97 teams from over 20 countries converged on the tiny, coastal town of Huskisson to line up for the 2016 Adventure Racing (AR) World Series Championships. Commencing with a 35km sea kayak around Jervis Bay, the teams were racing hard from the start to get an early lead.
In a new race day format for the World Championship, the teams received their race maps and course notes race day morning. (Previously they had always received them the day before). To ensure all teams were planning with only the course maps and notes supplied, the teams were subject to lockdown (where no computers or phones are allowed), to prepare their routes for the race.
After a short bus trip from Race Headquarters to Huskisson, the athletes prepared their kayaks for the first leg of the 14 leg course.
The paddle leg would see teams navigate around the 102km2 oceanic Jervis Bay to collect 6 Checkpoints (CP) in sequential order, after a late course change. This meant all teams would be travelling together to the CPs via the same route around the bay. The stronger paddling teams of Seagate (NZL), Yealands (NZL), Peak Adventure (AUS), Merrell Adventure Addicts (RSA) and Adventurejunkie.com (AUS) battled on the bay to emerge into Transition Area (TA) in less than 5 hours.
A 14 km trek ensued whereby teams coasteered around rocky headlands and sandy white beaches to Erowal Bay. Peak Adventure lead by 1 minute to Seagate and Yealands by the first CP and managed to hold off the chasing teams in the late afternoon hours, for the remainder of the coastal trek.
As night began to fall, Peak Adventure left Erowal Bay to paddle 13km across Georges Basin to Sussex Inlet. They arrived at the Transition Area at 8.11pm. After 8 hours of racing, they had maintained their lead to Seagate by 1 minute. Team Yealands, in hot pursuit, arrived 3 minutes later to retain their 3rd place.
Rounding out the top 5 teams for the day were Adventure Medical Kits and Merrell Adventure Addicts, 5 minutes later.
Into the night teams will endure a 95km mountain bike ride to Kioloa, expected to take approximately 8 hours. As the landscape and navigation challenges become more difficult, the leader board may soon change.