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Leading teams use sleep strategy to get ahead

Sunday 26th February 2017

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There was method behind yesterday’s fast-paced madness as the front running teams raced to TA2, around 6 hours ahead of the expected times.

Defending champions team Yealands Family Wines (31) have constantly elbowed Wanaka’s team Tiki Tour (13) for first position over the last 24 hours of racing. Nelson’s team Swordfox (17) and Torpedo 7 (21) are holding third and fourth position, and are expected to maintain their placings.

“There was a clear strategy by the leading teams.” says Race Director Warren Bates, “They went super fast over the 25km Bullendale trek in as much light as possible, arriving at TA3 with plenty of time to get some sleep before the dark zone on the river was lifted at 6.45am.”

The first two teams, Yealands and Tiki Tour, arrived at TA3 at midnight, punching in a solid 4 hours sleep. As more teams slowly arrived throughout the night, some chose to rest at the TA, others decided to kip right by the rafts, ready to jump into the river at first light.

“It’s unusual for the leading teams to get any sleep on the first day. What we’re really interested is if the leading teams will now try to sleep again, they potentially have only two nights left and might push through.” Warren adds.

Sunday morning has seen the pace pick up again by those teams hot on the leaders’ heels, but many competitors have complained of sore feet and stomach problems at TA2. Sore feet will be a major issue on this course, as competitors’ have tackled a range of terrain, from cold gorge water to hard track.

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