By GUY WILLIAMS
Queenstowner Chris Forne’s Avaya team crushed its challengers to win the GODZone adventure race in Rotorua.
Forne and teammates ex-Queenstowner Nathan Fa’ave, Sophie Hart and Stu Lynch clocked up their fifth win in the race when they crossed the finish line in the Redwoods forest south of the tourist town at 7.55am on Wednesday.
It took them only five days to cross 666km of wilderness terrain.
The foursome have won every GODZone they’ve raced together, although Forne, who’s a six-time world adventure racing champion, has won three more as the captain of other teams.
Race director Adam Fairmaid says Avaya’s victory is an ‘‘incredible feat’’.
‘‘They don’t give anything away to the other teams and consistently race their own race.
‘‘Over the years, they’ve set a very high standard of racing that no other team has come close to matching.’’
Avaya captain Fa’avae, now living in Nelson, says the teams were sent off in intervals last
Friday because of pandemic restrictions, and although they were in the last wave, they were surprised to hit the front of the field pretty quickly.
‘‘I guess that was a promising sign early on that we were not even trying to catch up.
‘‘From there on, we were consistently moving pretty quickly through most of the disciplines, which got us into an excellent position to really try and break from the front pack as early as possible.’’
Meanwhile, former ABs’ captain Richie McCaw’s isport team was held on for second place, finishing on Wednesday night, while Queenstown’s Tiki Tour team of Tom and George Lucas, Mike Kelly and Kym Skerman came in third two hours behind them.
Since starting the non-stop race, the teams navigated point-to-point with about 370km of mountain biking, 140km of paddling and 170km of trekking.