The Bull of Africa
500km non-stop expedition style multidiscipline adventure race
25 June - 2 July 2005, Richtersveld, Northern Cape. SOUTH AFRICA
MEDIA RELEASE, Tuesday, 28 June 2005
Merrell/Wigwam Adventure grabs The Bull by its horns
The past 24-hour period has been nail biting. Last night (Monday) we received word that Mazda Salomon had gained 2-hours to arrive at the bike-hike transition only 9-minutes behind Merrell/Wigwam Adventure (US/NZ). The teams left together, trekking through to checkpoint 24, an impressive 4-tier rope ascent.
At this stage Merrell was following Mazda and wanting to shake them, Mazda ran ahead turning purposefully onto the 'wrong' path. Shooting off to the side they hid. Merrell followed, running straight past Mazda, who watched with glee from the shadows. When the coast was clear they ran back the way they'd come and continued ahead to the 'correct' path. This was how they managed to gain 50-minutes.
From the top of the rope ascent they had to continue on foot via one other checkpoint to the beacon on top of Cornelskop, the highest point in the Richtersveld. There Merrell sat down to eat and rest, believing that Mazda had come and gone. Resolved to their 2nd place fate, Merrell were in no hurry to depart. Without warning Mazda appeared and the look of disappointment on their faces was evident. As our television crew reported, "They obviously thought that they were the first to reach the checkpoint and really didn't expect to see Merrell sitting down, eating lunch".
The teams then collaborated, discussing route options from the peak to the jeep track below. This is a mountainous environment - not mountains like the AlpsŠ smaller. But they are jagged, covered with sharp rocks and lined by steep ravines. And there are hundreds of them. The issue here was just how to get down to the jeep track; which gully to select. They agreed on a route that would take them directly down to the track - the shortest distance.
Merrell left first, descending carefully. Mazda remained behind and continued discussing options, possibly hoping to pinpoint a more cunning option.
Merrell got down first and not seeing Mazda Robyn Benincasa, Merrell's captain, made a bet with team-mate Neil Jones, offering him the proverbial carrot. She said that if they could make 30-minutes on Mazda by the time they reached the hike-bike transition at Eksteenfontein, a small town outside the Richtersveld National Park, she would give him $200. This explains the report we received from the helicopter, "Merrell are on the track about 15km from the transitionŠ and they're running hard".
Arriving at the transition they packed their bikes into boxes and waited out the remaining time of the 45-minute compulsory stop - expecting Mazda to arrive at any time. By the time they departed on the final 80km mountain bike stretch Mazda had not yet been spotted in the distance on the road.
Benincasa was happy to lose her bet with Jones. "This is $200 I'll gladly pay," she said to race director Hano Otto before they rode off.
For hours we have been eagerly anticipating Merrell's arrival, waiting to spot their headlamps on the South African side of the Orange River. And nowŠ they're here.
Soaked and pushing their bikes over the finish line Benincasa shouted jubilantly, "A raceŠ we've won a race".
Merrel/Wigwam Adventure has raced hard under pressure from chasing teams since they took the lead from Cyanosis Powerade after Day 1. It took them 101-hours to complete the course, covering nearly 600km. A battle well fought, a challenge well contested and a race well run. Well done.
* Please visit www.sleepmonsters.com
for the current leaderboard standings
Follow the race online! SleepMonsters is the official online host for the AR World Series events. They will be carrying daily reports and a regularly updated leaderboard.
Remember to check www.ar.co.za
, South Africa's Adventure Racing Website for information on the race and links to all relevant websites.
The Bull of Africa is organised by Hano and Sonja Otto, Directors of the Adventure Centre of Excellence. They started racing in 1999 and have competed in many multi-day events, including Eco Challenge Borneo (2000). Over the past few years Hano and Sonja have established themselves as South Africa's leading race directors, presenting over 11 events, from 6hr to multi-day races, annually.
AR WORLD SERIES
The Bull of Africa is part of the Adventure Racing World Series, an international circuit of premiere adventure races representing 10 countries. The series events are: New Balance Beast of the East (USA), Raid the North Extreme (Canada), EcoMotion Pro (Brazil), Appalachian Extreme (USA), Explore Sweden (Sweden), The Bull of Africa (South Africa), Terra Incognita (Croatia), Bergson Winter Challenge (Poland), Wilderness ARC (Scotland) and Southern Traverse (New Zealand). These AR World Series events are qualifiers for the Adventure Race World Championship. In November 2005 the Southern Traverse will host the Championship ...more
Event Name: The Bull of Africa
Date: 25 June - 2 July 2005
What is it: Multi-day, multi-discipline, non-stop adventure race
Prize Money: R100 000 in total. R50 000 to first team
Venue: Richtersveld, Northern Cape
Conditions: Semi-desert. Mild daytime temperatures (lower 20°C's). Freezing night-time lows
Time for winning team: Estimated at 4.5 days
Disciplines: Trekking & trail running, canyoneering, rope ascent & descent, mountain biking, swimming, white water rafting, paddling and navigation
Teams: 25 x 4-person mixed-gender teams
Support: This race is unassisted. Teams will not have assistance from support crews
Participant Nationalities: South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Finland, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, UK, USA
Please address any media enquiries to:
Lisa de Speville
Media Director: Bull of Africalisa@ar.co.za
Mobile: +27 82 936-2509
Logistics and relations manager
Southern Traverse Ltd
hosts of Adventure Racing World Championship 2005
PO Box 410, Queenstown,
tel: 64-3-441 8215
fax: 64-3-441 8216