Night Time Moves Into Day
Sunday 4th March 2018
Team Yealands Family Wines have showcased their navigational superiority overnight emerging this morning as clear leaders after a night of short sleeps and trekking under a heavy canopy in the Fiordland Bush.
Stage 3 is by far the longest there has ever been in a GODZone chapter and while this backcountry epic has created a multitude of route choices for most teams it appears Chris Forne has led his merry lady & men along a clear strategic path.
In clear first position, Yealands Family Wines are now trekking along the South Coast towards CP 21 having nailed CP 20 just before 3am and paddled Lake Hauroko during the night. Race director Adam Fairmaid says Yealands have pushed quite a lead on the rest of the top five teams. Swordfox are close behind them and were at CP 20 around 3am.
“There is a big distance now back to 3rd position and Team Bend Racing/Fear Society are the emerging story here with Tiki Tour hanging in there as well. Both are now paddling on Lake Innes.”
Last night there were quite a gaggle of teams gathered at CP19 including Torpedo 7, Tiki Tour, Avaya. Fairmaid says Nathan is showing his experience.
“It was interesting to watch Avaya stop and sleep for a couple of hours until daybreak then get up and head straight down to Lake Innes ahead of the pack. This early morning speed is to their advantage. On the chasing teams, the smart money move has been team Ataraxia who opted to go down the south coast and up the river making very quick time towards CP19. They are not far from there now with top A1 Australian team Thunderbolt just behind them.”
Team PwC and Bivouac Inov8 are travelling together and last night was heading straight to CP19 but then went slightly off the route they had chosen. “They are in a funny little saddle now and hopefully that’s enough to put them back on the right bearing and get back up there shortly,” says Fairmaid.”
The terrain from Lake Innes to Lake Hakapoua has slightly more defined ridges running east to west. He says the teams should be able to find a slightly clearer route.
” They are still under canopy but its higher, steeper country with high sided ridgelines – like a knife edge. That means the track is clearer and possibly harder underfoot. There will definitely be great views up at Lake Hakapoua today and the teams will enjoy words of encouragement from the great CP 20 crew Julie, Dave and Dan.
This is the longest stage by some margin at any GODZone, certainly in terms of expected time on the course. This is a back country epic that is broadly split 50/50 between paddling and trekking. The route choices, in places, are many and the navigators will have a field day, particularly at night. At times this will be very tough going and the bush will seem never ending and slow going. However, the rewards when teams get on to Wairaurahiri, Poiteriteri, Waitutu, Hakapoua will be immense. This is the crux of the race. Get through this in time, you can make it.