The two New Zealanders, Richard Ussher and Braden Currie crossed the finish line first again on day two of the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge. After a fairly eventful day yesterday with course navigation, Ussher and Currie had a much easier run today with only a small mishap along the way.
“It was a really smooth day today, we were pretty good on the nav and we’re both feeling pretty good”, said Ussher. “Our only concern is that I rolled my ankle on the last run leg, but I’ll get some ice on it and we should be fine”.
The team further extended their overall lead by collecting all the optional time bonuses, including the run up to Cradle Mountain which made quite an impression.
“It’s absolutely stunning on Cradle Mountain; we stopped for 20 seconds and had a look. It’s another stunning course”, said Ussher. And Currie agreed, “we had a bit of time to take a few things in, today”.
Crossing the finish line second were Team Red Bull, Courtney Atkinson and Ken Wallace with a relatively smoother run compared to yesterday’s mountain bike dramas. The team ended up fourth overall once time bonuses were allocated, as they decided not to go for all the optional check points.
“We are pacing ourselves and skipped two of the optional check points today. There are certain areas of the race where we just can’t keep up with the guys who are jumping down these mountains during the run leg,” said Atkinson.
Courtney and Atkinson made up some time during the bike leg and even kept up with the leaders.
“We love it when we get to race a bit and obviously Braden and Richard are killing it out there’ but we managed to pop out on them on the bike initially, and we rode about half the ride with them, and we felt like we were in the race again and finished off strong”, said Atkinson. “It was a nice day, the paddle, the run, though there were some steep hills, but we had a good day together. Our strengths balance us out”.
Kenny Wallace was also impressed with the scenery in Tasmanian’s wilderness, which is also World Heritage listed, saying, “It’s amazing that we get to see this part of the world, we’re lucky to get to see it.”
Third to cross the finish line were Victorians, Jarad Kohlar and James Pretto competing for team Swisse Wellness. The pair also had a smoother run today and opted to do all the optional check points and ended second overall in the standings.
“We are pretty happy with today, we didn’t make any major errors”, said Pretto, and Kohlar agreed. “We only made three minutes of navigation errors through the whole day, so we had a great day.”
“The view is spectacular, there was even a little bit of snow on the summit. It’s amazing to race against world-class athletes like Richard and Braden through this sort of terrain.”
“The adventure racing scene in Tasmania is thriving, it’s probably the strongest of all (Australian) states”.
The Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge continues tomorrow for day three of the five day adventure race. The competitors head to the west coast with the all the legs taking in the sites of Strahan, including Hell’s Gate and the Cape Sorrel lighthouse.
The event is raising money to two charities, Whitelion and Save the Tasmanian Devil Appeal.
Results – Day 2
1st Richard Ussher / Braden Currie, Team discovertasmania.com – 02:16:35
2nd Jarad Kohlar / James Pretto, Team Swisse Wellness – 02:37:02
3rd Alex Hunt / Mark Hinder, Team Pure Tasmania – 02:53:49
4th Ken Wallace / Courtney Atkinson, Team Red Bull – 05:01:32
5th Mitch Evans / Sam Stedman, Team Outer Limits – 06:04:00
About Day 2
Day two of the Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge started at the Cradle Mountain Chateau with the 78 competitors tackling the first of two mountain bike legs.
The mountain bike leg took the competitors along Dove Lake where they transitioned into the first of two run legs which took them to the Cradle Mountain summit.
Once back down the mountain, teams transitioned to the kayak leg on Dove Lake then transitioned into the second run leg along the Crater Lake and ‘the Boardwalk’ referred to as the Enchanted Walk.
Competitors finished the day on their mountain bikes with a ride through Leary’s corner to Daisy Dell. Competitors covered over 70kms