Press Release: Southern Traverse Limited.
11th April 2008.
Teams in the 2008 Fairydown Southern Traverse set off from the centre of Hanmer at 9.00am this morning to undertake the challenging 199km course which will finish on Sunday.
The first 20km mountain biking section took competitors through a scenic route on the Molesworth Station road to Acheron where they began a tough 35km trek in the Maukuratawhai area.
The experienced Icebreaker R & R Sport team led the way in to the first transition at 10.08 just one minute ahead of the North Island Powered by Velvet team. The two are picked to have a high profile in the event in what is being billed as a North versus South challenge.
To add to the rivalry Sarah Fairmaid in the Icebreaker R & R Sport team and Sonya Clark who is in the Powered by Velvet team are sisters.
They joked at the start that it would be more than just sisterly rivalry with the family honour at stake!
The field includes a number of experienced athletes and well known names in adventure racing circles. But this year too, a young up and coming under 23 team is competing from the Dunedin/Queenstown area, and has high hopes of achieving a good result.
One2onemultisport.co.nz is represented by Mike Walker and Dougal Allan, Mattie Graham and Emmah Ussher who have had excellent results in a number of events including the Coast to Coast and the Goldrush.
A North Island under 23 team was forced to withdraw at the eleventh hour which was disappointing for the South Island team who looked forward to the age group challenge.
This year's Southern Traverse returns to the classic three day format with a twist.
Competitors will finish at 9.00pm tonight at Clarence Valley Road transition area and the race will restart three hours later at midnight at Windy Point.
During the 35km trek to the transition area the teams will need to pass 14 checkpoints and those that miss any will be penalised an hour for each missed CP.
Similarly teams who reach Clarence Valley Road after 9.00pm will also be penalised.
"So don't be late," warned race director Geoff Hunt during the competitor briefing. "You still have to make your way to the second race day start at midnight."
Icebreaker R & R Sport's Haydn Key who first competed in a Southern Traverse in 1995 and has been a regular participant ever since likes the format.
"I think this will be a very tactical race and because we know we are all going to get some sleep tonight we will probably go out a lot harder."
He says the Hanmer region was the drawcard for his team "to get out and have a lot of fun together as friends."
Hunt estimates the 35km trek, followed by a six kilometre mountain bike section, finishing at Clarence Valley Road will take between 6 -10 hours and once teams arrive at the transition area they will be picked up by their support crews and delivered to the start of the next mountain trek stage at midnight.