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Chapter 4 – Wanaka

On the southern end of Lake Wanaka, situated in a dramatic glacial carved basin, is the stunning resort town of Wanaka. The World’s First Protected Lifestyle Reserve, it’s a spectacular natural playground and if you are into the outdoors, there is no better place to visit or to host a Chapter of GODZONE.

With the course options available, history and community love of sport, it was always going to be a popular Chapter and this was reflected in the fact that the event sold out 48hrs after entries opened. Chapter 4 was very much about a return to the big mountains, with teams exposed to the elements at high altitudes for long periods of time. This coupled with some challenging weather conditions conspired to make this possibly the hardest GODZONE to date. World number 1 ranked team, Columbia Vidaraid, stated that the Chapter was much harder than any World Championships they had done.


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The Teams

Fifty five teams entered Chapter 4 that kicked off at the foot of the Fantail Falls below Mt Brewster. In total, 14 countries were represented -Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand , South Africa, Spain, United Kingdom & the USA - showing the appeal of New Zealand’s South Island as the World’s leading adventure racing location. There was a particularly strong showing from New Zealand teams who were well aware of how quick entries would sell out. Every level of experience was represented with the two best teams in the World, Seagate & Columbia Vidaraid, going head to head in battle once again, along side a number of teams who had not competed in an expedition length race before. The consensus was that this was once again an incredibly strong line up of teams with many of the younger generation keen to make their mark on GODZONE.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. Seagate Nathan Fa'avae Sophie Hart Chris Forne Stu Lynch Full Course
2. Columbia Vidaraid Barbara Bomfim Urtzi Iglesias Jon Ander Arambalza Marco Amselem Full Course
3. Backcountry Dan Abel Sarah Bryant Bryan Cowger Rob Nesbitt Retired
4. Cure Kids Ben Meyer Sia Svendsen Ian Jones Rob Nicol Short 1
5. Bivouac Inov-8 Ryan Thompson Becs Law JJ Wilson Dayne McKnight Full Course
6. Sheepgate Grant Pepper Helke Melville Janet Musker Tim Sikma Short 1
7. Epic Endurance Kelly Boyd Nicki Rehn Claire Perks Dave Viitakangas Retired
8. Action Sunday Aaron Agnew Jacqui Gee Nathan Jones Amy Horn Short 1
9. Sheep Eaters Robin Simpson Shelly Hufner Joel Tate Andre Morkel Short 1
10. Kauri Coasters Barry Ruddell Graeme Ewenson Anyika Thomsen Allan Kirkpatrick Full Course
11. Earth Sea Sky Tom Bowen Nicole Ranger Chris Booth Toby Johnston Retired
12. Heartland RICOH Ian Walsh Mike Robins Huw John Jo Turnbull Full Course
13. Tiki Tour Tom Lucas Floortje Grimmett George Lucas Mike Kelly Full Course
14. DAR Dingle Chris Caulfield Brian Keogh Noel OLeary Caroline Bullard Short 1
15. Real Discovery Daisuke Minami Goshi Ozawa Fung Ka Fai Takako Takahashi Unranked
16. Search4Hurt Ian Huntsman Wendy Riach Geoff Dillon Andrea Peebles Short 1
17. Swordfox Nick Ross Brent Edwards Fleur Pawsey Ashley Whitehead Retired
18. You can cry but keep moving Sakkie Meyer Dene Gavin Benjamin McDowall Sarah Cairns Short 1
19. University of Auckland Edward Lawley Tom Reynolds Matt Jeans Mirjam van den Boom Full Course
20. Pat Farry Trust Rachel Lynskey Jeremy Webber Garry Nixon Adele Pheasant Short 1
21. Torpedo 7 Richard Anderson Bob McLachlan Simon Bowden Joanne Williams Unranked
22. Fit for Life John Henson Karen Muller Ruth Tramsheck Sharon Brophy Retired
23. BNZ Rhys Burns Lisa Bates Glen Currie Daniel Jones Full Course
24. New World St Martins Sam Manson Flavio Vianna Pete Smallfield Ailsa Rollinson Retired
25. GB Lakesmultisport.com Anthony Emmet Alex Pilkington Joanne Thom Seamus Miekle Full Course
26. Balance Sports Nutrition Louise Mark Cam Carter Bart Muylle Jerome Sheppard Full Course
27. Next Generation Tim Farrant Emily Wilson Elisha Nuttall Hamish Fleming Full Course
28. Southern (Dis)Comfort Glenn Hedges Georgia Whitla Angus Petrie Tony McGuire Short 1
29. One Square Meal Sarah Fairmaid Dwarne Farley Ross Rotherham Gordon Blythen Full Course
30. NCX Simon Woods Stephen John Theodore Wordsworth Jenni Blyleven Short 1
31. Absolute Wilderness NZ Dan Moore Dan Busch Jeremy McKenzie Lara Prince Retired
32. Super Subs Mike Rait Camilla Gry Elmann Ayako Nakazawa Deklan Hodsell Retired
33. Bracken Richard Fogarty Tracey Bransgrove Joe Morrison Dan Thomas Unranked
34. Bear Hunt Charlotte Petersen Michael McCluskey Mark Van Der Ploeg Max Collet Short 1
35. Chimpanzee Bar Milan Brodina Emily Forne Greig Hamilton Rob Creasy Full Course
36. Stromlonauts Kim Gilfillan Clare Lonergan Kieran McDonald James Kidd Short 1
37. More Pros Than Cons Simon Trotter Anna Barrett Rhys John David Ayre Short 1
38. Breen Homes Keith Murray Andrea Murray Charlie Murray Craig Murray Full Course
39. Hill Billys Geoff Spark Paul Spark Seonaigh Conchie Scott Henry Short 1
40. G Wizz Destry Harte Gareth Owen Daralyn Gee Richard Spelman Unranked
41. BMAC Cycle World Mel Crook Nolan Hill Nick Williamson Peta Cunningham Unranked
42. Freedom Fitness & Coaching Richard Dove Rosie Shakespeare Tony Watson Simon Lewis Unranked
43. Dynamite Adventure Racing Paul Gruber Angus Rodwell Karina Vitiritti Bruce Shaw Retired
44. Village Cycles Robyn Dunmore Gerard Malcolm Ed Steenbergen Kim Hogarth Short 1
45. One Direction Richard McIntosh Denis Woods Richard Shields Fiona Reid Unranked
46. Osprey Packs Hilary Totty Tane Cambridge Mitch Munro Dave Slater Unranked
47. SAS (Still Accepting Sponsors) Alastair McDowell Ben Gibson Isla Smith Angus Watson Unranked
48. Assagai Morne Pienaar Jimmie Fourie Andie Lowry Eddie Schuurman Short 1
49. Kori Kita Racing Steve Lock Lea Vellenoweth Hedley Meacheam Dean Sisson Short 1
50. Deliver us from evil Nick Lowe Dave Rudge Sarah Kenedy Glen Warner Unranked
51. Haast Eagles Kris Mayen David Cowie Katharine Eustace Dan Cullen Short 1
52. Team Vistalite Central Darren Clay Don Reid Mike Plimmer Amie Manning Retired
There was no Pursuit race this year.

The Route

The route covered a total distance of 554km with approximately: 125km of trekking, 279km of biking, 56km of canoeing, 80km of kayaking, 7km of orienteering and 7km of coasteering. There is no doubt that this was a tough course. When you factor in the weather, the intensity of the terrain and competition, you can make a strong case for saying that Chapter 4 was the hardest GODZONE to date. The route started with technical challenges in the form of high mountains and cold weather. The middle part of the race was defined by big mountain stages on foot and bike with many teams being caught on their bikes at 2000m in gale force winds and very low temperatures.

Teams had to swim and coasteer in the cold waters of Lake Wanaka. They also had to take on a highly tricky stage of orienteering in the native bush of the Waikaia Forest. There were four paddling stages in total (2 canoeing and 2 kayaking) but with no dark zones teams were open to pit themselves against the water challenges at night as well as day, including the coasteering. The final trekking stage gave plenty of route choice over the stunning terrain of the Hector and Garvie Mountains - perhaps the most beautiful landscape GODZONE has visited. The final part of the route included a long bike over the Old Woman Range, culminating in a long paddle around Lake Wanaka.


Seagate were always going to be the team to beat but the big question was how would the World Number 1 ranked team, Columbia Vidaraid, do against the super strong Kiwi contingent of teams. It’s fair to say that most Kiwi teams will have a newfound respect for the Brazillian/Spanish outfit as they performed amazingly well to take a fairly convincing second place. By their own admission they learnt a lot about the way GODZONE works and would no doubt be a formidable opponent if they returned.

Third place were taken by Queenstown team, Tiki Tour, who profited from a major navigational blunder by the Torpedo 7 team near the end of the race. They raced smartly and made few mistakes which gave them a well-earned place on the podium. Notable mentions must go to Bivouac Inov-8 and Chimpanzee Bar who finished 4th and 5th. They were separated by a mere 7 minutes at the finish and changed positions on the final paddle in very testing conditions. Next Generation won the Colt Trophy again. They were well deserved winners and finished 6th overall - a fantastic achievement given the quality of the field.

The 2015 edition of GODZONE, Chapter 4 - Wanaka, was won by team Seagate, which comprised Stu Lynch, Chris Forne, Nathan Fa’avae, and Sophie Hart who once again put in another inspiring and devastating performance. That makes it a fairly convincing four wins out of four and their winning margin was a staggering 19hrs. No other team was close to them and they had developed a clear lead by the end of Stage 1.

It would be fair to say that the Seagate winning margin largely reflect the difficulty of the course and nature of the terrain. In summary, the harder the race, the bigger the margin they win by. They tend to thrive when the going gets tough, the mountains get big and the navigation is hard.

Team Name Team Captain Team Member 2 Team Member 3 Team Member 4 Final Results
1. Seagate Nathan Fa’avae Sophie Hart Chris Forne Stu Lynch 4Days 08Hrs 28Mins
2. Columbia Vidaraid Barbara Bomfim Urtzi Iglesias Jon Ander Arambalza Marco Amselem 5Days 03Hrs 57Mins
3. Tiki Tour Tom Lucas Floortje Grimmett George Lucas Mike Kelly 5Days 07Hrs 52Mins
4. Bivouac Inov-8 Ryan Thompson Becs Law JJ Wilson Dayne McKnight 5Days 12Hrs 01Mins
5. Chimpanzee Bar Milan Brodina Emily Forne Greig Hamilton Rob Creasy 5Days 12Hrs 08Mins

There was no Pursuit race this year.