The Adventure Racing World Championship will make a spectacular return in Spain between October 2nd and 10th, when Raid Gallaecia will stage one of the biggest ever expedition adventure races.
The World Championships is the pinnacle of achievement in the world’s toughest sport and is hosted by a different World Series race each year, to ensure a variety of challenging terrain and allow competitors the chance to experience different countries and cultures.
This year it is the turn of Raid Gallaecia and teams from around the world are preparing to travel to the North-western corner of Spain to compete on a 610km course, where they will ride, paddle and run, racing non-stop for up to 7 days to reach the finish line. The port city of A Coruña is hosting the event, though the teams won’t know where the start will be, or where the course will go, until just before they set off at midday on Saturday 2nd.
If all 94 teams of 4 can make that start line, the race will equal the biggest expedition race ever staged, and it would have been the biggest had Covid restrictions not stopped some teams travelling. (The World Championships in Australia, hosted by XPD in 2016, also had 94 teams.)
This impressive entry, at a time when travel is still far from easy, shows how much the adventure racing community wants to get back to world class competition. The teams also know Raid Gallaecia’s reputation for great courses and slick organisation, and most of the top world ranked teams have raced there in the past, and are more than happy to return.
The organising team is led by Race Director Pablo López Franco, who has raced many international adventure races himself, and organises endurance events year round through his company Marmar Outdoor.
He is backed by an experienced team who have been working towards hosting the World Championships since organising the first Spanish League race in the region in 2005. The first Raid Gallaecia was in 2013 and the race joined the Adventure Racing World Series in 2015, and has been won by both the current world #1 and #3 ranked teams.
“The objective of our organizing team since we started our Raid Gallaecia project was to ensure that a World Championship was held in our land.” Said Lopez. “After touring the world with our competition team, being able to host a World Championship here is a source of great pride and joy.”
He added, “We believe Gallaecia is one of the best places in the world to practice adventure sports. We live surrounded by mountains, very fast flowing rivers, and an incredible coastline.
“The 2021 World Championship will be the most mountainous, the longest and the most technical edition of our race so far, crossing 3 of the 4 provinces of Gallaecia and passing very close to the border with Portugal.
“We are delighted to welcome teams from all over the world and to offer an unforgettable World Championship. After 2 years without a World Championship due to problems outside of racing, we want racers to enjoy a great reunion in Gallaecia.”
The teams too are looking forward to a sporting reunion, although sadly a few will be missing, including the current World Champions. Team Avaya from New Zealand can’t travel, and neither can the series winners from the recent XPD race in Australia. However, there will still be some intense competition as Avaya is the only top 10 team missing, and the rest of the AR World Series race winners will take their places. Avaya has dominated for many years, so there will be a new World Champion team this year.
Among the favourites will be Spanish team Torpedo Vidaraid, who have won their last two World Series races (Expedition Oregon and Patagonia Raid) and are ranked world #2. They will be hoping to emulate the Spanish team lead by the late, and much missed, Emma Roca, who captained Team Buff Thermocool to the World title the last time the World Championships was held in Spain in 2010. (The Vidaraid team captain, Urtzi Iglesias, is the Race Director for Expedicion Guarani in Paraguay, which will be next year’s AR World championships.)
The world #1 ranked team is 400team Naturex from France, and they won Raid Gallaecia in 2017, only just holding off another French team, FMR, who will be racing again this year as part of an exceptionally strong French entry. This includes Lozere Team2 Raid, winners of the ITERA Expedition Race in Scotland.
There is a strong Swedish entry too, lead by World #3 Orbital AR, who won in Gallaecia in 2015, and they are joined by the Swedish Armed Forces Adventure Team who won the Nordic Island’s AR, the Greener Adventure Team, winners of Expedition Africa, and Team USWE, who won at Adventure Race Croatia.
However, ranking doesn’t mean everything and both Naturex 400team and Orbital AR were beaten in the last Raid Gallaecia (2019) by Team Nordisk of Denmark. They are the defending race champions and want to win again and take a World title this time.
“The team is the exactly the same as in 2019.” Said Laura Lambæk Knudsen. “In our preparations we have focused on paddling as it’s not our strong discipline and we had a training camp in Gallaecia the last week of august. This taught us a bit more about the terrain and we got to zoom in on the maps of the area again.”
There are 3 Qualifiers from South America too, Team Bosi won the PC12 Adventure Race in Colombia, BOA Brazil Multisport were winners at Expedition Guarani in Paraguay, and the most recent series winners were Team Movistar Aventura of Ecuador at the Huairsinchi race.
Other strong contenders will come from the USA, Eastern Europe, and of course from the many Spanish teams who will be racing with pride in their own country.
During the race it will be possible to follow the progress of all the teams through the live satellite tracking, operated by Spanish company Track the Race, who have their own strong team competing.
There will be live coverage throughout the race from Raid Gallaecia and the AR World Series with daily video, photos and reports on their websites and social media channels.
To find out more about the race and see the full team list visit www.raidgallaecia.com.
For more on the Adventure Racing World Series visit www.arworldseries.com.
Sign up to receive news on the race direct to your inbox