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GeoQuest 2009 Reports

Look at the Line up 2009 - Contenders and Pretenders.

Mountain Designs GeoQuest is THE adventure race each year that brings together the very best teams from across the country. Hopes are high but in such a competitive field, few champions are crowned and the hopes of many more are drowned. To sate your hunger, like Pringles and Coke at 2am, here is a preview of the contenders and pretenders for 2009. The authors take full responsibility for inaccurate information and warn you now there is likely more fiction than fact. It has been written over a glass or two of red wine and proofing has been omitted. Enjoy the preview!

Contenders – Looking for a win

APEX (Christie Sym, Hugh Stodart, Simon Manson, Guy Andrews) (NSW)
These are the current super stars of GeoQuest. With the shortest odds of all teams you can expect to see these guys laying down the gauntlet to the others. Christie and the boys came second in 07 then left the field eating dust to win in 08. Down a 4th team member, Guy has been promoted from their high speed support crew driver to their fully fledged number 4. Apex are good at everything, always looking composed, and they like to control and dictate the race from the front. Catch em if you can!

Mountain Designs (Gary Sutherland, Brett Stevens, Brit Caling, Craig Stevens) (QLD)
Winners of the GeoQuest a couple of years ago, this team has been threatening to retire ever since then. Each year though their wives and families nag them to enter so they can go somewhere for a holiday (join them for a glass of wine near the HQ tent!). Team Mountain Designs are strong in everything, experienced and always pushing to the limit (as proof they have finished on the podium 4 out of their last 6 GeoQuests). They will be hoping for Rubic cubes during the race and sausages at the end to spur them to victory.

Blackheart (Damon Georke…) (VIC)
While Damon is always holding an Ace up his sleeve, unfortunately he often ends up with a team of jokers (so he tells us). Back in the early days members of this team won the GeoQuest and these horses are looking to bring back those glory days. As the current undisputed expedition AR champs of Australia, the punters are starting to again throw some money their way. Great strategy and tactics, top navigation and all round fitness are this teams strengths – but it always comes down too… is the race long enough?? Possibly as a tactic, Damon is keeping his team a secret right to the last. Watch them, they are the Wiley Coyotes of the race. (Rob Preston…) (VIC)
While Rob is keeping his team line up a secret as well, authors guess that he has big plans for this race. One of our countries recent jet setting adventure racers Rob has been appearing as a ring in for many international teams recently. He may even bring back some high profile international racers for a crack at first place, who knows… With his orienteering background this team is unlikely to get lost out there. Solid in the other disciplines but with an unknown line up punters are sitting on the fence. Hi Kerry, yes Rob is ok.

Pretenders – Possible podium

Nga Rakau (Tim Cochrane…) (NZ)
A gun team from New Zealand out to show the Aussies how to race. This team won an entry to Geo through placing second in the very competitive ARC 24hr in NZ. Concentration is their weakness as the have a tendency to get distracted while racing (e.g. convincing innocent old ladies to cook for them in the middle of the night). Their strengths are in longer distances (4th XPD 08) so 48hrs may not be enough time to wind them up.

TBA (Mounty) (Sam Maffet, Richard Mountstephens, Kris Plain, Katrin Van der Spiegel) (VIC)
OK – these guys are here to make an impact. Sam was in the winning team in 07 and Richard has flirted with the podium. Kris and Katrin round out the team giving a depth of individual multisport and mountain bike talent. Don’t let your guard down around this team.

Keen Torqers (Stewart Cowey, Del Lloyd, Grant Suckling, Luke) (VIC)
This energetic group scared a few teams at the XPD Whitsundays race by spending some time at the front of the pack. Eventually they placed 5th but being penalized into 8th place for some dodgy shenanigans on course. Some good placings at other races give them a mention in this category but being their first GeoQuest together this horse will draw long odds.

SCAR (Robbie Andrews, Danielle Gage, Rob Gowland, Mark Cumming) (QLD)
This team from the sunshine coast is yet to hit the big time at GeoQuest. Being beaten by an all girls team last year has the author wondering why they have even made it to this list? Well, based their form winning Hells Bells 24hr race the last two years running, there is an outside chance we will see these spritely competitors on the podium. Good across all disciplines they are worth keeping an eye on. Watch out GOT, the word nemesis has been mentioned once, or twice, or thrice…


The following teams amongst many other, should endeavour to keep the field honest and make it almost impossible for a male team to crack the top 10 finishers. Look out for the following dark horse teams – Tasman (ACT), Phoenix Adventure (QLD), Fugawhe (ACT), Austrelaps (ACT).

The Girls

Cowgirls Tri Adventure (Jan Leverton, Kim Beckinsale, Narelle Ash, Wendy Read) (QLD)
This is the strongest edition of the Cowgirls that Geo has ever seen which indicates that the gauntlet is down. The all male teams can’t get near them and the mixed category better watch out as well. There is one small problem… their nemesis from across the Tasman is back! A close race in 07 saw the Cowgirls and Girls On Top racing each other all the way to the finish. The cowgirls lost that bout and with no re-match possible the following year, in 2009 they want revenge!

Girls on Top (Debbie Chambers, Anne Lowerson, Britney Ellesmere, Erin Roberts) (NZ)
Despite the humour in their bios, these girls are deadly serious competitors and will trample any team in their way and laugh while they are doing it. The depth of experience from Debbie and Annie form the rock of this team. These girls kicked many egos last year by crossing the line in 8th and beating all the Male teams to the finish line.

The Boys

Team Red (QLD), More Training Required (NSW) and Echo (QLD) stand out as the All Male teams to watch. A number of first time teams are also entered in the male category that could cause an upset. However it is hard to go past teams with previous Geo race experience – it really does count for a lot.

Final Thoughts

2009 has the biggest field to date with 70 teams starting across both the full and half courses. It is impossible to mention all teams and in fact the wine ran out long before we could tackle the 27 odd teams in the Geo-Half. I guess we will all have to eagerly await the results, either at Forster or from the comfort of our keyboards following the live coverage. We all look forward to an amazing race, be it for the podium, or just for the finish line, see you soon!








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