The first race in the ARWS Europe calendar this year is the Montane Kong Vinter Race, taking place near Copenhagen, Denmark this weekend, January 14/15th.
There are 19 teams in the Masters event, which is a 24 hour race and is the ARWS class for mixed teams of 4. These include teams from Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Finland/Italy, and of course the top Danish teams, including several past winners. It promises to be a very competitive race, which can be followed on live tracking, and the winner will secure a free place in ARWS Europe Championship, which will be staged by Raid in France at the end of September, and combined with the French National Championship.
The race has three other categories which are for pairs or teams of 3. These are the Challenge Class (8 hours), the Fighter Class (4 hours) and an U21 Category to encourage youth teams. The race is also the first event in the calendar for the Danish Adventure Race Union.
The race is new to the ARWS Europe series, but has been organised since 2010 and is a cornerstone of the Danish racing calendar. It has attracted many of the best European racers over the years, and is organised by Lars Bukkehave who has raced many ARWS events around the world, and served as an ARWS referee.
Speaking about his plans for the race he said, “I have been racing around the world and try to use some twists which I liked and put them into the race.
“Navigation and orienteering is my favourite discipline in AR so I always strive to make it difficult and tricky. As Denmark is a well populated country we avoid built areas and find places where we can place a lot of checkpoints to guide teams into the forest and wild areas. In that way the teams can race up to 24 hours almost without see any towns or urban areas.
“Denmark also has a very strong orienteering scene so there are many great foot and mountain bike orienteering maps. This year we also have a very big tree climbing challenge, which even the fastest team will take over an hour to complete, and we call it ‘Vertical Orienteering’. Tree checkpoints will be taken in any order and will all be 10-25m up in the trees.
“In the same place we also have a dry tooling challenge, which is using ice climbing tools on a wooden pillar attached to a tree, plus we have a very cool labyrinth. This will be 40x40m meters and I know for sure some racers will get very lost. It’s a relay and each team member will go in with a special Labryinth map, including those who are not regular navigators. There is a big gravel pit area with some hardcore running and navigating as well.”
Among the race favourites are Masanga Racing/Copehagen Adventure Sport, who have been Danish champions 2 years in a row and won Kong Vinter several times. Other past winners are team Salomon Adventure and Salomon Adventure 2, and the current ARWS Europe #1 team, Racing Denmark/HighFive are also competing. (They won the ITERA Expedition Race last year and are building up to Expedition Ozark.) Aaros are a new young team and will also be one to watch.
The international visitors include Dutchables, who have been to the race before, and are joined by another Dutch team, ‘Enthusiastic Without Borders’. Another returning team are the Norwegians, Team Mila and the Gents, who have raced Kong Vinter 5 times before, so they know what to expect. Karlstad Multisport from Sweden are regular competitors as well, and the two teams travelling furthest are the Snow Dog Trail Team from Poland and Team Bull Adventure from Finland.
The Finnish team is lead by Lauri Hollo, who is one of the organisers of another ARWS Europe race – the Endurance Quest Espoo, which takes place in August. This team had to find a late replacement and called in veteran Italian racer Marco Ponteri to join them.
There will be regular coverage on the Montane Kong Vinter Facebook page and the ARWS category will have live tracking on https://en.follow.me.cz/.
The race will be a competitive and innovative start to ARWS Europe in 2023, which comprises 9 races in 8 countries – see https://arworldseries.com/europe/