By GUY WILLIAMS
Queenstown adventure racer Chris Forne (pictured) admits to being ‘‘a bit apprehensive on the physical front’’ as he counted down to today’s start of the eight-day GODZone race in Rotorua.
Forne, a six-time world champion with his team Avaya, tells Mountain Scene he hasn’t done as much long-distance training as usual.
That’s understandable for someone whose international racing career’s been put on hold by Covid-19 — his last big race was the Eco-Challenge Fiji about 18 months ago — and even more so for a dad to a 20-month-old daughter, his first child with wife, Emily.
Forne and his teammates, Nelsonians Nathan Fa’avae and Sophie Hart and Aucklander Stu Lynch, are once again hot favourites, according to race director Warren Bates, who expects them to be the ‘‘movers’’ at the front of the field.
Forne admits the team will be ‘‘disappointed if we don’t win’’.
‘‘But in saying that — and this is what makes it fun — there’s a couple of other teams that’ll be strong out there and be in with a chance.’’
He singles out Queenstown’s Tiki Tour team, featuring the Lucas brothers Tom and George, which won the local GODZone in 2017 and were runners-up two years later, as one to keep an eye on.
The other is the isport team of Dougal Allan, Simone Maier, Theo Wordsworth and former ABs captain Richie McCaw.
It’s the first time the non-stop, eight-day race is being held in the North Island.