Photo of a buffalo taken by Andreas Strandh – supplied, courtesy of Kinetic Events
Expedition Africa 2017 Team Skylotec Adventure was charged by buffalo yesterday, 15 May, when passing through the ‘buffalo’ dark zone on the second leg of this event in the Eastern Cape.
Marshals and ECPTA were roaming the area and intercepted the chase with their vehicle, ensuring the safety of this team, currently one of the leading teams on this gruelling 7-day race.
Expedition Africa race organiser, Stephan Muller created a dark zone in this buffalo area in the Baviaans section of the race as a safety precaution. This was done to ensure the safety of the teams as athletes racing at night cannot see the buffalo , which could create a hazardous situation.
More than half the field managed to race through the dark zone before the zone’s shutdown at 6 yesterday evening. All teams between checkpoints, CP 17 and CP 21, had to make camp at their exact spot and were not allowed to move until 6 this morning.
The Merrell Mentored Adventure Racing team, lead by Donovan Sims had to setup camp in the middle of the buffalo area. Marshals were patrolling the area, however, providing an element of safety to all teams within the zone.
According to team media, Kirsten Oliver,the team hoped to reach CP 21 before 6 pm, but was unable to do so. The Merrell Adventure team is said to be in good hands, however, as Donovan Sims, team captain, has seven Expedition Africa’s under his belt and has experience and training to lead the team out of any potential danger.
Michelle Powell, Troy Sims and Dean Findley have not raced an expedition event before now. In preparation for Expedition Africa 2017, team members were training since last year. They say supporters will definitely hear them before they are seen.
The remaining teams within the dark zone camped out of danger’s way and organisers said they should have had a fairly good night’s rest despite the cold.
Early yesterday morning, a chilly but absolutely stunning canyon greeted the tired and cold athletes in the dark zone. Many teams raced through the night to reach Transition 5 late Sunday night in order to tackle this dark zone leg at 4 am yesterday morning.
The top five teams reached Transition 6 with plenty of time to refuel and rest before their early start. Skylotec Adventure and East Wind were the first teams in the canyon yesterday morning closely followed by Thunderbolt AR.
Team Nevarest Jabberwock raced extremely well after yesterday’s slight set back with CP 13. The team left Transition 5 and continued to race well, moving from 9th place to 4th place by the time it reached Transition 6.
East Wind is currently doing its best to regain its placing after backtracking to collect CP 20. The team is currently racing the 97km cycle alongside Nevarest Jabberwock, both in pursuit of reaching the two leading teams; Thunderbolt AR and Skylotec.
Earlier yesterday, co-race organiser Heidi Muller wished all teams within the dark zone area the sweetest dreams and a good night’s rest.
Check back here often to keep up to date with the athletes’ adventures in this race,
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