Swisse Active’s Jarad Kohlar and James Pretto cross the finish line in Hobart on Sunday.
The Swisse Active team took the lead on the opening day of the five-day Challenge in Launceston, and were never headed, despite and tough battle with pre-event favourites, New Zealanders Richard Ussher and Braden Currie, competing Team Tasmania.
To cap off a perfect week, Swisse Active crossed the finish line first on the final day to showcase their domination of the event finishing one hour two minutes and 39 seconds clear of their rivals.
Last year’s winners, Team Iron House’s Mark Padgett and Mark Hinder were third, two hours 34 minutues and 10 seconds behind the winners.
For Kohlar and Pretto, the $20,000 first prize was an added bonus.
Formula 1 star Mark Webber congratulations the winners of his 2012 Challenge.
“I’m really stoked to win. I’ve raced quite a lot this year, doing five races in China and putting together my own team,” Kohlar said.
“It’s really hard to win a big international race. We’ve had a few thirds and sevenths and a couple of did not finishes this year, but it’s awesome to come down to Tassie and race around some beautiful country.
“To have a win and beat Richard and Braden, and the two Marks, it does mean a lot.”
His team-mate, Pretto, was just as thrilled with their victory.
“I’m always trying to chase Jarad down in the run and on that last run leg he was running away from me a bit, so I had to yell at him to slow down, but it was a really good five days and I’ve loved it.
“There was fantastic scenery and fantastic support from the sponsors and all the communities who cheer us on. It makes a huge difference.
“It’s super exciting to win Mark’s Challenge and I’m just really happy with how we went. We had the perfect race.”
Jarad Kohlar leads the field through the bush near Hobart on the final morning.
The second place New Zealanders battled illness across the final two days of the event, and some equipment failure on day three, but pushed on gamely to finish on the podium.
“The tough part for us today was the first run. We pushed pretty hard to hold on there, and it wasn’t easy out there today,” team leader, Richard Ussher, said.
“We just tried to hang on and then on the paddle leg we knew we could relax a bit and bring it home.
“I rate this event extremely highly and some of the sections we’ve done here have rivalled anything we’ve done anywhere in the world. Tasmania’s a beautiful spot and a great place to hold an adventure race.
“I love the format with shorter days and stages, but still with the navigation, which is pretty unique. It’s just a fantastic event.
“We’ve had a lot of stuff that’s happened this week that’s out of our control, and some things that we just stuffed up, but sometimes you get that in racing and you’ve got to roll with the punches. I definitely hope to be back next year.”
Fourth place went to Pure Tasmania, the French pairing of Mimi Guillot and Jacky Boiset, followed by the Renault combination of ironman Guy Andrews and race partner Robert Pomie.
2012 London Olympians, Karstern Forsterling and Chris Morgan, who won a bronze medal in the Men’s quadruple scull, contested the event for the first time as James Boag, as did the glamour team of the event, surfer Sally Fitzgibbons and ironwomen Jordan Mercer, the Red Bullettes, who were a highly creditable seventh.
Swisse Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge
Results after Day 4 of 5
1. Swisse Active (Jarad Kohlar (Vic) and James Pretto (Vic))
2. Tasmania (Richard Usser (NZ) and Braden Currie (NZ)) +1h 02m 39s
3. Iron House (Mark Padgett (TAS) and Mark Hinder (TAS)) +2h 34m 10s
4. Pure Tasmania (Mimi Guillot (FRA) and Jacky Boiset (FRA)) +4h 10m 35s
5. Renault (Guy Andrews / Robert Pomie, QLD)) +7h 23m 51
1. Back Country Adventure Addicts (David Leggo (VIC) and Jarrod Mitchell (VIC))
2. Tilford Auto Group (Craig Roden (TAS) and Mark Vanderstaay (TAS)) +2h 27m 22s
3. Xtech (Tim Robinson (VIC) and Dean Hemburrow (VIC)) +3h 26m 52s
Enthustiast Team of 3
1. Renault Sport (Caine Eckstein (QLD), Deanna Blegg (VIC), Taylor Cecil (QLD)
2. Rexona (Ken Wallace, Courtney Atkinson, Gary Lloyd Sutherland (QLD)) + 31m 26s
3. Rexona No Quit (Chris Capel, Glenn DiSalvia, Eric Charpentier (NSW)) +5h 26m 34s
ABOUT DAY 5
The day started on the top of the majestic Mount Wellington, one of Tasmania’s highest and most famous peaks.
The first leg on the final day was a high-speed seven kilometre descent on mountain bikes, followed by a 15 kilometre orienteering run around the beautiful Wellington Park, with up to 14 control points to visit.
Then it was a punishing 15 kilomtre ride and a further 13 kilometre ride to Tolosa Park in Glenorchy, with another seven control points along the way.
From the city’s outskirts, it was off for one final orienteering leg, a nine kilometre run to the Derwent River at Cornelian Bay.
After crossing the bay in their kayaks, the paddle course hugged the river’s edge below the magnificent Queen’s Domain, before crossing under the Tasman Bridge on the way to Sullivan’s Cove, in the historic heart of Hobart.
All that remained was a run to the finish line at the Henry Jones Art Hotel, a restored jam factory that has contributed greatly to the city’s growing reputations as a must-see for global tourists.
The finish coincided with the Swisse Mark Webber Challenge Adventure Run, a citizens’ event that gives everyone a chance to race the mighty Mark Webber himself!