Josh Harris (centre) sprays winners Hamish Fleming (right) and William Sams at the finish of the adventure challenge at Memorial Park, in Mosgiel, on Saturday. Photo by Wayne Parsons.
University of Otago students William Sams and Hamish Fleming
showed admirable coping skills in winning the Dunedin City
Mazda Adventure Challenge on Saturday.
Fleming was competing a day after sitting his final
university exam in geology and geography, while Sams will sit
his final papers today in physical education.
Sams and Fleming completed the course in 10hr 13min, 1hr
27min clear of second-placed Team Ryan and Nathan (Ryan
Kiesanowski and Nathan Peterson), which held out a late surge
from third-placed Team Mainfreight (11hr 45min).
Sams and Fleming (Knowledge Institute) got an early break on
the field with some superb map-reading and navigational
They endured snow at the start, before the day heated up. But
then over the second half of the race, the weather turned it
on with rain, hail and wind chill.
"We were down to shorts and T-shirts for the middle section.
But then the jackets were back out again for the end,"
The Team Mainfreight duo of Dougal Allan and Jess Simpson
foxed everyone into a helter-skelter pace over the opening
stages involving mountain biking.
"The start was pretty frightening. It was pretty quick,
trying to keep up with Dougal," Sams said.
"Me and Hamish just wanted to stick to our race plan, which
was to do our own thing and not worry about the others."
Checkpoint three proved the undoing for many. Sams backed the
decision of Fleming to go to higher ground, while the choice
by all other teams to take the low road cost them valuable
With the rest of the field floundering around, Sams and
Fleming were able to jump out to a 40-45min lead, showing
sound navigational judgement over the remainder of the 17
"We felt pretty confident with our nav. We always found
ourselves questioning our choices. We just trusted and backed
our decisions," Sams said.
"Hamish was the prime navigator. He did really well.
Basically, I was trying to support and motivate him as best
as I could, in keeping his confidence with his route choice."
One of the checkpoints on the Taieri River proved the
downfall for one team, which paddled straight past the
Silverstream turnoff, ending up lost 10km further downstream.
Another became disoriented in thick bush on the way down from
the abseiling to the river section.
"Sometimes we felt as though we were going the hard way. But
there was no easy way," Fleming said.
"The abseiling was pretty wicked. We had to go down
backwards. It felt like walking on the moon."
In the associated 4hr event, the Valley Boys team of Nolan
Hill and Mark O'Donnell won in a time of 2hr 40min. Team R
and R sport (Marco Kleinlangevelsloo and Brian Adams) won the
6hr event in 5hr 37min.
Organiser Josh Harris hopes to split the event in two for
next year, with a 6hr event in September as a precursor to
the 12hr in November.