Skip Navigation

Avaya - Champions Again!

Rob Howard / Photo : Rob Howard / 13.11.2018

Team Avaya - 2018 AR World Champions

They said they were here to have fun and explore Reunion and that the result was secondary, that they had their doubts and were not confident, and expected to be caught at any time by the good teams chasing them.

Yet, in the end, the result was the same as it has been for the past 4 years, Avaya are the Adventure Racing World Champions. Again.  Nobody is the least bit surprised, they are so good it felt inevitable.

Unbeatable, unrivalled, flawless, legendary, you can take your pick of how to describe this team who have dominated Adventure Racing for so long.  For the record this is their 5thconsecutive win, having won previously in the high altitude of Ecuador, the jungles of Brazil, the plains of Wyoming and the arid outback of Australia. It’s their 6th ARWC win as they won in 2012 as well, the last time Raid in France were hosts,  Fleur Pawsey was new to the team, but the others now have 20 world titles between them, going back to 2005.

Nathan Fa’avae said before the start that he didn’t feel they were favourites given the strength of the field.  As he was returning from retirement and hadn’t raced at this level for two years, and Fleur Pawsey came into the team as a late replacement some doubts would only be natural. But he said on the podium tonight that one of the reasons for their success was “that we are all committed to the objective, which is to win, and it’s incredible how much support we can give each other out there to achieve that.”  Any doubts were put aside, they were here to win and still had the conviction they could do it. And they did.

Having completed the final cycle stage and then a short river pack-raft the team ran along the beach, back to the race HQ in St. Gilles les Bains where they managed a sprint across the line and were met by a spray of champagne from Race Director Pascal Bahuaud.  They finished at 3.01 and their race time for the 460km course was 117 hours and one minute.

Chris Forne said on the finish line, “It wasn’t until we were on the final bike ride and going well that we thought we would win, until then we still expected someone to come up behind us.” He added, “I had a difficult start to the race suffering in the heat.  Those two days of trekking in hot conditions were tough but it never got out of control and we kept moving.  Still it left me feeling a bit beaten up for the whole race.”  (It makes you wonder how fast the team would go if they all felt good!)

Nathan Fa’avae responded to the inevitable question, “What’s your secret to success?”  He said, “I don’t think anything about how we race is secret really, it’s mainly down to the fundamentals of team work.”  Asked if he was going to the next AR World’s in Sri Lanka he just laughed – but he didn’t say no.

After finishing the team were sat up on a stage with a deck chair each, flip flops provided so they could finally take off their race shoes, and of course beer and pizza. In the spotlights Fleur Pawsey didn’t look as relaxed as her team mates, they were old hands and had answered these questions many times before, but this was her first world title. She said, “It was a great opportunity for me to come and I guess I was just lucky I was the one who was free to step in. And I knew I couldn’t have better team mates to look after me.”

Stu Lynch, who has now won the last 6 World Titles in a row, commented on their experience of Reunion Island. “It is definitely a place which should be known about more widely. There isn’t anywhere else quite like it and the scenery is incredible.  It was a real challenge every step of the way.”

With the finish in race HQ the team are now recovering in their chalet on the site, which is just a few steps away from the finish line and the race staff and media are preparing to receive the second placed team which will be 400 Team Naturex of France or Haglofs Silva (Sweden).

[If you enjoyed this story and would like SleepMonsters to continue offering Adventure Race reporting then we need your help. Please support our Patreon campaign.]

[If you enjoyed this story and would like SleepMonsters to continue reporting on Adventure Racing then we need your help. Please support our Patreon campaign or make a donation via PayPal.]

About The Author

Rob Howard
Rob is Editor of SleepMonsters.com. He's traveled the world reporting on and photographing adventure races and day-to-day he keeps his finger on the pulse of AR to ensure SleepMonsters is the heartbeat of the sport.

More About ARWC 2018 - Raid in France

Le Tour de Volcano; Team AVAYA Captain's Report

Le Tour de Volcano; Team AVAYA Captain's Report
In 2016 I stepped away from top level adventure racing after winning the World Champs in Australia. The reasons were that I’d Read More


The 2018 AR World Championships on Reunion Island Comes to a Close

The 2018 AR World Championships on Reunion Island Comes to a Close
The closing ceremonies for a remarkable 8 days of racing on Reunion Island took place at Village de Corail tonight.   The beach Read More


All Roads Lead to the Finish

All Roads Lead to the Finish
The last few days of bad weather on the Volcano have made the end of the race particularly hard for the teams at the back of the Read More


The Russians Are Coming –Slowly

The Russians Are Coming –Slowly
The two Russian teams in the race approached the finish today, looking close together on the tracking map, but as they were both moving Read More


Mixed Emotions on the Finish Line

Mixed Emotions on the Finish Line
More teams have been crossing the finish line of the AR World Championships this morning and I caught up with a couple of the teams with an Read More


Czech Republic and Estonia Take 4th and 5th

Czech Republic and Estonia Take 4th and 5th
The 4th team to cross the finish line at this year’s AR World Champs was ‘Black Hill Salomon Opava Net’ from the Czech Read More


On The Volcano With Team 20

On The Volcano With Team 20
The trek up and over the Piton de la Fournaise volcano is the centrepiece of this World Championship course and teams feel it’s the Read More


A Sprint Finish After 120 Hours of Racing

A Sprint Finish After 120 Hours of Racing
You wouldn’t think it’s likely to have a sprint finish in an expedition adventure race, not after 5 days of brutal racing, on a Read More


The Denoument

The Denoument
For the leading teams at ARWC 2018 on Reunion Island the end is almost in sight and the top five teams should finish sometime tomorrow Read More


One Step At aTime

One Step At aTime
While the leaders paddle up the west coast towards an early morning finish tomorrow, a third of the teams in the race are still continuing Read More


Lost in the Land of the Volcano

Lost in the Land of the Volcano
All of the action on day 4 took place on the East Coast of Reunion, but in some very different locations as the field spread out.  The Read More


Conflict at TA2

Conflict at TA2
This morning two teams, who camped out overnight on the River Marsouins, arrived at Transition two at the football field in Saint Benoit, Read More


Chasing Shadows in the Canyons

Chasing Shadows in the Canyons
Teams slow down in the dark, but if it’s a Dark Zone they have to stop altogether as its deemed unsafe to continue.  So beating Read More


All To Play For On Day 3

All To Play For On Day 3
Losing mere minutes may have devastating consequences tomorrow. After an epic first leg of 106kms of mountain hiking and nearly 8000m of Read More


Through the Forests To TA1

Through the Forests To TA1
Day two, and for all of the teams it was still about finishing the first leg of the race, the mighty 106km mountain trek.  Most teams Read More


The South African View

The South African View
On the morning of day 2 of the race I caught up with the Olympus Red Ants team from South Africa and briefly with the Merrell Adventure Read More


The Circle of the Cirques

The Circle of the Cirques
Into the second day of the race the first stage continues as the teams travel through the 3 vast collapsed volcano craters which are such a Read More


Night Stop at The Pool

Night Stop at The Pool
With teams running well ahead of the predicted fastest times the leaders arrived at CP4, at the swimming pool in the town of Cilaos before Read More


Straight Off The Track

Straight Off The Track
Teams woke this morning to a fine morning at Hell Bourg, with daylight coming around 5.30am. Some said they’d been a little cold on Read More


Hot Wheels and High Fives – The Prologue

Hot Wheels and High Fives – The Prologue
As teams approached the village of Hell Bourg, the venue for the stat and prologue they got their first real look at the vertiginous Read More


Exploration and Magic – The Race Director' View

Exploration and Magic – The Race Director' View
I took the opportunity to talk to Race Director Pascal Bahuaud this morning in the race office, while all around us the Raid in France Read More


Lots To Think About After The Race Briefing

Lots To Think About After The Race Briefing
As teams checked in for today’s race briefing they were given 3 sheets of paper with a course profile, a summary of the stages and a Read More


Village Life

Village Life
The atmosphere at the race HQ for ARWC2018 is relaxed compared to most previous World Champs, but it would be hard to be anything else in Read More


Champions And Contenders For The World Title

Champions And Contenders For The World Title
The team list for ARWC 2018-Reunion has 64 names on it. Some are there for the experience, some have won a place as a World Series race Read More


How To Follow ARWC 2018

How To Follow ARWC 2018
SleepMonsters will be working with the ARWS on the live race coverage, and you can read all the stories and news from Rob Howard right here Read More


’l’île Intense’ Welcomes The Adventure Racing World Championships

’l’île Intense’ Welcomes The Adventure ...
In an expedition adventure race the competitors cram in so many intense experiences and emotions they lose track of time completely, the Read More


Merrell Prepare For UPHILL Challenge at Champs

Merrell Prepare For UPHILL Challenge at Champs
Merrell Adventure Addicts will be lining up amongst the world’s finest Adventure Racing teams at the start inside an old volcano on Read More


The ARWC Guide to Reunion Island

The ARWC Guide to Reunion Island
When Reunion Island was announced as the venue for the 2018 AR World Champs the response was most likely, ‘Where?’ followed by Read More


  • Adventure Racing Links

Add a link to the SleepMonsters network

ARWC 2018 - Raid in France

ARWC 2018 - Raid in France

Support Adventure Racing

SleepMonsters Patreon

Facebook

like us on facebook

Our Patrons

Rootstock Racing

TanzNavigation

SleepMonsters Patreon

Thank you to all our

adventure racing

patrons


Rootstock Racing

Tanz Navigation

-- -- --

Brian Gatens

-- -- --

Adventure Enablers

Chipp Dodd

David Ellis

Erik Sanders

Fiona McBryde

Graham Bird

Jakub Malik

Strong Machine AR

-- -- --

Barbara Campbell

Klaus Mygind

Marco Ponteri

Nigel Davison

Rob Horton