Several prominent names familiar on the XTERRA series and within off-road multisport participated in last weekends Red Bull Defiance in New Zealand.
Braden Currie was again on the winning men’s elite team while Jacqui Allen was part of the winning women’s elite team.
Find the report form Red Bull below.
Blistering heat can’t defeat multi-sport’s toughest at Defiance ’18
After two days and 150+km in searing temperatures and strong summer winds, over 80 teams broke the back and crossed the line of one of the world’s toughest adventure races.
In sweltering weather that could not be more different to last year’s arctic blast, Braden Currie and his team mate Dougal Allan displayed their world-class credentials, winning the two-day Red Bull Defiance Elite category in 12hours:14mins:48secs today.
It was their 16th race together and their experience shone through over the gruelling Wanaka-based race, as they beat home Hamish Fleming and Bobby Dean by more than 50mins.
Braden describes the event, which involves mountain biking, running, kayaking and a 100m abseil, as “a lot of fun.”
“Perfect conditions. I don’t think you could get a better day in Wanaka for it. It wasn’t really until about the last 6km that it really got hot. We just enjoyed it.”
“We were in a really good rhythm, both of us were in good form. We didn’t have to really hurt ourselves,” Braden says.
The day dawned clear as the 85 teams jumped in their kayaks on the Wanaka foreshore and set off on the 20km paddle to Oxbow. The pace was fast and furious as the strong kayaking combos battled to gain a buffer on their rivals before they hit the brutal 28km, 1200m of elevation ride that took them up through Criffel Station to the Pisa Range.
The mercury was already beginning to rise as the teams began the leg-burning climb and as they sweated their way to the top and hooned down to the final transition in the Cardrona Valley, it was already nearing a searing 30degC.
It’s been a few years since Dougal raced off-road, having focused on Ironman racing recently and he had forgotten how hard it is. Red Bull Defiance rated right up there in comparison to the races he competes in around the world.
“It’s as good as it gets for this format of racing. The two-person team thing makes for quite a cool racing dynamic. It’s pretty hard to fault. It would definitely be one of the best races I’ve done in the world,” Dougal says.
“You have got to push pretty hard but you are always rewarded for that work. Along the tops it was just spectacular,” he adds, referencing the 30km final run stage, which takes in Wanaka’s spectacular skyline traverse.
For second-placed team Hamish and Bobby, it was a case of team work getting them through – “no egos between us, we just got it done,” Bobby says.
Hot on their heels were the German super-couple Simone Maier and Marcel Hagener, who won their incredible, fourth consecutive mixed elite Red Bull Defiance title.
The heat and the steep course caused some athletes to cramp up and Simone says they had a few problems with the painful affliction. These two are known to help each other out by swapping around who is on a tow rope but Marcel says today it was “all the way Simone.”
“Yeah it can be hard at times, aye honeybun. Can you please wait for me?” Marcel laughs.
Making his Red Bull Defiance debut and demolishing his “rookie Richie” multisport competitor status, Richie McCaw stormed home in 14.5 hours, winning the Sport category with experienced team mate Bob McLachlan.
Bob was full of praise for the former All Black captain, who had slimmed down from his rugby weight and packed in hours of endurance training to get ready to race this weekend.
“Every stage today we felt like we were up there with the elite guys. Huge credit to Richie as a huge amount of work goes into changing yourself to get to that level and push through,” Bob says.