Note that this article was first published 15 April 2016 at Rogue Adventure.
Every year in the build up to the Rogue Adventuregaine, we take time out to have a look at the contenders for the title. I don’t like to get too hung up on the race for first place. In an adventure race, every team is out there pushing their own personal limits, with the course itself the main competition. With the rogaine format, you can pretty much guarantee that every team has set themselves the challenge of moving for 24hrs through the trails, waterways and untracked creeks and spurs of the Australian bush. But we can’t deny a definite interest in the competition at the pointy end and who will come out on top.
A look through the team list of the sold out Rogue24 has me flagging three teams as serious contenders for the title. The first of these is team ARea51, formerly team RUSH. The defending champions, Russ and Shaun have competed in every edition of the Rogue and have never finished any worse than second place. They return to try and make it a three-peat performance, and I suspect from the rumors going around they have been training accordingly.
Team ARea51 face stiff competition in the form of team Explore. Darren and Paul lost effectively by one check point last year after cutting the course short by 2 hours and abandoning the last stage due to extreme wind and cold on the final paddle leg. They will be hungry for the win this year as they build up towards the world rogaine championships, and hold the homeground advantage with the host location of D’Aguilar National Park on Paul’s back door step.
My third pick for genuine title contenders are one of our dark horse interstate teams: BMX Bandits. Chris has multiple podiums in the mixed category with team “Husband and Wife” of previous Rogue24 races, including a third place overall at last year’s race. He has lost his better half this year, but has picked up the experienced Dave Ellis of BMX bandits who will be racing his first Rogue24. I’ll be very curious to see how this team manages the hills of D’Aguilar national park and the strategic choices of the Rogue24.
Aside from the race for the overall title, there are many races within the race. The Kiwi’s of Dated Loaf and Pikelet will be crossing the ditch to renew their rivalry in the vets category with the Australian navigational wizardry of Bicycles Without Bruce. And in the women’s category, it would be hard to go past the Tri Adventure Aunties team although the Mad-Mave-Torpedos will provide them with tough competition and it could go either way. Do not be surprised to see both these teams figure highly in the overall standings as well.
A quick glance through the 6hr event entry list has it as a much more open affair, and I truly hesitate to pick a winner. (EDITED NOTE 21/04/2016 – the last minute entry of team Mountain Designs as an all male team sees a firm favourite emerge in the 6hr course). Indeed, with so many interstate teams and strong entries in the 24hr course, I would not be surprised to see a top results from a team not mentioned above. One thing for sure is that whoever goes home with the trophy, it will be well deserved: they will need excellent navigation, a strong pair of legs and lungs, cunning strategy and dogged perseverance to come out on top.
Final race information will be sent out in the week before the event, but all the relevant details can be found on the race website here. A big thank you to our sponsors, ARea51 and all the volunteers who have helped get the event to this point. A few clues from the course including approximate distances, numbers of check points and photos from scouting trips can be found on the Rogue Adventure Facebook page here. Best of luck to all teams in their final preparation, and I will see you at the start line of the Rogue Adventuregaine in a little over a week.