Expedition Africa 2020 Lesotho - Meet the Teams
The planning and preparation for the 10th Edition of Expedition Africa 2020 in Lesotho, “Kingdom in the Sky”, is well underway. Conversations around the course, entries and location have already started, whilst the route scouting, land permissions and government meetings have been mostly completed. In less than 5 months teams will be lining up at the start line for an expedition race that is unparalleled in landscape contrasts and cultural diversity.
46 teams have already entered, consisting of 21 International teams and 25 South African teams. A unique aspect is the range in ages of this contestants, with the youngest team member at just 15 years old whereas the oldest is 60 years old. There are also two family teams that have entered. One team consists of parents, son and daughter and the other is a father and his three sons.
The variety, vastness and location of this adventure race has attracted a good balance of the regular participants as well as some new teams. Some of the most experienced adventure racers currently on the ARWS circuit have signed up for what promises to be a challenging course.
Battle For The Podium
The race has attracted both top International and South African teams and the battle will be hard and tough upfront.
France is represented by teams, Team 400 Naturex, who were the winners of Expedition India 2019 and currently ranked 2nd on ARWS. Teams Adeorun, Agde Raid Adventure, and Absolu Raid are ranked 16th, 18th and 19th on ARWS, respectively.
This will be the first visit to Africa for Team Uruguay Natural US, ranked 19th on ARWS. They are however a team to watch as they have a solid track record, with a 2nd place finish at Expedition Gauarani in Paraguay, who are the hosts of the AR World Championship 2020.
Team Endurance Life from the U.K., ranked 16th on ARWS, makes a welcome return to Expedition Africa, after placing 7th at EA 2018 Namaqua. They will be aiming for the podium this year.
Representing Australia is top team Team Hard Days Night, currently 33rd on the ARWS rankings.
Although Team Mighty Ace and Team Seiklushunt AR are new team combinations, the team members from Finland and Estonia are regulars on the ARWS circuit with top 10 rankings under their belts.
Russia will be represented by a new team, X-team, which consists of members of Team Blizzard, ranked 8th on ARWS. Anna Burlinova well known adventure racer and team media expert has joined the team. She is very excited to be part of this team and it took some convincing from the boys to accept the challenge. They have been training hard in the cold and icy conditions, similar to the high altitude conditions expected in Lesotho and are hoping to use this acclimatization training to their advantage.
The top South African Teams will also be on the starting line and will certainly provide great competition among the international teams and each other.
DSV Cyanosis, ranked 25th on ARWS is the highest ranked RSA team, and have consistently performed well worldwide. They have just returned from competing at Eco-Challenge in Fiji.
Team Merrell, 28th on the ARWS rankings is the 2nd highest ranked RSA team and will use their vast experience to chase the podium and challenge for top honours after a successful 3rd place finish at EA Rodrigues 2019.
Sanlam Painted Wolf returns to the ARWS circuit after a lengthy break and although currently ranked 325th, they previously ranked in the top five so they will be hard to ignore.
Team Jabberwock, ranked 29th on ARWS, are hoping to have a very competitive team once finalized. It will be interesting to see who they choose to take over the navigation since the legendary 9-time racer, Cobus van Zyl, has moved to New Zealand.
The youngsters KeyHealth Nevarest, ranked 67th on ARWS will be putting in another huge effort after their successful island campaign at EA Rodrigues 2019.
Building the Midpack
Several well-known international and South African teams who have been regular participants and have great experience on ARWS circuit and Expedition Africa Events will certainly be providing great racing and will be chasing the podium finishers over the course.
Expedition Africa legends Team Namaqua (The kings of the Knersvlakte), ranked 67th on ARWS, will be returning for their 5th EA.
Team AdventureLife, which completed a hard but successful Itera in Scotland, are keen to show their strength and will be keen for the challenge upfront and a possibly a dark horse contenders for a top ten finish.
Team PowerBar Swiss Explorers from Switzerland, 73rd on the ARWS rankings, are regular participants at Expedition Africa. As they are now part of the family they will be a welcome sight on the start line. Wrapping up the final French forces are Teams PleinQuest Raid Adventure, Team DSA Antony and Team Valmo Raid, 73th on the ARWS rankings and are ready to explore Africa in full Le Blues spirit.
Team Antimatter, Truffle Hunters and Addicted to Adventure, all ranked 133rd on ARWS, are ready to do battle to improve their ranking.
Team Merrell Nyamazela - a combination of teams Nyamazela and Merrell Missiles, have joining forces to conquer the mountains of Lesotho after their successful circumnavigation of the tropical island of Rodrigues at EA 2019.
Team BSB returns to Expedition Africa after exploring other regions at Itera in Scotland and Expedition India. And they can’t wait to see what Lesotho has to offer.
The best teams of Ireland, Team Moxie Racers and Dar Dingle bring a lot of experience to the starting lineup.
Team Sleepy Dragons and Team Rustproof, ranked 216th and 256th respectively on ARWS has ample experience at Expedition Africa and other adventures, they will line up to battle the inevitable sleep monsters.
ARWS Heavy Weights
ARWS director and owner, Craig Bycroft, will again be experiencing the view from the other side of the fence and returns to Expedition Africa after last participating at EA in the Garden route in 2016. His team is named Team Grumpy Bears Adventure - let’s hope their real characters stays in check over the 5 days – they we will endeavor to have smiles on their faces from start to finish.
Sharing Special Moments
A team that is sure to be a crowd favorite is “The Originals”. Each member, either racing for their personal victories or special reasons, have completed ALL Expedition Africa events over the last 9 years, sometimes as part of the same team and at other times as members of different teams. Donovan Sims, Garth Peinke, Adrian Saffy and Craig Powell will be joining forces to celebrate 10 years of attending Expedition Africa. This a huge achievement and we are privileged to have these warriors joining us.
We are delighted to welcome two family teams that are going to explore Lesotho, Kingdom in the Sky as a family unit.
Team Bredell will see dad Louis, a regular Adventure Racer joined by his three sons.
Team Katze Warriors consist of a Mom and Dad with their son and daughter on this journey throughout Lesotho. This is an extraordinary accomplishment and we are sure they will create some lifelong memories.
The special father and son team aptly named Team Father & Son (Reunion) return to race in Lesotho after an emotional race in EA 2019 Namaqua, where they were the final official team to complete the course.
Husband and Wife Team, Aas Kadavers (Norway/UK) will be back in a pair format after completing EA 2019 Rodrigues as a four-person team.
Racing for a Cause
Finally, Team Thisability (USA) come back to Africa to race for a special cause again after an incredibly meaningful and life changing race in Rodrigues. Likewise, Team Bucket of Hope (South Africa) always race with their hearts and a wonderful cause.
The final route will be completed during the December month scouting trip. Welcome rains have greened Lesotho and hopefully will fill up all the rivers and dams before the journey commences in April.
The race will be linear and will essentially be joining the various towns from west to east through the country to finish at the welcoming sight of Afriski Mountain Resort. Navigation will be different as the maps are dated 1980. The maps will point you in the right direction, with no micro navigation needed. This adventure will be like and Expedition of old.
Starting at 1500 meters altitude and making their way to the finish at nearly 3000 meters will enable teams to adjust to the altitude. After a three-night stay at 3000 meters at Afriski Mountain Resort prior to event start all teams will be well adjusted to the altitude to be able to race at full pace.
The course is going to be unique. Never have we raced in such isolated areas. Teams will need to come prepared to spend great lengths of time on their own and looking after each other will be a critical factor.
A true Expedition race, unparalleled in the World of Adventure racing. There are very few unexplored countries left in the world like Lesotho, Kingdom in the Sky.
Although teams will be isolated on route, their will plentiful interactions with the local population while passing through villages. Most of these villages have no access to electricity, piped water and road networks. This will be a unique experience for most teams
To be successful in these isolated adventures, teamwork, determination and rising to the challenge will ensure that teams reach the finish line.
It certainly is not going to be a race for the fainthearted, but will leave the adventurers with a sense of wonder and huge accomplishment and the knowledge that a once in a lifetime opportunity existed to race in The Kingdom in the Sky.
Don’t miss this one, it will never be repeated….
To be part of this incredible event and for more information visit www.kinetic-events.co.za
Images Terence Vrugtman
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