The Adventure Racing World Championship got underway yeterday in Lochabar, Scotland, but it was a controversial start to say the least. The race got underway with a prologue that consisted of a 25km trail run along some of the scenic ridges that highlight the area. The prologue is designed to get the teams acquainted with the region and size each other up before the real race begins. It’s also used to establish the starting positions of the teams.
After nearly five and a half hours of racing, the top five positions had all crossed the finish line with Team Orion in first place. Not far behind were Lundhags and Buff Coolmax, with Balance Vector and Nike rounding out the top five. Less than 15 minutes seperated those top five teams, and several of them are expected to contend for podium spots.
It was after the prologue that things got really interesting however, as Balance Vector was assessed a 2 hour penality for failing to carry mandatory gear with them on the course, in this case a sleeping bag and safety rope. The race officials weren’t done hadning out penalties however, as Nike earned a 2 hour penalty of their own because Michael Tobin was spotted by several teams running far ahead of the rest of his team. One of the most basic of adventure racing rules is that all teammates must stat with in 100 meters of one another at all times. Just to even things out however, the other top three teams, Orion, Lundhags, and Buff Coolmax, amongst others, were also given two hour penalties when they were spotted taking a short cut off the trail which took them pasted a mandatory point on the trail. In the end, the top teams have all taken 2 hour penalties heading into the official start of the race today. While this puts them on even par with one another, it gives the other teams a 2 hour lead that they’re goig to need going against the likes of Balance Vector and Nike. But it also means that those top teams can’t afford to make another mistake.
The race got off to a full start today, with a paddling leg. But even that start was not with out controversy. Team The North Face suffered early setback of their own when they boat was struck by one paddled by Team Barclay, breaching the hull and immediately taking on water. The North Face had to turn back to the starting line to repair their boat before setting off once more. The judges are weighing a penalty against Team Barclay and have promisted Team TNF that they would be given a time credit for their delayed start.
Ramming other boats? Breaching hulls? I think Team Barclay must have went to see Pirates of the Caribbean before the race got underway.
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