Vasbyt 24HR – “A race big enough to scare you again”

Vasbyt 24HR – “A race big enough to scare you again”

The Vasbyt 24HR Adventure Race is due to start in a little over 24 hours in the magnificent Knysna Region – a perfect playground for adventure.

We caught up with Graham Bird, Vasbyt 24HR Race Director and A1 Adventure Series South Africa Ambassador about the upcoming race hosted by Merrell Adventure Racing Team.

CG –  With the inaugural race in the A1 Adventure Series South Africa about to kick off with the Vasbyt 24hr – how have your preparations for the event been going?

GB –  It has been fun getting out and exploring a few new spots in the area that I’ve not been to. Hanno Smit joined me on the route planning, so been good to have some help out there and ensure we put a route together that can test the teams a bit.

CG – The A1 Adventure Series in Australia and New Zealand has been very successful. How do you see the A1 Series in South Africa benefiting adventure racing locally?

GB –  The intention behind the introduction of the series here is to offer the existing AR community more events on the calendar. With different organisers we hope to get teams used to varied conditions, navigation and ideas that each will bring to their unique event. This we hope will improve the standard of AR locally as we get the SA’s top teams racing against one another. For those new to the sport it provides the opportunity to learn and gain experience from racing alongside SA’s elite racers.

CG – The A1 Adventure Series South Africa has attracted local sponsors KeyHealth Medical Scheme. What prize money and opportunities are up for grabs for the Top Teams?

GB –  The support from Keyhealth has been fantastic in supporting the local A1 series organisers. On offer – R8,000 for the winning team at each event and R4000 and R2000 for 2nd and 3rd respectively. This offers the incentive for the teams to travel to the various races as they work towards accumulating points for the overall series. The “Premier Mixed” category team that completes the series with the most points from their best 3 of 5 races, will be crowned the South African Adventure Racing Champions, winning a free entry to represent South Africa at the world’s biggest race, GODZone Adventure, in New Zealand.

CG – The stunning forests and coastal areas around Knysna are an Adventurer Racer’s dream. What can the Teams expect from the course? Any ‘little surprises’?

GB –  I wouldn’t say any surprises. Hanno and myself have tried so set a course that will test the racers and give them some options and not just take the “obvious” routes.  We also hope that not having revealed the “start venue” or immediate area of the race yet, that we can at least keep course a surprise and stop all the “pre race googling and info gathering” that seems to have become norm in the modern day adventure race.

CG – What do you expect to be the biggest challenges for the Teams in this race?

GBProbably the unexpected colder temperatures at night.

CG – Your prediction of a winning time on this course?

GB – 21-22 hours

We wish the Merrell Adventure Racing Team all the best for the start of this series and looking forward to all the action out on the exciting and challenging course.

The Vasbyt 24HR Adventure Race is part of the A1 Adventure Series South Africa and takes place from the 21st – 22nd April 2018.

Follow all the action LIVE at race start.

Craig Giese is an Adventure Photographer and Media Content developer from the Eastern Cape

Photo from Lize-Mari Broderick

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