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Chapter 1 – “Milford”

Mitre Peak - Milford SoundAs an iconic location to begin your first event you would be hard pushed to find a place that could compare with Milford Sound. Starting at the rugged west coast of the South Island, teams embarked on an adventure of a lifetime from this most spectacular of places. The route headed southeast through Fiordland and into Southland, before swinging back north again to take in the high mountains that surround the giant Lake Wakatipu.

The great lake provided the final push to the finish, taking teams to a memorable conclusion on the beach in Queenstown. The route was linear by nature and was set out to feel like a journey from end to end. As the teams sat on the cruise boat out to the start under a moonlit sky, the sense of doing something special was palpable.

Note: Images and video from Chapter 1 can be found in the Media section. 


The Teams

Thirty one teams from all over the world made it to the start line, with 12 countries represented – Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Holland, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, Sweden, UK – with approximately 35% of the participants overseas nationals. The spread of experience was noticeable with perhaps the worlds best team, Seagate, in attendance along side a number of teams who had not competed in an expedition length race before. The age of the competitors varied, testament to the attraction of this type of event for all ages. We were delighted to welcome back some ‘veteran’ teams and at the same time introduce the new generation of ‘colt’ team to this most challenging sport, who were competing for the Macpac Colt Prize.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4
1. Baba Orientation Belgian Daniel Masy Belgian Eric Neuteleers Belgian Carine Laloy Belgian Pierre Collin
2. Stunts New Zealand Mark Wallace New Zealand Katherine Allan New Zealand Graham Patterson New Zealand Louise Hales
3. Kauri Coasters New Zealand Thorlene Egerton New Zealand Ross Friedrich New Zealand Alan Kirkpatrick New Zealand Barry Ruddell
4. Get No Sleep AR New Zealand Ian Huntsman New Zealand Wendy Riach Ireland Finbar McGurren Ireland Karen Duggan
5. Hard Yuccas Australian Andrew Johnson Australian Sally Macready Australian Lisa Antill Australian Joel Deans
6. Hundreds Killed New Zealand Mark Hearfield New Zealand Nick Lowe New Zealand Robert Smith New Zealand Keri Devine
7. Asses Ears Bites Back Australian Brendan Hills Australian Mary McBride Australian Doug Ivey Australian LLoyd Neilson
8. Little Red Dot Singaporean Tan Yung Khan Malaysian Jason Boon Hong Kong Wong Ho Fai Singaporean Lee Chuen Ling
9. Kia Kaha New Zealand David Viitakangas Canadian Tim Gibbs Swedish Hanna Erixson Dutch Lukas Petow
10. Orion Health Adventure New Zealand Wayne Oxenham New Zealand Lisa Godfrey New Zealand Sarah Clark New Zealand Sonya Clark
11. Proactive Physio New Zealand Marty Macdonald New Zealand Bernard Robinson New Zealand Brent Herdson New Zealand Toni Keeling
12. R&R Sport New Zealand Jess Simson New Zealand Mat Woods New Zealand Hadyn Key New Zealand Bas Smith
13. Rogue Samurai by Macpac Australian Liam St Pierre Australian Craig Edwards Australian Darren Smith Canadian Debbie Harksen
14. Shakespeare & Co New Zealand Rosie Shakespeare New Zealand Tamsin Chittock New Zealand Ian Walsh New Zealand Tony Watson
15. Seagate New Zealand Nathan Fa’avae New Zealand Sophie Hart New Zealand Chris Forne New Zealand Trevor Voyce
16. House of Travel/Starship New Zealand Ben Meyer New Zealand Huriana Manuel New Zealand David Gibson New Zealand Robert Nichol
17. Subway New Zealand Richard Ussher Finland Elina Ussher New Zealand Braden Currie New Zealand Sam Clark
18. Swordfox  New Zealand Nick Ross New Zealand Shane Armstrong New Zealand Joanna Turnbull New Zealand Angus Jennings
19. Moa Hunters New Zealand Jeremy Warnock New Zealand Simone Maier New Zealand Ailsa Rollinson New Zealand Richard Anderson
20. Team 215 New Zealand Emma de Lacey New Zealand Guy de Lacey New Zealand Stephen John New Zealand Mike Charles
21. Team Bivouac Colts New Zealand Ryan Thompson New Zealand JJ Wilson New Zealand Bex Law New Zealand Dayne Mc Knight
22. Team Macpac Girls on Top New Zealand Debbie Chambers Australian Anne Lowerson New Zealand Jo Forbes New Zealand Craig Stevens
23. Team Mazda New Zealand Josh Harris New Zealand Emily Wilson New Zealand Hamish Fleming New Zealand William Sams
24. Team Mountain Designs Australian Kim Beckinsale Australian Gary Sutherland Australian Robbie Andrews Australian Dave Schloss
25. Team Osprey Packs New Zealand Blair MacKinnon New Zealand Steven MacLeod New Zealand Andy Reid New Zealand Alison Scarlet
26. Team PB Sports Australian DNS Australian DNS DNS DNS
27. Team One Square Meal Denmark Sia Svendsen New Zealand Ian Edmond New Zealand Stuart Lynch New Zealand Ross Rotherham
28. TeamBlackheart.com Australian Rob Preston Australian Kathryn Preston Australian Josh Street Australian Glen Currie
29. The Go Team New Zealand Tim Farrant New Zealand Robert Munro New Zealand Emily Wall New Zealand Elisha Nuttall
30. Tiki Tour New Zealand Tom Lucas Ireland Mike Kelly New Zealand Michael Walker Ireland Joanna Williams
31. The Able Tasmans New Zealand Craig Newton New Zealand Aidan Boswell New Zealand Steve Lock New Zealand Emma Mccosh
32. You’ve Been Chicked British DNS Australian DNS New Zealand DNS Australian DNS
33. City Bike Depot Australia Hugh Stodart New Zealand Rich Mountstephens Australian Danielle Winslow Australian Seamus Meikle

The Route

A breathtaking journey through some of New Zealand’s most pristine wilderness. Once out of Milford Sound, teams didn’t see much civilisation until they arrived into Glenorchy which was the final stage of the event. A true adventure in some very remote parts of the South Island. The route covered a total distance of 500km, which included approximately 126km of trekking, 279km of biking and 95km of kayaking and canoeing. The west to east character of the route allowed the teams to experience a wide variety of environments, including – rain forest, alpine forest, high country tussock, beech forest, grasslands, high alpine mountains and glacial valleys, rivers and lakes.

Start – Cruise ship out into Milford Sound under a moonlight for the daybreak start

Stage 1 – Sea kayak through Milford Sound back to Deepwater Basin

Stage 2 – Road bike along the scenic Milford Road taking in the Homer Tunnel, New Zealand’s second longest

Stage 3 – River canoe along the Eglinton River that flows from the Divide down to Lake Te Anau

Stage 4 – Bush trek through native forests. A very challenging stage from a navigational stand point

Stage 5 – Mountain bike along the Oreti River and across a number of other catchments before arriving at the Irthing stream

Stage 6 – Mountain trek over the vast expanse of the Eyre Mountains. Very few checkpoints and multiple route options

Stage 8 – Mountain bike over the Thomson Mountains and along the western edge of Lake Wakatipu

Stage 9 – Alpine trek and fixed ropes around the 2830m summit of Mount  Earnslaw with hanging glaciers and waterfalls as a backdrop to all checkpoints

Stage 10 – Mountain bike out of the Rees Valley towards the first sign of life for some days in Glenorchy

Stage 11 – Lake kayak back home to Queenstown taking in the beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Most teams enjoyed wonderful surfing conditions for the full 46km


Results

The 2012 edition of GODZone, Chapter 1 – Milford, was won by team Seagate, which comprised Trevor Voyce, Chris Forne, Nathan Fa’avae, and Sophie Hart.

For the first three stages on Day 1, Seagate raced neck and neck with the Subway team, with Subway pulling away to a 10 minute advantage by the end of the Eglinton canoe. It was during the night trek through the Dunton Range on Stage 4 where Seagate made their move, having previously identified CP5 (a checkpoint that proved to be highly challenging for all teams – taking one team 19hrs to locate it) as the place to attack. Spotting an opportunity as Subway stopped momentarily, Seagate charged off into the night, never to be seen again.

SeagateTheir time (still nearly 18hrs) over this challenging stage was a lot quicker than any of their rivals and perhaps most importantly, allowed them to complete the tricky navigation of the following stage (Stage 5) in the daylight. On the mountain bikes they managed to put a further 4hrs of time between them and the next best team, testament to their navigation skills, route finding ability and strength on a tough ride. After that, they identified the long mountain trek of Stage 6 as their main obstacle to winning due to the myriad of route choices. They took an aggressive line through Slate Basin (an area which thwarted other teams who attempted it in darkness) towards CP19 and once at the Transition Area, felt that victory was in their grasp.

Seagate completed the remaining sections with their trademark fluency and surfed into Queenstown beach just after 9pm on Thursday evening – just a shade under 87hrs after starting GODZone (some 3 days and 15hrs later) – to a large crowd of well wishers who had been glued to their progress on the Live Coverage website. Nathan, team captain, was quick to point out the challenging terrain and technical difficulty of the course to the watching media but was glad that the race had combined a balance of testing conditions and beautiful scenery.

Second and third place were taken by teams One Square Meal and R&R Sport respectively. Both these teams had a wealth of experience from previous expedition races and understood the importance of good navigation, route choice and pacing yourself over a course as difficult as the one posed.

BivouacGODZone is keen to promote emerging youth teams and Chapter 1 saw an intriguing battle develop between teams Mazda and Bivouac Colts. After a difficult start, which included three capsizes in Milford Sound, Mazda pulled themselves level with Bivouac by Stage 6. Once again, route choice was a big factor in the success of a team and Bivouac, opting for the better line into CP19, were able to pull away and cement themselves as winners of the first Macpac Colts Prize. There were a number of highly impressive, young, competitors in Chapter 1 and we have a sneaky suspicion that they could be a force to be reckoned with on the international stage in the coming years.

Overall, ten teams completed the Full Course in the five and a half days allowed. Only the first 4 teams made it over the complete Earnslaw Alpine Stage due to 90km/h winds on the summit forcing the route to be closed by the Safety Officer. Another seven teams completed the Intermediate Course and a further five completed the Short Course. The remaining teams either received assistance in some form or retired from the event.


The Top Five

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4
1. Seagate New Zealand Nathan Fa’avae New Zealand Sophie Hart New Zealand Chris Forne New Zealand Trevor Voyce
2. Team One Square Meal Denmark Sia Svendsen New Zealand Ian Edmond New Zealand Stuart Lynch New Zealand Ross Rotherham
3. R&R Sport New Zealand Jess Simson New Zealand Mat Woods New Zealand Hadyn Key New Zealand Bas Smith
4. TeamBlackheart.com Australian Rob Preston Australian Kathryn Preston Australian Josh Street Australian Glen Currie
5. Swordfox  New Zealand Nick Ross New Zealand Shane Armstrong New Zealand Joanna Turnbull New Zealand Angus Jennings