Well, that is a wrap on the 2020 Wildfire Raid. We had a great field of teams this year with 192 competitors, going well over our initial cap, and many of these were first time racers. I was pretty happy how the course came together, and felt confident that I would not have to backtrack again this year on my prediction that it would not be swept. Feedback is always gauged by the buzz before the start, the smiles out on course, and the cheer and thanks afterwards – all of this was in abundance on Saturday.
As always, I tend to start by acknowledging the race volunteers, and these were equally in abundance for this year’s event. I pretty much just need to copy and paste from any other race wrap I have written to start off – Paul Guard, Mark Wilson, Paul Maxwell, Mitchell Krome, Jo Thomae, Kerry Collins, and event co-organiser Liam St Pierre. These folks collectively form the backbone for so many races, we would be stuffed without them. We then had more volunteers coming out of nowhere than ever before, some who had never been involved in an Adventure Race before. So, in no particular order, a huge thank you to Karen Beath, Nick Beath, Sally Lawton, Lucas Bolton, Marylin Taylor, Georgia Kavanagh and Terry Wighton (and his mum!). Having some of the top local endurance athletes available to then sweep the course afterwards make life a lot easier as well: thank you Shaun Jackson, Bevan Koopman, Sean Henderson, and Matt Nauthe. To both Jason Averay (our on the ball medic) and Tarryn Vine (Jungle Bean Coffee), thanks heaps for being part of the event. Lastly, we owe thanks obviously to our title sponsors at Wildfire Sport and Trek for supporting the event.
Now, onto the results. As with all Raids, everyone is out for different reasons on the same course and crossing paths with each other throughout the event – I think that is part of the appeal. The range of routes teams took was great to see. That said, this is a summary of the pointy end of the field.
In the 6 Hour, the top mix was not surprisingly a bunch of familiar names in varying order (and perhaps not so familiar, where have the Tiger Cubs come from?!). I felt Rogue Adventure (Raid Adventure’s Liam pairing with super savvy Leo) justified them as faves for the overall win. However, in the end, the experience of GC Physio Tiger (Gary and Brit) saw them grab line honours with 20 points to spare. That makes backup wins now for Gary (having won the Wildfire Raid racing with Liam in 2019). Rogue Adventure came in second, whilst the race-wise Yoda (Brett and Clint) rounded out the podium in third. In the Women’s category, the Tri Adventure Aunties pairing of Jan and Kim unsurprisingly backed up from last year and took out the honours again (overall tneth). I would also like to give a nod to impressive first timers and family category winners Brioche (Geoff and his 15 year old daughter Sophie) who were only 150 points off the pace in overall eleventh.
The 3 Hour was one I was particularly fond of this year. We had so many family teams, it was just awesome to see kids as young as 6 years old in their oversized race bibs. In the end, only 30 points separated the top 4 teams, but it was the pairing from Easy Tiger (Tanya and Julien) claiming overall bragging rights on 530 points. Only 10 points behind them was BK73 (Kevin and Brad), while overall 3rd and family category winner was team Wyatt Riot 1 (Justin, and 10 year old Luca Wyatt) on 510.
In closing, I feel we are very lucky to be living where we are right now, perfectly placed in SE QLD for year round friendly weather in these times of uncertain travel. I have never seen so many new faces staring back at me at a novice briefing as there were last Saturday. In the last few weekends before Wildfire I saw a bumper number of teams taking their first steps into 24 hour racing at The Rogue Raid and Fairy/Hells Bells events (both of these races certainly pushed the pointy end racers as well though!) The new teams are clearly coming from different social networks as well, with groups like Tiger Adventure and Tri Adventure both bringing new faces into the sport and organising training for them. Tri Adventure are also running the upcoming female only Wild Women Race (10th Oct so get onto it ladies!). Next year will thankfully have our beloved Mojo Raid back on board, as well as the new ARWS Oceana Champs – and this is all just in SEQLD! Step across the border and you have another three A1 Series races (of which the Rogue Raid is a member), as well as 2 races in the ARWS Oceana Series. Simply plenty to choose from – or just do them all!
With the re-ignition of Ecochallenge on Amazon Prime television sparking an insane number of entry requests for its next running, it could (and should) be an exciting time for the sport in SEQLD. Together with the rogaining events organised by QRA (best value going around, and still two more this year! See the QRA web page for dates) and other nav sports like orienteering there have never been more opportunities to get involved, as both participants and also importantly as volunteers. Let’s all work together to grow this sport we love.
See you all at the next one!
Note – a full list of results, photos, race video, strava flyby and more can be found over at the Raid results page here.