SWECO Take Second as ITERA Wraps Up
Through day 5 of ITERA teams were arriving in Inverness city centre, riding in past the castle to the finish line in the plaza outside the Eastgate Shopping Centre. South African, Irish and other national flags were been displayed by happy teams coming over the line.
Perhaps none were happier than SWECO, who crossed the line in somewhat unexpected second place, having completed the full course in 100 hours 04 minutes and 18 seconds! They had no doubt felt they would get third place behind Columbia Vidaraid, but the race is never over until reaching the finish line and Vidaraid were struggling to do that.
After a navigational error which cost them a couple of frustrating hours they stopped at Ivermoriston Post Office for several more hours where Craig Tweedie was stretched out on a picnic bench outside the shop. The shop owner bought out some blankets and the team waited for him to recover.
This is where SWECO came across them, and stopped briefly to speak to them and ask if all was OK. Then they pushed on now secure in second place. As Thomas Norlander said, “We could ride to the finish with no pressure.”
On the finish line the team were happy with their result, one of the best of a long career racing. “It was 20 years ago we started a local mulitsports club and we are still here racing!” said Mattias Carling,. Tomas Norlander added, “I have finished in ARWS in second and third before and it’s pleasing to finish such a tough course.”
None of the teams finishing would argue with that, it has pushed team to their absolute limits, each achieving as much as they could. Brian Gatens of NYARA said, “That was great, one of the best and very well organised and delivered.”
When Columbia Vidaraid reached the finish line as the last team to arrive in mid-afternoon it was a bitter sweet finish as they had ridden along the main A82 to get there, which was specifically forbidden, so the team became unranked after their amazing effort. Jon Ander Arambalza said, “We pushed really hard. I asked the team if they want to go for first and they said yes, so we had to with little sleep and race hard all the way, and when you do that with a new team you might get a good result, or you might not.”
On the short course none of the teams really knew quite how they placed, though they had a good idea. When all the penalties for missed sections were added the results showed that top of the short course list and so 3rd overall were Endurancelife with the Endurancelife Development team in 4th overall.
This is an amazing result for the mentored team and Phil Scarf said, “It worked well with two experienced racers and two newbies, and the young racers got on well and helped each other. Tim did much of the navigating until the said he could do no more and we got our strategy right. We knew the wind was rising on day one so cut all the controls we could to get the paddle as early as possible and finish it before conditions got worse.” That was key to their result.
Team Swiss/UK Adventurers, who for so long held out be a full course team, were 5th overall after being instructed to take the road route back to the finish from Fort Augustus because they arrived after 6am.
In total at the final count there were just two full course finishers, 25 short course finishers, and 10 unranked or retired, but wherever they finished each and every team taking part had experience the wild and beautiful Scottish Highlands and had a race they will never forget.
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