Who will be Top Dog at the ARWS Oceania Championship race in Canberra?

November 2, 2023

There’s a new Top Dog in the city. That city is Canberra and Top Dog 24 is this year’s Adventure Racing World Series Oceania Championship race.

/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – There’s a new Top Dog in the city. That city is Canberra and Top Dog 24 is this year’s Adventure Racing World Series Oceania Championship race.

The race is the latest addition to the growing events calendar of Wild&Co and is the finale of the 2023 ARWS Oceania calendar. The series includes Geoquest (the longest established adventure race in Australia), the Hells Bells and Terra Nova races, and a new Geoquest New Zealand event.

Top Dog is a brand new 24/12 hour event and puts adventure racing ‘back in the ACT’. Race Director Chris Dixon commented, “I’m personally excited about bringing AR back to Canberra. It’s been many years (2017) since there was a race there and it’s time to bring the sport back because Canberra and the ACT are made for adventure racing!

“The ACT has an extensive network of world class mountain bike trails, incredible bushwalking opportunities across the multiple national parks and nature reserves, stunning vistas with mountains and fun kayaking opportunities with both manmade and natural waterways. It’s a fantastic adventure racing location and Top Dog will explore the best it has to offer.”

The race HQ is the Pavilion at Stromlo Forest Park, known as Australia’s premier multi-use recreational sporting facility. The 12,000 hectare park is in the heart of the Molonglo Valley, surrounded by spectacular views and pristine waterways. Only 15 minutes from the city centre, the Park includes over 50km of mountain bike trails and both the Centenary Trail and Bicentennial National Trail pass through the grounds.

The race is open to teams 2 and 4 person teams in mixed (premier), female or male categories and teams stay together through the whole course.

The race format is a linear course designed around a 75+km course for the half course (Little Dog) and 120+km for the full Top Dog course, with a series of extra ‘Pro’ check points for teams competing for the title of ARWS Oceania Champions. (These will push the race distance up by another 30km.)

Teams will need to navigate to choose a route to some checkpoints, so the final distance will depend on how good their map and compass skills are!

The full course will feature plenty of single track, kayaking in both moving water and flat water, navigational challenges both on and off trail and some epic gravel and back county roads. The half course will stay a little closer to the race HQ and will be a great taste of what it’s like to complete a 24hr adventure race.

Teams will be arriving around the country, with some travelling from Queensland to take part. The team list features a lot of up and coming racers, many new to the sport in the last few years, and it will be exciting to see these new teams come through the ranks.

Queensland team Chatter Express who won Hells Bells are real contenders, Mountain Designs Wild Women will be strong, as will Adventurethon Australia from North Queensland. They will be pitted against southern teams including the Wild Yacks who are seasoned racers.

All of the teams entered will be part of the ARWS Oceania ranking and for those entered in the Oceania Championship there is a big prize on offer for the winners.

They will receive a free place at the 2024 Adventure Racing World Championship, which will be held in November next year in Ecuador! (They will be only the second team to be guaranteed a place, following the newly crowned World Champions, the Swedish Armed Forces Adventure Team, who won the title in South Africa last week.)

It could be a wide open race and there will be live satellite tracking so race fans can follow the progress and navigational choices of all the teams. The link for dot watchers to go to is; https://live.trackmelive.com.au/topdog23/

There will also be regular updates and commentary on the @Wldnco social media pages.

The race is sponsored by Mountain Designs and Trail Brew.

You can find the full programme of Wild & Co races at https://www.wldnco.com/event-calendar These include a series of 3-6 hour races and the 6 day/500km Legend Expedition race on the Great Ocean Road next February, which is an ARWS Qualifier.