The final stages of EcoMotion Pro 2013, round five of this year’s AR World Series, had everything you could want from an adventure race finish. The team who had lead all the way were being tracked down by the race favourites, there were critical route choices to make and teams braved the ocean waves to reach the finish, set at a luxury beach resort on the coast of Brazil … you couldn’t ask for more.
Columbia Vidaraid (Spain/Brazil) led and were chased by the world’s No.1 team, Seagate of New Zealand, and the top Brazilian team BMS (including Nick Gracie from the UK as a late replacement). By the end of the 600km race only these 3 teams, using all of their experience and endurance had managed to remain on the full course. (And even that was shortened.)
Intense heat and humidity, heavy rain and deep mud, dense vegetation, and poor maps proved too tough on a creative and ambitious course. Everyone was lost at one time or another … Seagate more than they were used to as team captain Nathan Fa’avae took over the navigators role from the injured and absent Chris Forne. As a result of some costly errors Columbia Vidaraid quickly pulled ahead of them.
When the leaders arrived at the final mountain biking stage they could have ridden easily along the firm sand of the beach at low tide, but instead all of them made the wrong choice and waded through mud and mangrove swamps with their bikes! (It would have been race over if one of them had taken to the beach.)
At the end of the ride Seagate arrived only 90 minutes down on the leaders for the final paddling stage and faced another choice; to paddle on inland creeks or take to high waves of the ocean. They set off inland but all of the teams eventually took to the ocean and with Seagate being the stronger paddlers the Adventure Racing world was intently watching the Yellowbrick GPS trackers to see if they could pull off a dramatic win.
It has been some time since Seagate were beaten, but Columbia Vidaraid had the strength to stay ahead of them, aided by the clever use of fitted kayak sails to speed them to the finish. The finish was a bit messy when the surf tipped them out on the beach, but the delighted team of Marco Anselem, Jon Ander Arambalza, Urtzi Iglesias, and Barbara Bonfim didn’t care, they had won the race and beaten the World Champions! Now they will go into the AR World Champs in Costa Rica in December full of confidence.
Seagate finished just behind them, followed by Team BMS, and in the final outcome 24 of the 32 teams who started were ranked, all but the top 3 on a short course. These included teams from Sweden, Colombia, Uruguay, Canada, France and Costa Rica, who will all return home with memories of their encounters with the Brazilian people in the beautiful and demanding terrain of Bahia Brazil.
For the full results and some fantastic photos and video footage of the race see www.ecomotion.com.br
You can find out more about the AR World Series at www.arworldseries.com