ADAC 2009: Kiwis capture top two spots

As the race hits its mid point, early front runners Desert Islands (NZ) see their race lead reduced with the power paddlers vying for supremacy over the second 82 km sea-kayaking section.

Mountainbike.  Copyright: Sascha Jurek / Funsporting.comThe 3rd day of the Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge started early this morning as the teams awoke from a well-earned slumber on the Island of Umm al Kurkum. The moon was still bright in the sky as, over a period of half an hour, the teams embarked in the same order they finished the night before.

In total contrast to the stiff breeze that had made the initial sea-kayaking section the day before so demanding, the air was relatively still and the sea had lost most of its ire. Before them lay the prospect of a further 82km on the sea to the seaside resort of Mirfa on a section that some saw as an opportunity to consolidate their advantage while others, especially those with strong arms, hoped to make their presence felt in the overall ranking.

Originally slated as a nine-hour section, the 8 hours and change taken by the leading pack of boats is a clear indication of the intensity of competition among the teams forcing the pace of this 6-day race. First into Mirfa were TEAM NZ (NZ) after spending just under 8h3’ on the water, a result that wouldn’t surprise anyone after seeing the force this team put into each stroke on the leg out of Sir Bani Yas Island. This result brings them within 2 minutes of Desert Islands (NZ) who remain at the head of the race despite only taking 4th place on this section.

Just less than 3 minutes behind the fastest came Adco Aroc (AUS), having had the kayaking tables turned on them by the team they pushed into 3rd place yesterday. But they won’t be too disappointed as they now move into the third podium position. The biggest gain of the section was had by French team Wilsa HH who hit the jackpot with their 3rd fastest time over the section enabling them to leapfrog from 6th to 4th in the overall ranking. The other French team in contention for the podium, Sport 2000 Vibram Outdry, could only manage 7th on this section, after a splendid effort yesterday rewarded them with top honours, and they slipped back in the overall ranking to 5th place.

Further back but still among the leading lights of the AR world, Nike (USA) drew on all their experience and tenacity to squeeze themselves into 10th but it may be asking too much of even this legendary world-beating formation to claw their way back into the top 3. With three days to go and only 19 minutes separating the first 5 teams, there is still everything to race for as, over the next 2 days, the world’s most talented adventure racing teams prepare to take on 107km of the world’s most inhospitable desert.

Provisional Top 5 after Section D – Sea Kayaking 82km:
1 DESERT ISLANDS (NZ) 15h11:24
2 TEAM NZ (NZ) 15h13:37
3 ADCO AROC (AUS) 15h23:46
5 SPORT 2000 LAFUMA OUTDRY (FRA) 15h30:08

Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge.  Copyright: Sascha Jurek / Funsporting
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Abu Dhabi Adventure Challenge 2009.  Copyright: Sascha Jurek,

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Kayaking.  Copyright: Sascha Jurek /

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