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Rey Leads Team Alpha Dental to a Special Win

Rob Howard / 26.09.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
Team Alpha Dental at the Finish
Team Alpha Dental at the Finish / © Rob Howard

At the start of the race we speculated whether the Alpha Dental team would be the perfect mix of youth and experience, and it seems they were, as the team were the first to cross the finish line in Mirandela tonight, after leading from start to finish.

The last minute team was put together by veteran racer Bruno Rey of France (the team is sponsored by his company), and he was joined by 3 young Swedish racers, two of them from the former Hamilton youth team project.  It was a bold decision by Rey to team up with 3 elite racers in their 20’s, and after crossing the finish line he said, “It is my birthday on October 1st and I will be 58, and these guys have given me a very special birthday present. 

“They said only me and Nathan Fa’avae have won an expedition race aged over 50, but I don’t know if it’s true or not.”

He continued, “They’ve been so positive about the race, and with me, although I have really suffered, especially at the end.  Erik (Johansson) has been incredible with the navigation, he is so focussed and never made a mistake.  I don’t think we were the strongest team, but we were the smartest and navigated the best.

“We kept trying to pull away and had so many punctures that we couldn’t.  Every TA they were still 15 minutes behind us until we made a real push last night, as we knew we were the better navigators, and it worked. 

“It’s been since 2009 to win a race for me, the last was the Patagonia Expedition Race, and I didn’t expect it to happen again. These guys made it possible and they are so nice. We will stay friends and I will visit Sweden for sure. They are the future of adventure racing.

“The race, the country, and the organisation have been amazing too. Yes, there have been mistakes and problems, but we are all human and doing our best, and really that is what racing is all about. The results matter of course, but it’s about being the best people we can be.”

His team mate Maria Ehlin Kolk said, “Bruno has been amazing and we made a good team.  It’s been tough for him. He’s been on a tow from Andreas (Vikstrom) for the last 24 hours but he’s been very smart. For example, every time we got a puncture he laid down straight away to sleep for a few minutes.  Andreas is 24 so it’s a big age gap.  It is also the first expedition race for Andreas as the longest he has done before now is 24 hours.”

Bruno Rey on the finish line
                                                    Bruno Rey on the finish line

The win is the first for all the Swedish racers and Rey said, “They are the future of adventure racing, for sure.”

The final race time will be confirmed after some time adjustments and it is likely only two more teams will complete the full course before it closes at midnight tonight.  Time adjustments may come into play to decide the final podium positions, but at the moment it looks like the Dutchables team will be second to cross the finish line, with Uruguay Ultra Sports not far behind them.

Team On-Sight of Poland are 4th and may well have completed the full course up to now, but time has run out and they can’t make it to the finish before midnight.  It’s a pity they won’t have a few extra hours to have the satisfaction of getting all of the checkpoints.

The other teams have either already retired or are making their way to the finish on their bikes.  Unusually, the race has no cut-offs or short course, teams just go as far as they can and enjoy as much of the course as time allows.

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