wilderness experience and course where they needed to navigate well.

“We also wanted to get the 12-hour teams up high which we did by sending them up Mt Murchison. And it was great to see an exciting finish.”