Four-person team

The champions of the inaugural four-person Red Bull Defiance event standing atop the podium are,...
The champions of the inaugural four-person Red Bull Defiance event standing atop the podium are, from left, Oliver Thompson, Jake Vargo, Hannah Presswood and Richard Greer. Photo: Sean Nugent
More than  100 teams battled heavy rain and strong wind over the two-day Red Bull Defiance multisport race held in Wanaka over the weekend, but were all smiles at the finish line.

The race, known for its difficulty, comprised 73km of cycling, 38km of running, 36km of kayaking, abseiling and clay shooting, including a vertical rise of more than 4000m across the two days.

A four-person team event was introduced for the first time, running along the same course as the two-person teams.

A four-person team, Crossing Peaks, crossed the finish line first yesterday afternoon, in a time of 11hr 43min.

The team, made up of Kirwee pair Jake Vargo and Richard Greer, Christchurch’s Hannah Presswood and Whakatane’s Oliver Thompson, won by a mere 16 minutes ahead of day-one leaders Swordfox.

Vargo and Thompson had both competed in the two-person event last year and found the new four-person event allowed them to "put the gas on".

"Instead of managing yourself for the next stage you could just empty the tank," Vargo said.

"It was a pretty awesome format. It gave everyone a good opportunity to show their strengths and work together as a team," Thompson said.

"It’s such a brutal course and it’s awesome to just leave everything out there."

As for the weather, the pair said it was simply part and parcel of multisport events.

"I think that’s what we love about being outdoors. It is what it is," Vargo remarked.

In the two-person event, Hamish Elliot and Sam Bell took top honours, crossing the line in 12hr 18min.

They were followed by Daniel Busch and Cameron Jones,  32 minutes later.

Former All Black captain Richie McCaw’s four-person team, Best Foot Forward NZ, finished in sixth position, a credible comeback after teammate Bob McLachlan suffered a nasty fall off his bike on the first day.

Course designer and defending champion Braden Currie did not compete this year but said he had "great fun" watching the event unfold over the weekend.

It was also announced that the race had expanded, and another Red Bull Defiance race would be held in Queensland next spring.

"It’s been amazing to see it go strength to strength," Currie said.

"For me, I’m super excited about the future of Defiance, here and all around the world."

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