Unfamiliar team for Gurney

Steve Gurney
Steve Gurney
Nine-time Coast to Coast winner Steve Gurney will lead a team of unknowns in the new Red Bull Defiance X4 event this weekend in Wanaka.

Gurney has come out of retirement to lead his own team in the two-day 147km event, which gets under way on Saturday.

''Well, this is going to be one heck of a race and very interesting from my perspective because I don't expect my team to necessarily be the fastest,'' Gurney said.

''For me it's about working together, making the most of the our strengths that should negate any weaknesses and enjoying the camaraderie.''

Gurney's team came together only after David Gray, Katie Smith and Carl Jones won the opportunity to race alongside the multisport legend.

''I actually don't know my team from a bar of soap, so it's going to be lots of fun getting to know each other.''

While fairly new to multisport, Smith raced GODZone in 2018 and Coast to Coast in 2017. Jones is an ex World Cup XC mountain-bike racer now racing enduro.

With 100 athletes competing in the X4 event there will be plenty of competition for the Gurney team to push against.

The field includes the Best Foot Forward team, made up of World adventure racing champion Bob McLachlan, two-time Primal Quest winner Sarah Fairmaid, former All Black captain Richie McCaw and New Zealand Rugby Players Association chief executive Rob Nichol.

Team Swordfox, led by experienced Nelson adventure-racing duo Naomi and Ash Whitehead, are expected to feature in the lead pack along with Queenstown's Altitude Brewing team, led by Bruce McLeod.

The X4 event is the first race in New Zealand's 2019 A1 Adventure Racing Series.

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