Hardy Inlet sparkled as almost 800 paddlers hit the water for the 12th Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Race this morning in Augusta, with 57kms of off-road adventure up ahead through the wilds of south-west Western Australia.
15-20 knot southeast winds for the premier race of the weekend meant tricky conditions for the ocean paddling and swim legs, as well as the technical coastal running and mountain biking, but the racing was fast and close at the front.
After discovering race leader Bing Pasco had missed some markers on the swim leg, Perth’s Brody Baker, 30, went all out, making up time on the mountain bike leg, finishing within Pasco’s 30 minute time penalty, to take the win in four hours, 15 minutes and 45 seconds.
“It feels awesome to walk away with the win two years in a row, I really had to work for it this year, I felt like it was a lot harder race than last year, but it feels really good,” Baker said.
“The paddle was good, and I had a really good swim I thought, it was a killer swim though, it was hard to pick your gap, I tried to stand up and my legs would cramp! Heading up with that wind slapping in your face the whole way, there were a couple of little runners, but swimming into that current was just hectic at the end there, when you’re absolutely zonked."
“These events are awesome, so many times when you’re racing you look up and look around and you’re in the bush, and there’s no one around; a couple of times I was just in awe, and you hit some of those big puddles, and your bike completely sinks and disappears and you don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s just so good.”
Second place went to Tom Chadbourne, 35 of North Fremantle (04:28:26.25), and in third was Bart Hollemans, 45 from Perth (4:30:01.39 ).
Despite heading into today’s race not feeling 100 percent, defending champion Kristen Gadsdon, 41, from City Beach rose to the challenge of the conditions to overcome the field of top women to win with eight minutes to spare in a time of four hours, 37 minutes and 56 seconds.
“I had no idea how I was going to go. But these were probably better conditions for me, it was really hard but I like it when it’s like that, you’ve just got to just battle against it the whole way,” Gadsdon said.
“If I felt okay coming out of the swim I was going to give it a crack on the bike. The run course is perfect, after all the years I’ve done it, I think that’s my favourite, they’ve absolutely got it right.
“I’m just stoked, really stoked; it’s not what I expected today at all, so thank you very much.”
Second placed female overall was Elizabeth Dornom, 37 from Melbourne (4:46:09.86) and third place went to Ariarn Huston, 28 from Perth (4:49:02.50).
The Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Race also featured the return of the State of Origin Championship Trophy, a battle between All-Stars teams from Queensland, Victoria and Western Australia.
The racing was close at the start, but Team WA, 2017 defending overall champions (Reece Baker, Reece Tucknott, Mike Lori and Simon Huitenga) were able to put some distance between them, keeping the trophy in the west with a time of three hours, 26 minutes and 28 seconds.
Team Victoria suffered a slight collision on the water causing damage to their craft, eventually 17 minutes off the pace in second place for the trophy (03:43:08), and Team QLD had to settle for third a minute later in (03:44:07).
Sunday’s adventure racing action continued on from the excitement of Saturday which saw the half distance race – the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Mini Adventure Race (27km) and the Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Junior Survivor, a 4km running and obstacle course for kids, attracting 1,100 and 826 competitors respectively (totalling 2,714 competitors across the weekend).
Steve Anstee, 35 of Busselton only got in 5 weeks of training, but found himself first over the line for individual racers.
“I didn’t even know I was winning, I thought there were heaps of people in front of me. The bike was interesting, I went over the handlebars a couple of times, so I’m sure there were a few good photos there. Up next for me, I’m going to do the Dunsborough race in April. Thanks a lot, it was a really good event, I really enjoyed it.”
Nicole Hayes, 37 from Dunsborough, first time adventure racer and female champion said it was a really great day; the bike her favourite leg out there.
“I come from an ocean water background and I found the swim tough. But it was awesome, thanks everyone.”
Race director John Jacoby of organisers Rapid Ascent said the wind had been a bit problematic, presenting a few challenges to competitors.
“We had to modify the course a little bit, but I thought the competitors did really well. Whether racing for the win, a great time or purely for the adventure, well done on giving it all you had.
“We also had a huge number of kids in the Junior Survivor and the mini race which was really encouraging. They seemed to have a really good time, and performed really well, the kids in the swim leg were amazing, really, really strong, so well done.
“We’ve been blessed with beautiful sunny weather all weekend, there’s such a great vibe around, and everyone has seemed happy with the new course tweaks. Thanks everyone for making it such an awesome weekend of adventure racing here in Augusta.”
The Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Fest is proudly presented by Healthway with the support of Mentally Healthy WA, and the State Government through Tourism WA’s Regional Events Program, which is funded by Royalties for Regions.
Augusta is an adventure paradise and the Augusta Adventure Fest is the ultimate race experience for any outdoor enthusiast and those looking for their next adventure.
Check out all the event details at www.AugustaAdventureFest.com.au
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Sunday)
Act-Belong-Commit Augusta Adventure Race
OVERALL MALE TOP 3
1. Brody Baker 04:15:45.59 (30, Perth)
2. Tom Chadbourne 04:28:26.25 (35, North Fremantle )
3. Bart Hollemans 04:30:01.39 (45, Perth)
OVERALL FEMALE TOP 3
1. Kristen Gadsdon 04:37:56.49 (41, City Beach)
2. Elizabeth Dornom 04:46:09.86 (37, Melbourne)
3. Ariarn Huston 04:49:02.50 (28, Perth)
PRIME MALE TOP 3 (18-39)
1. Brody Baker 04:15:45.59
2. Tom Chadbourne 04:28:26.25
3. Bing Pasco 04:36:56.05 +00:30:00
PRIME FEMALE TOP 3 (18-39)
1. Elizabeth Dornom 04:46:09.86
2. Ariarn Huston 04:49:02.50
3. Phip Hughes 05:06:46.46
TEAM RESULTS – WINNERS
Team WA 03:26:28.36 Reece Baker, Reece Tucknott, Mike Lori and Simon Huitenga
Saltwater Sisters 05:08:28.39 Janelle Thompson, Jane Heaven, Waveney Eastaugh and Monique Vollprecht
STATE OF ORIGIN
1. Team WA 03:26:28.36 Reece Baker, Reece Tucknott, Mike Lori and Simon Huitenga
2. Team VIC 03:43:08.00 Drew Green, Cooper Jessen, Julian Spence and Russ Goulding
3. Team QLD 03:44:07.00 Rob Pomie, Nick Moore, Luke Ingwerson and Dave Witnee
Body Logic Physio 04:31:10.56 Mark Finucane, Chris Perkin, Sarah Young and Peter Osullivan
W's Only 04:32:55.57 Thomas Scott, Jehb O`Donohue, Daniel Coleman and Mitchell Jarman
Kill Or Cure 04:30:15.59 Mark Lee, Gavan Wise, Russell Thomson, Greg Pires
OPEN TEAM OF 2
Stosh 04:28:16.13 Steve Kane and Josh O'hart
VETERAN TEAM OF 2
The Lllama And The Seal 04:32:57.88 Peter Spencer and Jay Laurie
INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Saturday)
Act-Belong-Commit Augusta MINI Adventure Race
OVERALL MALE TOP 3
1. Steve Anstee 02:05:30.53
2. Brant Edwards 02:06:55.03
3. Chris Davison 02:12:37.25
OVERALL FEMALE TOP 3
1. Nicola Hayes 02:24:10.53
2. Melanie Rodrigue 02:32:32.10
3. Shar Baird 02:33:55.87
Event results are available HERE
More photos are avilable over on the Facebook page:
For your official race photos look out for your email from Supersport Images or head over to the website.
The event has been the pre-eminent adventure race in Australia and the largest Adventure Race in the world for over 11 years which started in Dunsborough in 2016.