RED BULL DEFIANCE BRINGS A NEW BREED OF MULTISPORT RACING TO NEW ZEALAND. NEW 2016 CHAMPIONS FROM WHAKATANE AND TASMANIA TAKE HOME $10,000.
(Check out the scoop from Day One here).
Team Defliers of Daniel Jones from Whakatane and Tasmanian Alex Hunt backed up their storming performance yesterday with another outstanding effort to take the Men’s Elite/Overall First Place title and $10,000 in prize money, as the 143km two-day race Red Bull Defiance concluded today in epic style.
The gruelling multisport event saw an international field of 100 multisport athletes defy the odds, battling a total elevation of 5238m on Wanaka’s rugged landscape in addition to challenging weather conditions over seven punishing stages of running, kayaking, mountain biking, abseiling and clay-bird shooting.
With a combined time of 11:50:02, Jones and Hunt increased their day one lead to finish more than 49 minutes ahead of second Men’s Elite finishers Sam Manson and Hamish Fleming of Team Around the Basin/Torpedo7. The winning Men’s Elite pair said Red Bull Defiance was the culmination of a busy period of international racing that had taken them in different teams to Brazil, Hawaii and China.
“This is definitely my favourite place to come and race,” said Hunt. “Wanaka certainly put on a show. That last run was just about keeping it steady. For me the last 4-5km up towards the top of Roy’s Peak was all about survival. We got the job done!”
Finishing in-between the first two Men’s Elite was the winning Mixed Elite combination of Team Racers Edge – German-born Wanaka local Simone Maier and Ohakune resident Marcel Hagner (12:28:06), also taking home $10,000 cash. Second position overall was all the more amazing given they were lying in last place after the very first minute of the race when Hagner suffered a tyre puncture. Maier said she was proud to have such an amazing event in her own backyard.
“People have to come and experience it because it’s so hard to describe,” says Maier. “It’s so amazing to race at home – it gives you another boost. We gave it everything we could.”
The Elite Women’s title and prize was won by experienced multisport athletes Joanna Williams and Sia
Svendsen (15:45:58) who pushed home with plenty of local support.
“The downhill on the run was brutal because it got so hot but someone wrote our names in gravel coming
down which was just awesome, so thank you Wanaka people!” said Svendsen.
After yesterday’s strong wind, early conditions on day two were much calmer with early drizzle keeping competitors cool for stage one – a 20km kayak up Lake Wanaka and down the fast-flowing Clutha River. An uphill sprint then took them to Red Bull Defiance’s unique clay-bird shoot special section where any team missing all their targets took a two-minute penalty.
The top five teams remained constant with some close riding on the challenging 28km/1278m elevation mountain bike up along the Pisa Range and down into the Cardrona Valley. Competitors could then eyeball each other on the switchbacks that began the gruelling final stage – a massive 27km/1848m elevation single-track run up Spots Creek to Mt Alpha and Roy’s Peak before a jarring descent and lakeside trail to the finish line in Wanaka township.
Course designer Braden Currie won the inaugural Red Bull Defiance in 2014 with fellow Wanaka mulitsporter Dougal Allan. On course to motivate fellow athletes this year, he said consistency was the key to winning such a long race.
“The challenge is set pretty high and you have to look after yourself to make sure you can complete the race. Weather conditions were difficult this year which took the event to a whole new level, but it’s a fantastic course in any conditions,” he said. “The future’s looking great for the event.”
Former All Black Captain and New Zealand rugby legend Richie McCaw successfully completed the technically challenging 43km mountain bike stage on day one as part of his preparation for GodZone in April. Red Bull Defiance Race Director Aaron Carter summed up this year’s race by saying the challenge is now out there for others to face.
“We had some amazing champions today but anyone who does this event is a complete champion,” says Carter. “I would love to see hundreds of people crossing this finish line. It takes commitment and serious training but you look at the terrain around here and you just want to engage as many people as possible. It doesn’t get much more stunning than this!” he said.
Visit redbull.co.nz/defiance for more information, and see action clips at the end of each day on Facebook.com/rbdefiance. To view all race times visit: http://bit.ly/1nFotuw. #DEFIANCE.
Elite Men’s | Team Defliers | Daniel Jones and Alex Hunt | 11:50:02.
Elite Mixed | Racers Edge | Simone Maier and Marcel Hagner | 12:28:06.
Elite Women’s | Outside Sports/PAK’nSAVE | Sia Svendsen and Joanna Williams | 15:45:58.