The podium at Expedition Africa Mnweni
The five-event Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) Africa Regional Circuit – an annual series – kicked off the year with an event in the Mnweni area of the Drakensberg at the end of February. Team Merrell Songlines took the top spot on the podium.
The event offered three course options of 6/12hr, 12/24hr and 24/40hr to cater for beginners, teams looking to gain experience and for those teams preparing for longer events later in the year. By the start of the third leg, Team Merrell Songlines was out in front, having taken the lead from Team Truffle Hunters. With every kilometre, they pulled away from the rest of the field.
For any event that takes place in the Drakensberg, teams can expect that weather conditions will change. And they did. The blistering daytime heat gave way to a cracking thunderstorm with heavy downpour on the Saturday night when several teams were on, or preparing to get on, the water to kayak across Woodstock Dam.
While teams at the transition area could be held back for safety, French team Les Poulidor and locals TightAchilles were already out on the water when the storm hit. As the teams carry SPOT GPS tracking devices, supporters following the live tracking online watched anxiously as these teams made it to shore and then began walking back to the safety of the transition area.
Team Merrell Songlines was already off the water and, with the paddling leg subsequently cancelled by the raging storm, they were the only team to complete the full 24/40hr course.
This winning team sported a new team member combination with Tim Chambers joining Kelvin Trautman, John Collins and Tracey Campbell for this event.
“It was lovely to be reunited with the South African Adventure Race community again this weekend after a few months away from racing. It was also good to clear the race cobwebs and take the race win. Our navigation was a little rusty and the long treks in the big mountains definitely tested the early season legs. We also tested a new team combo this race with Tim Chambers filling in for Lance Kime, who is on an overseas work stint currently. Tim is a pedigree athlete and champion orienteer so it was real value-add having him join the team,” the team wrote after the race @teamsonglines.
Team GoBadger won the 12/24hr course and the youthful pair of Team Trevi Mountain Goats claimed their first place on the 6/12hr course ahead of the four-person team Sleepy Dragons.
“This was a good start to the new adventure racing season,” says Heidi Muller, Event Director of Expedition Africa. “The conditions were tough with the unforgiving heat and challenging hiking legs. I am especially proud of the teenagers who took part.”
From the mountains, Expedition Africa takes teams to the sea with their next event in the Hermanus – Stanford area of the Western Cape. They are offering discounts to School and Student teams to entice more youth teams to take part in this event.
Visit www.expafrica.net/expedition-africa-hermanus for event and entry information.
Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) Africa Regional Circuit
RESULTS: Mnweni, 24-26 February 2023
1. Merrell Songlines
2. Truffle Hunters
3. Oosrand Skollies 4. Pinegold 5. WIHLS (pair)
2. Les Poulidor (France)
3. Fran, Diane & 2 Heros 4. Trevi Mountain Goats (pair)
1. Nevarest (pair)
2. Sleepy Dragons
Event: Expedition Africa – Hermanus
Date: 24-26 March 2023
Location: Hermanus, Western Cape, South Africa
Course distances: 6/12hrs, 12/24hrs and 24/40hrs
Start times: 24/40hrs: Friday, 24 March 2023 at 17h00
6/12hrs, 12/24hrs: Saturday, 25 March 2023 at 07h00
Team format: pairs and 4s
Live tracking: www.expafrica.live
Schedule of the 2023 ARWS Africa Regional Circuit sponsored by Merrell
24 – 26 Feb 2023: Expedition Africa – Mnweni, Drakensberg expafrica.net – COMPLETED
24 – 26 March 2023: Expedition Africa – Hermanus, Western Cape expafrica.net
21 – 23 April 2023: Mammoth Woodridge AR – Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape adventureracing.co.za
16 – 18 June 2023: No Frills, No Fuss – Montagu, Western Cape www.nfnf.co.za/homepage/races
28 – 30 July 2023: Merrell Transkei Tuff, The Haven, Wild Coast www.aloeadventures.co.za
Africa Regional Championship 2023
16 – 29 October 2023: Expedition Africa 2023, host of the Adventure Racing World Championship expafrica.net
About the 2023 Adventure Racing World Series Africa Regional Circuit
There are five events in the ARWS Africa Regional Circuit. At the end of March, Expedition Africa host another event in Hermanus. Thereafter, event hosting falls to other organisers with events in Port Elizabeth in April, Montagu in mid-June and the Wild Coast in late July. Expedition Africa 2023, this year’s expedition-length AR World Championship event, takes place on 16 – 29 October 2023 and is also the Africa Regional Championship for 2023.
At all events, teams are awarded points according to their finishing position. These points count towards an ARWS Africa Regional Championship log and the opportunity to win an entry to the 2024 AR World Championship in Ecuador.
Learn more about the ARWS Africa Regional Circuit at arworldseries.com/africa