For release: 19 May 2016
Expedition Africa, round 4 in this year’s Adventure Racing World Series, drew an international entry of 54 teams to The Garden Route region of South Africa to compete on a fast and spectacular 500km course.
From the outset it was local team Featherbed Painted Wolf who set a furious pace, pulling away from race favourites and world ranked #7 team Merrell Adventure Addicts, who were defending their Expedition Africa title. And they kept that pace up throughout the next 3 days, 12 hours and 33 minutes to record a comprehensive win, even spending extra time going back to collect a missed checkpoint, and still winning 3 hours 44 minutes ahead of the second placed Merrell team.
This was the third AR World Series in a row where a team from outside the world rankings has taken the win. Up to now that has been a very rare occurrence, but the established expedition racing teams are now facing new challenges. After this stunning win Featherbed Painted Wolf will certainly be a threat at the World Championships in Australia later this year, which their series win guarantees them a free place at.
The win was not such a huge surprise given that the team includes brothers Mark and John Collins, who have a long established racing pedigree at the highest level. They’ve returned to racing with some impact after a long break, and teamed up with Jeannie Dreyer and Darren Berry, who is a volunteer for the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI).
The team showed great sportsmanship deliberately not taking what they knew from local knowledge to be a shorter route, knowing other international teams would be unaware of it, and Jeannie Dreyer struggled through the race having turned her ankle in the early stages.
The team praised the route which took teams along stunning coastlines, into deep canyons, dry hills and down a jaw dropping and vertigo inducing abseil descent. The Race Director Stefan Muller from Kinetic Events found places even knowledgeable locals had never been to before and the local support for the race has been overwhelming.
“We have never received such an amazing support system in an adventure race. We would like to ask the people of the Garden Route, South Africa and abroad to continue the support that is streaming in as the rest of our teams race their way ‘home'” shares Heidi Muller, co race director of Expedition Africa.
The majority of the teams, among them ‘That’s Cray’ which includes AR World Series director Craig Bycroft, are still out enjoying the delights of The Garden Route and the stunning Expedition Africa course.
The early finishers showed a mix of international and home teams, with SWECO of Sweden taking third behind Merrell Adventure Addicts, and Naturex (France) and Raid Gallaecia Fridama of Spain among the top ranked teams.
You can follow the final stages of the race with live team tracking, and see all of the race pictures and videos at http://www.kineticgear.org
For more details on the AR World Series see www.arworldseries.com
Photos By Bruce Vivaene