Race Report: Red Ants Rumble – A Race Directors perspective

Wow, what a weekend that was! The Red Ants Rumble Adventure Race came and went in what felt like the blink of eye, but in that time, memories were made to last a lifetime!

When a massive storm system dumped 50ml of rain at van Gaalen in less than an hour on Friday afternoon, I knew we were in for an old classic – come rain, shine or mud… Racers arrived to rivers down driveways and a somewhat soaked camp site… The show however, must go on.

Saturday dawned overcast, but calm and dry, still very wet underfoot. The 6am start was frenetic, with teams running all over van Gaalen farm collecting checkpoints and playing on a few obstacles along the way. All teams were safely off the obstacles, maps plotted and out on the bikes when the havens opened again…. And boy did the rain! With my heart in my throat, and mist engulfing the Magaliesberg range, I thought Murphy was out to foil our plans. Mud ensued, lots of it, and seconding vehicles slip-sliding on the roads to Transition 2 were a common sight.

With the rain subsiding and the clouds lifting at about 9am, spirits certainly lifted too. Lovely mild temperatures, high cloud and hardly a breath of wind kept racers cheerful and moving well for the rest of the day.

The 26km hike across the Magaliesberg was the highlight of the race, and although some broken bodies stumbled into Transition 3, there were smiles all round! An “Old School” race just won’t be the same without an added twist. This twist came in the form a 2km boat portage to the Hartbeespoort Dam shoreline. In true good spirited AR nature, everyone took on the challenge with a great positive attitude!

Hyacinth on Hartbeespoort Dam can be a game-changer, and a game-breaker if the wind plays up… Murphy was thankfully on our side this time, ensuring the Hyacinth was well out of the way of the put-in and take-out, and any floating mass on the main dam was easy to paddle around.

Teams raced into the night, with their seconds keeping them well hydrated and fed at all transitions. For me personally, it was great to see friends and family really getting involved as support crews for all the teams. It brought back memories of bygone AR years, and brought real vibe and excitement to the race. Just what I hoped it would!

I have lived in the shadow of the Magaliesberg for 8 years, and have dreamt this day might come when others experience a true Adventure Race in my backyard. Of the 16 teams who started, 14 crossed the line (with a few short courses here and there!), but this showed the true grit and determination to complete the race! The last team was out on route for almost 24 hours. Well done to everyone who took part, it was great to see how Adventure puts a smile on everyone’s face, even behind the caked mud! It makes all the organising so worth it. To the seconds and support crews, thank you for putting up with the smelly, muddy and sometimes grumpy racers, and I hope this race gave you all a new perspective and respect for Adventure Racing.

Our venue, Van Gaalen Cheese Farm, and Victor SchipperErik Schipperand Annelies van Gaalen, thank you for everything! This was the perfect venue to host an Adventure like this! To our event sponsors, Mutual Safe & Security GroupZwakala BreweryCryo RecoveryMy PVMBike And Trail Adventure Medics – PTY LTD and Squirrel’s Nut Butter SA a massive thanks to you all for making the event possible and for the awesome prizes and goodies you provided. To the many landowners on whose farms we played, thank you, we could not have done this without you and your hospitality!

Lastly, to my team mates, Nicky BooyensSteve WillsonJeandre TheunissenDavid Barkhuisen and Tiaan Fullard, as well as all the other marshals, Gerrard Booyens, Garry TownsendJen TownsendShelly PlumbNathan HuntShane AndersonStijn Laenen and Johan Raath thank you from the bottom of my heart. This race can’t happen without dedicated people like you, and you all showed up in a big way on race day. We pulled it off because of all of you. Proud to call you friends and team mates.

Until the next Rumble, keep on Adventuring.
Brian Gardner

 

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