21 June 2017

Robyn Kime (Owen) Leads SA Youth Team To Victory In Adventure Racing World Series Race In China

Submitted by Viv Quann
Robyn Kime (Owen) Leads SA Youth Team To Victory In Adventure Racing World Series Race In China

PIETERMARITZBURG, 21 JUNE 2017 – From 2 to 10 June 2017, the world’s greatest adventure racing teams battled for glory in the 2nd edition of the Altay X-Trail Expedition Race in Northern China, the only Adventure Racing World Series (ARWS) race in Asia. This year, the race organisers featured a youth team entry fee and travel subsidy to encourage youth teams from all over the world. A youth team has a combined age of under 110 years. In total, 24 teams, of which 10 teams were youth teams, all set out to conquer the Altay Prefecture.Robyn Owen (Jeep Team), along with Michael Owen, Andrew Houston and Julian Atkinson, made up the South African youth team, Best4Sports, tackling the gruelling 500km race. 

Say Robyn Owen Team Leader Best4Sports, “Being the most experienced member of the team was a new experience for me, but it turned out to be an easy job. Mike handled the challenging navigation as well as many navigators with much more experience; and Andrew and Julian were as tough as nails taking all the unexpected challenges in their stride despite having had very little time to prepare. “ The approximate 500km race through the remote Altay region of Northern China is not normally accessible to tourists, and consists of expansive grasslands, rivers, mountains and desert plains in this spectacular part in the world.

The massive, lush grazelands are home to nomads - the Kazaks and Mongolians - with a strong Kazak culture. Back in 2015, Wei Jun (race director) and the X-Trail crew invited ARWS Race Director, Louise Foulkes, and Executive Producer, Erik Nachtrieb, to the Xinjiang region of Northern China to consider creating an ARWS expedition race in China. They spent ten days meeting government officials, reviewing the potential course, experiencing the culture, riding horses, eating lamb's heads and wrestling Kazaks. The debut race took place in September 2016 although slightly shorter than this second edition.

The June 2017 Altay X-Trail Expedition was open to mixed teams of four, 3 men and 1 woman, and was a non-stop, unsupported race with the disciplines of trekking, mountain biking, kayaking, rafting, rope skill and navigation. Winners were expected to take 3 days, and everyone else up to 6 days, to get to the finish line. The exact course was kept secret until 24hrs before the start. Each team was given maps and a course booklet containing the location of each of the race checkpoints. Much of the terrain is rugged, and over the race each team needed to pass through a wide range of landforms.

To finish the race, teams needed to navigate through all the checkpoints together and arrive at the finish line.Say Owen, “Altay X-Trail Expedition 2017 was an experience of a lifetime! The diverse scenery and conditions we encountered were crazy: from scary lightning and hail storms near snowy mountain tops, to the most brilliant rainbows I've ever seen over alpine meadows covered in bright flowers, to desert canyons and bleak Badlands. One morning we were riding through ice-cold swamps in frosty valleys with fingers which felt like they might snap from the cold, and later in the day we were suffocating in still dusty mid-30-degree heat trying to keep midges and mosquitoes out of our noses and ears.

A day later we in all our warm layers again, being battered by horizontal rain.”Owen lead the team to an impressive finish. The South African youth team finished the race in 80:39:00 (3 days, 8hrs), crossing the finish line as the first youth team, and placing 7th overall. Owen concludes “We are pleased with our overall result but more than that we are thankful for everything we learnt along the way - about the sport, about ourselves, about each other, about over-coming challenges and about life. The team are all hooked on Adventure Racing!   We are extremely grateful to X-Trail and Best 4 Sports for the making the incredible experience possible.” 

RESULTS - Altay X-Trail Expedition - China

1. Team Seagate (New Zealand)                          55:55:00

2. Haglofs Silva (Sweden)                                   58:40:00

3. Estonian Ace Adventure Team (Estonia)          61:35:00

4. Team Bones (USA)                                        72:35:00

5. Bivouac Inov8 (New Zealand)                          77:45:02

6. Uruguay Natural Ultra Sports (Uruguay)            76:45:00

7. Best4Sports (YOUTH South Africa)                80:39:00 (1st youth team)  


Paddling – McGregor Paddle SeriesOn Saturday, 10 June, Dabulamanzi Canoe Club at Emmarentia Dam in Johannesburg played host to Race 1 of the 2017 Euro Steel McGregor Paddle Series. Over 100 paddlers of all abilities braved the cold to participate in Race 1, the Euro Steel Dice, which featured a 4km and an 8km race.  The first event of the series was focussed on K2 boats (doubles) to enable experienced paddlers to invite a novice to share the occasion. 

Jeep Team paddler and multiple World Marathon Champ, Hank McGregor, paddled with schoolboy Matthew Eckhardt in the 8km race. The pair crossed the finish line in 4th place in a time of 36:38.46. “Race 1 was an immense success and I loved this format.

My paddle partner, Matt, is a really good 200 metre sprinter, but he hasn’t been training much after the SA Champs. He really felt it on that first lap as the pace was intense and there was plenty of jostling at the first turn. We finished fourth, and I think he will soon be back in a boat again.” said McGregor. Race 2, the Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Durban North Dice, is on the 28 July 2017 at the Blue Lagoon in Durban.  


Long Course – 8km

1. Michael Arthur/Wayne Jacobs                        35:24.66

2. Clinton Cook/Thomas Lovemore                     35:25.46

3. Hamish Lovemore/Callam Davis                     36:18.18 (u18)

4. Hank McGregor/Matthew Eckhart                   36:38.46 

Short Course – 4km

1. Nicolaas Swart                                              27:06.58 (u12)

2. Theo Dreyer                                                  27:22.50 (u12)

3. Tinyiko Mahwayi/Thembelihle Jokozela           28:27:98 (u14)

4. Caroline Power                                              29:04.06 

Surfski – Bay Union Surfski SeriesThis past weekend, Jeep Team paddler, Barry Lewin, participated in Race 7 of the Bay Union Surfski Series.  The race, dubbed the 5 Beaches, started in Umkomaas on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast and finished at Amanzimtoti’s Main Beach. Says Lewin, “Making a comeback after injury has been challenging. The first step is getting your mind in the game, the body will do its thing in time. Days on the coast like this make it easier - 4th in the 5 Beaches on some flat seas.”  


Have a look at the following platforms to keep up to date with Jeep Team SA:  #JeepTeamSA

Website:          www.jeepteam.co.za

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Written and distributed on behalf of Jeep Team SA by Hot Salsa MediaContact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information, interviews and photos.   

Euro Steel McGregor Paddle SeriesThe paddle series was started in 2016 by Hank and Pippa McGregor as a way of putting back into the sport that means so much to them. It is intended to be an easy and hassle-free way to introduce newcomers to the sport, while also providing a new competitive platform for serious paddlers to compete against one another. Everyone, including non-registered paddlers, is welcome to participate in the series. The goal of the paddle series is to drive and increase participation in flat water marathon racing. 

Upcoming Races:

Race 2                    28 July 2017                         Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Durban North Dice, Blue Lagoon

Race 3                    18 Aug 2017                         FNB Dice, Natal Canoe Club PMB

Race 4                    25 Aug 2017                         Bidvest McCarthy Toyota Durban North Dice, Blue Lagoon

Race 5                    1 Sept 2017                          Euro Steel Dice, Natal Canoe Club PMB

Published in Sports Range