Expedition Africa officially kicked off this morning, 52 teams venturing along the coastline from the shores of Doringbaai onto Transition Area 1, found at the mouth of the Olifants River. The 19km trekking leg proved to be an interesting start, featuring 14 check points for teams to collect, which kept the athletes hugging this pristine coastline. Many teams were fast off the block, racing to get ahead of the majority, whilst others planned to conserve energy on the first leg, considering the lengthy legs up ahead.
Jabberwock (RSA) managed to reach TA 1 first, closely followed by Omjakon of Finland and South African rookie team; Keyhealth Nevarest. The 50km paddle proved to be the true game changer for Day 1 of Expedition Africa, with a game of cat and mouse between South African teams Merrell Mentored and Best 4 Sports as they overtook the above mentioned leading teams.
Currently leading the pack, team Best 4 Sports reached Transition Area 2, completing the 50km paddle in 07h32. The team, considering their strengths, apparently expected to have a great paddles. They also suspected another team was following close behind, however were unsure how far behind them they truly were. According to race photographer; Bruce Viaene, although the Best 4 Sports planned to do well on the paddle leg, their strategy is to race slow and steady in order to limit any mistakes, especially considering the night navigation ahead.
Following this lengthily paddle leg is the gruelling 198km cycle leg. Although this leg may seem easy for those dot watching, the terrain does not feature very prominent landmarks which will make for a difficult navigation throughout the 560km race.
Graham Bird of Merrell Mentored, currently in third place and Darren Berry of King Price, currently in fourth place are both known well for their navigational skills, making these two teams the ones to watch out for during leg 3’s mighty challenge.
Sponsors and volunteers have ensured a festive and vibrant atmosphere welcomes teams as they complete their paddle leg. Warm fires, rooster brood, snoek and wine are available for teams to enjoy, whilst their navigators plot and plan their route to TA 3 on a new set of maps.
All 52 participating teams obtain a SPOT Gen3 satellite tracking system, which features satellite tracking, an SOS button and emergency messaging which in turn enhances each team’s safety and makes the dot-watching element of adventure racing more efficient and reliable.
Follow the live tracking contingent www.expafrica.live, and observe the added features of social media updates, daily video’s and press releases providing convenience for supporters of Expedition Africa – Namaqua West Coast.