Lozere Team2raid Win In Wild Scotland At ITERA
The ITERA Expedition Race attracted 37 international teams from 12 nations to Scotland for the latest round of the 2019 Adventure Racing World Series and they travelled from as far as Brazil and South Africa to race in the wild mountain terrain of the Highlands.
The scenery, the weather and the course lived up to all their expectations. After 565km of racing, on a course designed to challenge both the world’s best and novice teams, all but 3 teams crossed the finish line, but only 2 teams were ranked as ‘Full Course’.
Lozere Team2raid of France took the win in a time of 93 hours 38 minutes and claimed a free place in the 2020 AR World Championships (details of which will be announced very shortly). In second place was Team SWECO of Sweden in 108 hours 04 minutes, with Team Endurancelife of the UK finishing third overall by topping the ‘Short Course’ rankings in a time of 108 hours 05 minutes.
Lozere Team2raid were lead by Nicolas Rambier, who has twice been on ARWS winning teams before (in France and Chile) and the team included Benjamin Monier, Camille Defer and Maxime Brajon.
On the finish line in Inverness city centre Monier said, “It was a good, tough race and we think Scotland is a perfect place for adventure racing. The landscape was amazing and we had every kind of weather. We raced well, especially with Camille who was with us for the first time and is only 25.”
The team kept the title in France, taking over from Team FMR who won ITERA Ireland and were late withdrawals this time due to injury. It was a strong performance from France all around with 5 teams finishing and with Adeorun Adventure taking the ‘Masters’ category in 7th place and the Adeorun Young Team taking the ‘Youth’ category as well.
Crossing the finish line Maxime Brajon was overcome, with his head in his hands and shedding tears of elation and relief. Monier explained, “Max had a very difficult time on the last night. We had to stop many times for short sleeps so we could keep going to the finish. It was really tough.”
The final push for the finish line had taken all they had to give after sleeping only a few hours in the whole race and competing closely with SWECO and Team Columbia Vidaraid in a hard fought race. All three teams lead for significant periods but it was the French team who finished the strongest and made the least mistakes.
The course they completed offered a grand tour of iconic Scottish locations, mountains and landscapes. From the start at the magnificent Dunrobin Castle teams paddled to the Glenmorangie Distillery and after riding right across the country some were scaling the unforgettable summit of Suilven by sunset on the first day.
A sea kayak on the West coast was weather affected forcing teams into difficult and long portages and some had to turn back and be rerouted when the wind became too strong. Over 5 days of continuous racing they visited several castles, the Pharaoh canyon, crossed the most remote area of the whole highlands, rafted and paddled down the River Garry and finished riding alongside Loch Ness in the Great Glen. There were storms and a night of heavy rain as well as sunshine and vivid sunsets over epic mountain and coastal views. Typical Scottish weather in fact!
The course was designed to move teams to the finish on the 5th and final day and they could opt to short course by missing some sections and taking time penalties to manage their own race and achieve as much they felt capable of.
This made it a very tactical race and allowed some novice teams who made smart decisions to finish high up the rankings, and the mentored ‘Endurancelife Development Team’ with two novice racers, to finish 4thoverall.
At the end of an emotional final day 34 out of 37 starting teams crossed the finish line, all with 5 full days of racing behind them and memories and experiences of Scotland which they will never forget.