Adventurers set new records
TEN thousand dollars is always good for motivation. That lure helped boost the Hells Bells adventure race to record numbers, attracting interstate competitors chasing the five-figure bounty.
Team Thunderbolt, featuring Bernadette Dornom, Hugh Stodart, Josh Street and Leo Theoharis claimed a thrilling overall victory which keeps them in the running for the big pay cheque and entry to GodZone in New Zealand.
While most raced as teams of two, there were 11 teams of four who took part in the 24-hour adventure race, many hunting the A1 Series $10,000 prize purse which goes to the best ranked team after four races – including X-Marathon, Geoquest, Hells Bells and finally Wildside, which will be staged near Canberra during October.
Starting from Golden Beach, this year’s race saw competitors mountain bike, trek, kayak and paddle their way through a 150km course. Fairy Bells was about half the distance for novice teams.
Competitors were given maps to the course designed by David Schloss and Chris Dixon two hours before the start, and the race included:
■ A short paddle on boogie boards to Bribe Island
■ 20km of beach and trail running on Bribe
■ 18km kayaking in Pumicestone Passage and Coochin Creek
■ 90km mountain biking through Beerwah State Forest, single track on Ewen Maddock Dam and back to Caloundra
■ Midnight 12.5km trek in Dularcha National Park.
Hells Bells attracted some of Australia’s best adventure racers, including Mountain Designs Wild Women, Peak Adventure, BMX Bandits, CBRAR and Tiger Adventure French Connection.
There were also some familiar faces, such as Jan Leverton and the Tri Adventure crew, Gary Sutherland’s Tiger Adventure and Paul Elby’s The Peaky Blinders.
After nearly 14hrs and 50mins of racing it came down to a sprint finish between the current national champions Thunderbolt AR and Peak Adventure, with Paul Elby’s The Peaky Blinders and Garry Sutherlands Tiger Adventure fighting it out for third and fourth.
Fairy Bells was won by Happy Ending in a time of 10hrs 15 mins with Jan Leverton’s Tri Adventure Vintage with a close second.
On top of the usual fire trails and single track teams had a few surprises along the way with off trail orienteering sections through lantana to discover cliffs and creeks, barbed wire fences and creek crossings, and the old rail tunnel at Mooloola.
“With Hells Bells now part of a national series we really wanted to do something new and different and getting the racers onto Bribe Island, while tough from a logistics perspective, really made the race. Especially with the perfect Sunshine Coast weather,” organiser Chris Dixon said.
“Holding the race close to the beach meant it was going to be a fast, flat race, so we made use of every hill, mud flat, creek crossing and barbed wire fence we could find to ensure it truly lived up to it’s name ‘Hells Bells’….and it did.
“While the winning teams are amazing, its the tail end teams that cross the line at the 24 hour mark that are really inspiring – anyone that can problem solve and navigate a 150km course with no sleep, tackle a really tough course and arrive at the finish line with a smile on their face is truly amazing.”
For details on next year’s race, visit race organiser Wild & Co’s website at www.wldnco.com or visit facebook.com/wldnco.
Joe Cartwright undertakes the initial paddle leg.
Mountain Designs Wild Women Cass Kimlin, Kim Beckinsale, Gina Dunsdon and Ali Wright in action.
Ross Cattle and Matthew Wolstencroft.
Team Tiger Adventure at Hells Bells.