Team Yealands victorious at GODZone
‘‘We definitely had some great racing especially with Swordfox all the way through.’’
Crossing the finish line in first place after five gruelling days competing in GODZone’s chapter seven was a ‘‘surreal’’ moment for Team Yealands Family Wines.
Yealands team Chris Forne, Emily Forne, Dan Busch and Aaron Prince crossed the line in front of a cheering crowd of more than 500 people at Te Anau on Tuesday night.
An exhausted Busch had to be carried across the finish line by his teammates after suffering trench foot.
And the win was hard to comprehend for the team.
‘‘This is really quite surreal,’’ Chris Forne said after the race.
‘‘We definitely had some great racing especially with Swordfox all the way through. During the first half of the race they kept passing us and we kept battling away but by the end of the bike we felt we had an edge.’’
Forne said he thought he had blown it for them after he started paddling off in the wrong direction down Lake Manapouri.
‘‘We thought that’s bad, bad news but we kept racing hard and hoped we could out speed Swordfox on the last stage so there was definitely plenty of excitement there.’’ Forne said despite struggling
certain points, the team at managed to appreciate the stunning scenery and novel terrain of Fiordland and Southland.
This was the first time this crew had raced together in the GODZone challenge, Forne said.
World champion adventure racer Forne said it was ‘‘cool’’ to be racing alongside his wife Emily Forne, as well as Dan Busch and Aaron Prince.
‘‘Aaron Prince is the one that got me into adventure racing and while he may regret it sometimes it’s been great to have him step in at the last minute to replace Nick Hann who twisted his ankle a week ago,’’ Forne said.
‘‘And Dan is our unofficial captain and did all the organising, made us delicious food out there and has been fantastic - so it’s been a really enjoyable experience racing with this team,’’ he said.
The team completed the 540-kilometre course through Fiordland in five days and 13 hours.
GODZone course director Adam Fairmaid said he was pleased the team made it roughly in the estimated times.
‘‘They were just about spot on, a fraction behind what we thought the first team could do it in.
‘‘It is really impressive, particularly because they have raced so hard with Swordfox and had a ding-dong battle along the way,’’ Fairmaid said.
Forne has been on the winning team of GODZone five times and placed second last year.
GODZone winners Yealands Family Wines. from left, Aaron Prince, Dan Busch, Chris Forne and Emily Forne. Chris Forne