There is still a lot to play for
Tuesday 28th February 2017
The first two teams Tiki Tour (14) and Yealands Family Wines (31) have touched down at Frankton Beach and the celebrations of completing Chapter 6 of GODZone have begun.
But the hard work is far from over for the rest of the competitors.
Race Director Warren Bates said there is still a lot to play for, and there will be three critical events over the next 24 hours.
Firstly, the battle between the two leading Pursuit teams, Virbac Animal Health, (74) and Best Foot Forward, (83).
The gap has certainly closed between them over the course of the Stage 9 33km alpine trek ‘Eyre Mountains.’
Virbac Animal Health had a 20 minute lead heading into to Stage 10, the 47km kayak on Lake Wakatipu, but the support crew was nervous seeing team member Adam Stanyer’s blown up knee as they reached TA9.
Bates said Bob McLachlan of Best Foot Forward (83) is a very strong paddler, likely to make up good ground on the leaders.
Secondly, amongst the teams down the bottom of the rankings, tonight’s cut off at TA7 at Glenorchy will be causing a headache.
They will have to be off the kayak at TA7 with enough time in hand to set up their bikes and be on their way into Stage 8 mountain bike ‘Via Greenstone,’ all before midnight.
“The feeling of emotion of missing that cut off will be massive,” said Warren.
He added that they only have to complete transition; in other words they can be five metres through TA7, then stop and rest.
“The stragglers might not make it, and that is big,” he said, adding some of them also endured the potential cut off during the rafting stage.
“It will be emotionally very hard for a lot of people. They have just worked their arse off for three and a half days. But that is GODZone.”
In the mid field there is a cluster of teams still gruelling their way over Mt Crichton.
Thirdly, amongst the Pure teams, the critical event happening at the moment that Bates touched on is the battle between third-placed Torpedo 7 (21) and fourth-placed The Sneaky Weasel Gang (34), with both teams being on the Stage 9 mountain bike ‘Via Greenstone.’
“There is a big navigation choice coming up, it will be interesting to see who comes out on top,” said Bates.