Adventure Racing World Championships here in Ecuador. Not only have we seen nearly every team hit with a major penalty, it has had a major impact on the standings as well. While the controversial ruling from the race organizers has left some teams incredibly dissatisfied – including the team that was leading the race yesterday – it looks like all appeals are likely to fall on deaf ears, which means we could have a dark cloud hanging over the event.
The penalty came about because the race's rule book specifically says that during Stage 3 of the race, all teams must keep the river on their left at all times. All but three teams – Seagate, Team Silva, and Team Polaska AR – failed do to this, with most of the teams crossing the river at the wrong point. As a result, the three teams that obeyed the rules had longer times on that leg. To make up for this mistake, race leadership is enforcing a four-hour penalty on all of the teams, save the three listed above.
This has obviously had a major impact on the race. As I write this, Team Seagate is now in the lead, with a two-and-a-half-hour head start on Columbia Vidaraid of Spain. The French team of Caffte UPS Maurien/Vanois is now in third place, three hours and 15 minutes behind the leaders. That squad was in the lead when they were hit with the penalty.
With a few days to go until the first team is expected to arrive at the finish line, there is still time for anyone to make up ground. But Seagate is a very experienced team that doesn't make many mistakes, and catching them is going to be very hard. Still, anything can happen at this point, which is why it'll still be interesting to see how everything plays out. Hopefully, this penalty won't have an impact on the ultimate winner.
You can follow the race live by clicking here. The site includes the most current locations for each squad, and has the latest news and commentary on what is happening out on the course.