Classic Races Return for an Expanded ARWS European Series in 2023

Raid Lowlands attracted 60 teams in its first year
Raid Lowlands will be back in the 2023 ARWS Europe Series after a hugely successful debut in 2022

The ARWS Europe Series for 2023 includes established races, new races, new countries and the return of a race which was a World Series qualifier in the past, with some famous names from the sport behind the re-launched event.   The series will run from January to October and includes 9 races from 8 European countries.

The series starts with the Montane Kong Vinter race in Denmark which takes place on January 14/15th from Copenhagen.  The race is one of Europe’s few winter races, and the 24 hour course will cover 150 to 200km.  The Race Director is Lars Bukkehave, a prolific racer on the ARWS circuit, who is also course planner for the Nordic Islands Adventure Race on the Faroe Islands next year.

He says, “Kong Vinter has been organised for 13 years now and is one of the favourite races in Denmark. We strive to make a beautiful and challenging course, but also to add some small twists and fun elements, and there are always some historical places along the route.”

With the venue in Copenhagen racers have the chance to visit Denmark’s beautiful capital city, and the race is easily accessible from Sweden by road and rail via the Øresund Bridge, and by flights to the international airport which is only 7km from the city centre.

Some famous names have taken part in the past.  Petri Forsman of Team Nokia Finland has raced 6 times and said, “Kong Vinter is a great adventure race with good orienteering and great maps,” while Silver Eensaar of Estonian ACE Adventure described it as “a short race with a long adventure feeling.” (Both of those racers are involved in organising the series this year.)

Raid Lowlands returns in the Spring, after a great debut in the series last year, and race dates for 2023 are May 12-14th on a 200km course from Valkenburg.

Last year the race had 60 teams, with racers from 18 nationalities and the XPD Holland team will once again deliver a race with the fun and enthusiasm of their team mantra; “Never grow up!”  They promise; The second edition will surpass the first with a bad ass course, lots of altitude, non-stop racing, great nature, a mental breaker, unique moments, sleepmonsters and an unforgettable adventure!”  They already have 10 nationalities entered and there are only a few places left.

Race 3 is another new addition to the series, and the first of two in France. Raids des Dentelles will be held from May 27-29th and organised by Team 400 Naturex, one of the world’s elite teams for many years now.  Their pedigree and experience will influence the 200km course and they will make the most of the stunning scenery of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

The race has always encouraged junior and youth teams, working in cooperation with the French national federation, and is tagged as a ‘Grande Traversee du Vaucluse’.  Visiting teams can expect challenging navigation, lots of ascent and strong competition from the established French teams.

The Montane Kong Vinter will be based in Copenhagen in January
The Montane Kong Vinter will be based in Copenhagen in January

On June 9-10th the Nirvana Raid returns to the series once again as Round 4 moves to Italy.  The courses will be 120km and 70km and entry opens on December 1st for a race which will be based in Piombino, taking place in a splendid setting on the coast of the Gulf of Baratti in Tuscany.  It’s going to be another really beautiful course.

Last year’s race was popular with French and Swiss teams and the sub-Alpine scenery around Lake Como was a magnificent venue, though the weather was not so good!  For 2022 the race is a little later in the year and it will once again be organised by the Nirvana Verde group, an amateur sports association which has been organising outdoor sports races for over a decade now, including mountain marathons, sport climbing, orienteering and trail races.

Another race returning to the series is the Tactical Foodpack Expedition Estonia race, from June 30th to July 2nd.   The course is planned by members of the Estonian ACE Adventure La Sportiva team and they describe it like this.

“The course runs in the area of the ancient counties of Sakala and Nurmekunna (central Estonia) and is about 230 km long.  The route will traverse beautiful untouched forests and bogs as well as exciting cultural landscapes and special natural objects. …  The journey takes racers from established trails to untouched, more difficult terrain (also vast areas without trails), which makes it a real wilderness expedition. The predicted fastest time for non-stop racing is about 20 hours, but the course will be open for 40 hours, so it is possible to complete it more calmly and with rest breaks. Expedition Estonia is a tough challenge and to win, you need to be extra tough, smart and resilient!”

In August the action moves to the Scottish Border region around Selkirk, for ITERA-Lite.  ITERA is an expedition length World Series Qualifier, which takes place every 2 or 3 years and was held this year from Oban in the Scottish Highlands and Islands.  Rather than wait for the next expedition race to come around the organising team have planned a slightly shorter race for 2023 and joined the European Series.

ITERA-Lite will cover a 300km course, making it the longest race in the series, and take place from July 27-31st.   The race area is only an hour from Edinburgh airport and accessible by train.

The organisers are Durty Events and Tom Gibbs will once again be the course planner.  Race Director Paul McGreal says, “The course area has huge areas of forest, significant empty upland areas, deep-cut valleys, fast-flowing rivers, and miles and miles and miles of gravel roads and tracks. It’s also a world-class MTB destination, so expect flowing singletrack and epic climbs.”

Round 7 of the series sees the welcome return of another race which has in the past been a Qualifier.  Endurance Quest returns to the World Series from August 10-13th (after last taking place as an expedition race in 2014), and is a ‘second generation’ World Series event.

The lakes of Finland will be part of Endurance Quest in 2023
The lakes of Finland will be part of Endurance Quest in 2023

“We are thrilled that the legendary Endurance Quest can return after 9 years and that the race will be organized by two adventure race generations,” said Harri Hollo, the Race Director.

Hollo was the Race Director in 2001 for the first Endurance Quest, when his one year old son travelled around the course with him.  Next year, Lauri Hollo, now 23 years old, and an active racer and organizer with the Northern Adventure Team, will be the Technical Director for the revived Endurance Quest!

Hollo Snr added, “Endurance Quest will be in very good hands because one of the best adventure race athletes ever, World Champion from 2001 and Raid Gauloises winner, Petri Forsman, will be the advisor for the race.”

Course planner Jerry Aunula said, “Endurance Quest Espoo will offer the racers a unique experience in the Finnish archipelago, as well as pure forest and trails for orienteering and biking with high level Finnish maps.”  The course will travel through the urban Forests of Espoo, Espoo archipelago & National Parks and offer a variety of landscapes on the 250km course.

Spain once again features in the European Series with the return of another classic race.  Raid Aran is back in the European calendar and will take place from September 1st to 3rd in the Pyrenees.

The race will be the 5th edition of Raid Aran and the organisers say, “we are back with new energy but maintaining the original essence of the race: recovering the adventure spirit, offering spectacular, wild and unknown routes, while maintaining the variety of disciplines. Multisport, Adventure, Teamwork, Wild Nature and Self-sufficiency!  We return to the origins of adventure racing!”

The 200km course will include rafting, canyoning and ropes, and the course will be open for 48 hours.  The race is already proving popular.  Entry opened December 1st and 27 of the 40 places are already taken.

The climax of the European Series will be the ARWS European Championship at the ‘RIF Spirit’ race staged by Raid in France from Sept 29th to Oct 1st.

The Raid in France team, lead by Nancy and Pascale Bahuaud, are the most experienced adventure race organisers in the world, and have organised two World Championships.  They are planning a spectacular finish to the 2023 European Series.

Nancy said, “RIF Spirit follows the « Back to Nature » motto of Raid in France, with a 150km course of 18 to 28 hours.  As usual on Raid in France, the racers will be challenged with some engaged sections going through a beautiful region of France, the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The orienteering, MTB and canoeing will bring smiles to their faces and the route will be demanding and technical, but with some options for the less experienced teams who are racing to engage with the spirit of the race and start their adventure racing journey.

Defending Raid in France team Raid 400 Naturex will be organising one of the ARWS Europe races in 2023
Defending Raid in France champions, 400 Team Naturex will be organising one of the ARWS Europe races in 2023

The race will also be the French National Championship for 2023, so the competition will be intense, with National and European titles at stake, and the winners taking a place at the 2024 Adventure Racing World Championship in Ecuador.

All of the teams taking part will receive ARWS ranking points, for their European rank and also to count toward their world ranking, where Regional series points can make a significant difference to a team’s position.

For the top teams in the series, there will be great prizes and free race entries. The team’s racing the most can walk away with lots of points and prizes, and enjoy some varied races in stunning locations, all across Europe.

For full details of all the ARWS Europe races and the latest European race news see https://arworldseries.com/europe/

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