39 teams from 13 countries gathered on the Cape St Francis Beach this morning ready for a rugged Expedition Africa, featuring larger racing legs that would cover the 500km adventure race.
A vuvuzela traditionally signalled the start to Africa's Adventure Racing World Series event, where teams raced along the coastline towards Port St Francis. Race organiser, Stephan Muller received communication regarding extreme sea conditions at the St Francis Harbour at 04h00 this morning. The decision was made to cancel the sea kayak and teams were informed that they would need to collect an alternative map at CP 1. Once collected, teams then proceeded to a new location, where their kayaks, backpacks and trackers were assembled and ready for their 25km paddle along the Kromme River.
With low tide fast approaching, teams often portaged along the sand banks of the Kromme before reaching Transition 2. After carrying their boats up an extremely steep hill, team members raced down the hill, ready to tackle the 6km canyon section before reaching Mpofu Dam for their 15km kayak leg.
Day one proved to be fast pace due to the shorter legs clustered together. Once teams completed their kayak along the Mpofu Dam, an 89km cycle awaited all 156 athletes.
Leading teams Skylotec Adventure (SWD), Thunderbolt (AUS) and East Wind (JAP) have raced incredibly throughout the day gaining an advantageous lead on the rest of the teams. It is expected that all three leading teams will reach Transition 5 before sunrise tomorrow. Tomorrow's race will prove to be an extremely interesting dot watching experience as teams will need to factor in the compulsory dark zone between Transition area 5 and 6 before taking on the 59km trekking leg.
South Africa's Nevarest Jabberwock have raced steadily, maintaining their energy levels throughout the day. However, unfortunately the team missed a CP during their cycle leg, of which they backtracked to collect once the team realised their mistake when reaching CP 14. Nevarest Jabberwock have since collected the control point and based on their trackers are doing their best to make up for lost time.
Track your favourite teams progress throughout the 500km adventure race via www.expafrica.live, and enjoy the thrilling dot watching experience that is expected to unfold during tomorrow's 59km trekking leg.
.Images: Bruce Viaene & Andreas Strandh