Photo John Morin D8575-009

GRAVITY 6-hour Adventure Race competitor Oliver Good from team Dicks on a Stick leads his teammates during the great event, which held its 10th anniversary.

RADICAL changes to this year’s Gravity 6-Hour Adventure Race in Kawerau ensured the event was an outstanding success, according to competitors.

Course designer Neil Jones created a course split into three sections, which meant competitors were spread over different areas of the forest, lessening congestion.

Event co-organiser Edwina O’Brien said the changes meant advanced competitors headed off to the most distant and challenging section of the course while the less experienced settled for less challenging areas.

“The change meant that competitors could choose to do which sections best suited their abilities,” she said.

“It was the first time we had done that, and Neil wanted to make this year’s event special by making the changes, because this was the 10th running of the race.

“He wanted to design a course where the advanced people were really challenged, where they had to really think strategically about what they were doing.

“We have found in previous years that the advanced competitors would arrive back at the finish after about five hours 15 minutes, so Neil loaded the course so that they would arrive close to the six-hour mark. I think our fastest group arrived back in about five hours 50, so it delivered exactly what Neil wanted.

“The feedback was great. They said they felt challenged. For the beginners they found they could achieve what they set out to do and came home feeling that they had achieved a milestone for themselves. It was an amazing day; we couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

She said there were no mishaps and the Kawerau Fire Brigade who were on hand to deal with first aid and injuries had a very quiet day.

“We had some people fall off their bikes at the exit of the downhill way up in the forest, but the pine needles meant they fell on a cushion, and that softened the blow.”

Over 400 competitors, in about 130 teams, took part in the event and O’Brien said it was great to see so many families competing with their children.

She said the event could not have happened had it not been for the “tremendous support” from the Tarawera Land Company and Hancocks, the forest managers. “They have been so supportive and helpful.”

“And we can’t thank the members of the Nga Kaitiaki o Pokohu Hunting Club enough – they closed their allocated blocks of land from hunting for the weekend, and also for some time earlier when Neil set up the course. Those people gave up their hunting days so that we could go into their hunting blocks.”

Whakatane Land Search and Rescue members monitored the forest to ensure people were safe at all times, and the event’s major sponsors, Whakatane Great Outdoors and Whakatane Cycle Centre ensured competitors received a large number of good prizes.

“The volunteers and the people behind the scenes – they are the people who make it stick.

The paperwork is the biggest part.

“And none of this we could do without Neil. He’s an integral part of the event. We have a good friendship and relationship with him.

“He comes and spends the last two weeks out there full time.

“All of these people mean that we are able to put on an event that is both safe and enjoyable for competitors,” she said.

“To have the support of these people is really crucial to us – we can’t do it without these people. If we didn’t get the permissions to use the forest and hunting blocks, there would be no race.”

Results:

Open women, two person teams: 1, Double Negative, 8550 points; 2, A Running Joke, 8140; 3, 2 Goods, 7910. Four person teams: 1, Tortoises and the Hare, 7275; 2, Marinated Chooks, 7050; 3, Ohope Terra, 6870.

Open men, two person teams: 1, The Lost Boys, 10570 points; 2 equal, Taking the Piss, 10350 and Younger Than We Look, 10350. Four person teams: 1, Out of Retirement, 8270; 2, Panthers, 7935; 3, H-Pack On!, 7205.

Mixed, two person teams: 1, No Idea, 9305; 2, Weekend Warriors, 9300; 3, Too Much Lycra, 9275.

Year 11-13 men: 1, Chronic Bronchitis, 7705; 2, Get ‘er Done, 7640; 3, Your Just a Pup, 5250. Mixed: 1, Whakatane High Kidz, 8935; 2, No Child Left Behind, 8270; 3, D.A.S.P., 6425.

Year 9-10 women: 1, The Blondies, 5170. Men: 1 CATRZ, 5840; 2, Dicks on a Stick, 4920. Mixed: 1, Tazza Jazza Bazza and Zozza, 8240; 2, FOUR 4 Adventure, 7470; 3, Trident Orcas, 7270.

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