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Webber's best result of the year?

NEWS STORY
16/10/2006

WilliamsF1's Mark Webber, scored his best result of 2006 yesterday when he formed part of a three man team which finished second out of a 160 strong field.

However, his success didn't come on the race track but rather on a 22-mile muddy course through a British army firing range in Hampshire, England! The Sweatshop Challenge, a round of the Helly Hansen Adventure Challenge series, was a one day adventure race which saw teams tackling a 7 mile run, the first part through water and under assault course nets, followed by a 16 mile mountain bike trail, as well as a stage of inland water kayaking in inflatable canoes! The rules of the race meant the members had to stay together throughout all stages and had to cross the finish line as a team.

Webber was using the exercise as part of his preparation for his own five day adventure race, the Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge, which takes place in the Australian island state between November 5-10. He had been encouraged to enter the race by fellow MWPTC participant Dee Caffari (who, earlier this year, became the first woman to sail around the world solo the wrong way, against the prevailing winds and currents). While Dee entered the same SpinVox team which will enter the Tasmania Challenge, Mark teamed up with UK-based triathletes, Andy Blow and Eliot Challifour, in their Votwo team. Although the other two are seasoned adventure racers, Webber felt that he didn't let the team down too much, as the three actually led for a portion of the race - eventually finishing only one minute behind the winning team.

"As always with these events, you never know exactly what they entail." Said Webber afterwards. "The guys from Votwo and I certainly had our stronger phases of the race, and there were other areas where I definitely learnt quite a lot from my guys about competing in these long, multi-disciplined events. It would've been nice to get one place better, but in the end the winning team was just a bit more complete.

"The race was pretty zapping to be honest, especially the bike section which was over difficult terrain. The race was a nice little appetiser leading up to the Challenge, and I'll be tweaking a few things in my preparations for that event, now that I've highlighted a few weak areas. It was certainly nice to finish on the podium for the first time this season!"

The Mark Webber Pure Tasmania Challenge (Nov 5-10) has attracted 12 teams of four, including three all-female teams and a number of well-known Australians. Britain's Olympic gold medallist and rowing World Champion, James Cracknell, will join Webber in the Pure Tasmania team, along with Matt Dalziel, a Tasmanian and a four time Australian wild water racing champion. The five day course, which will help to raise funds for TLC for Kids and the Cancer Council Tasmania's Cancer Plus programme, has been designed to test participants both mentally and physically, and will cover almost 600kms in five days as the course makes its way from Launceston to Hobart through the Cradle Mountain National Park and along the rugged coast line of remote Strahan. The disciplines will include mountain biking, trekking, kayaking and navigation, with a number of mystery challenges thrown in. The teams will be camping out for the majority of the days and will be responsible for setting up their own camps and carrying their own daily supplies. During the course of the event, a number of Australian sporting celebrities will be dropping in to contest certain stages of the race, including cricket legend David Boon, Olympic rower Mike McKay, cyclist Shane Kelly OAM, and retired AFL star Alastair Lynch.

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