Update from Antarctica
By Paul van Schalkwyk Race
Position S 84 36.086 E019 28.12
Race Drama In the First Twenty Four hours of Scott-Amundsen South Pole challenge
After only twenty-four hours into the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race to the South Pole the drama has begun.
The Norwegians took off on a flying start and set a blistering pace covering at least 50 kilometres. They also seemed to be tracking their own route that deviates from the other athletes.
The boys from Norway caused a major upset at the starting line when they arrived with skis fitted under their pulks (sled). There is nothing in the race rules that specifies that one cannot do this so it was allowed by the race organiser, Extreme World Races. It is clear that this team have set their sights not only on winning the race but also to finish in a record time.
Seasoned observers have pointed out that this is not a speed race but rather an endurance marathon. It remains to be seen if the Norwegians can keep up their fast pace. During the preparations for the race the Norwegian team was very secretive about their strategy and the equipment they were going to use. Norway has a reputation for delivering explorers and it is in this tradition that the team has entered the challenge.
Shortly before they left for Antarctica they announced a name change from “Long Story Short” to “Framdrift”. According to them, the first name indicated that they wanted to bring a final and short end to the century old debate about Scott versus Amundsen. Their new name, they explained, is a combination of Amundsen’s ship’s name, Fram, which means forward and the word “drift” which can be translated as drive or force. In other words their new name can be said to mean a “ Forceful Forward Drive”. Thus, a clear expression of their intent.
The rest of the field was grouped more or less together within six kilometers of each other when they stopped for sleep and rest.
First to set up camp was the Tri-National team with Gavin Moran, James Raaff and Frank Runge, about 29 kilometres from the start.
Braam Malherbe and Peter van Kets, the South African entrants, were second to set up camp at 35 kilometres as planned. Unfortunately, Braam is still taking a lot of strain from a chest infection. He had a sleepless night due to coughing and vomiting, depriving not only himself, but also his team mate from much needed sleep. Braam’s physical appearance is not very assuring but both members are very positive and upbeat. “We are taking it one day at a time“, they said and, “I am finishing no matter what”, Braam added.
The race organisers have arranged for the expedition doctor, Dr. Ian Davis to check on Braam’s condition once they meet up with them.
The surprise package in the race may turn out to be the Welsh team with Mark Morris and Billy Morgan. They are quite relaxed does not seem to be phased at all by the Norwegians explosive start.
Team British green, with Jason Bolton, Andrew Carnie and Benjamin Boyne was slightly handicapped during the first day in the race with Jason suffering from an extreme migraine attack.
Marc Woods, and his team mate James Mark displayed true sportsmanship when they carried the extra weight of a mattress lost by one of the teams in front of them. Marc is participating with an artificial leg and so far he is holding his own in the back of the field, despite the fact that he does not have the benefit of a heel which is a serious drawback on the inclines.