|By Rob Howard|
Two early visitors to HQ this morning were Team Dancing Pandas and a penguin, which wandered in from the nearby colony and had to be carried back to the shore. The ‘Pandas’ were treated better, they got their champagne and pizza and a comfy seat to sit in and reminisce about the race!
Their minds were definitely on food and their supporters supplied extra pizza as they told a tale of stopping at a pub for food, only to find they had no burgers. Their hopes dashed they were forced to eat sandwiches! But as Peter Jolles said, “If I don’t have to unwrap it, and it’s not powder, I’m happy to eat it!” The team had encountered 4 trekkers in the river canyon on the first trek who were in trouble, and had to be rescued by helicopter in the end. While the race passed through with no problems this group (nothing to do with the race) were told by their rescuers to be more sensible about where they went!
When asked about the best bit of the course Mark Latanzi said, “I think the canyon. It was sketchy, but I loved it.” Masha Glanville said, “The sand dunes are dawn were amazing, and so were the race logisitics. They were fantastic!”
Earlier in the morning the Macpac Girls on Top team had arrived and camped out in HQ, and later on a combined team of 5 came in, comprising racers from teams SCAR, Spin City Cycles and MacPac in Perth, though who had done what on the course I don’t know. They had struggled around the course surviving to the finish, despite a difficult paddle where they ripped the side out of one inflatable boat and capsized a few times (losing the camera with all their race pictures in one spill.)
Not long after there was another sprint finish, and again the two teams were separated by just one second. Team Mawson raced in with Australian Geographic Outdoor Magazine and just pipped them to 29th place. Team Mawson have competed in all the XPD races, so are one of the most experienced teams here and they were the first all male team to finish.
Overnight 3 more New Zealand teams finished, adding to an international mix of finishers on day 8 which included France, Japan, Ecudaor and Canada as well. At present the last few teams are still ont he river and will need to finish the paddle before tonights Dark Zone to be in with a chance of completing the course.