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Polar Race 2005 News

3 May 2022 - South Africans make history in the Arctic

Dugald Macdonald, Peter Berning and Ted Adam of the Ikey Icemen,
the first South Africans to walk to the Pole – © Mike Whiteside

The South African Ikey Icemen team of Dugald Macdonald, Peter Berning and Ted Adam completed the Polar Race at the 1996 certified position of the Magnetic North Pole at 16:10 today, and in so doing entered their country's history books by becoming the first South Africans to walk to the Pole.

The team was the inspiration of former Springbok Dugald Macdonald who had already rowed the Atlantic Ocean.

It was for them a triumph over all the odds and very much a team effort, with former pilot Peter Berning in charge of communications and the "terrier like" Ted Adam in charge of navigation.

All were very tired and each had lost a stone in weight as a result of their arduous trek, but overjoyed at such an amazing experience.

2 May 2022 - Neways Polar Team squeeze home to win Wedgwood Blue Ice Trophy

Christina Franco and Justin Packshaw
of Neways Polar Team – © Steve Pinfield

Despite a spirited effort by Gentlemen Adventurers in the dying hours of the current Polar Race, the UK/Italian team of Justin Packshaw and Christina Franco deservedly won the Wedgwood Blue Ice Trophy as overall winners of Polar Race 2005.

There was a great deal of tactics and some good natured gamesmanship involved on the last leg. Neways Polar Team knew that they just had to stay in contact with the Adventurers to win and were therefore going to track their every move. The Gentlemen Adventurers being aware of this steered a course over the steepest and hardest part of the Noice Peninsula in the hope that, as the better skiers, they could build up enough of a cushion to bring back the deficit.

Neways Polar Team were not to be denied their win however, and stuck to the Adventurers trail like limpets. Despite losing the last leg by 8 hours they retained the overall lead by 5½ hours at the finish and have been declared the provisional winners of the Polar Race, probably the toughest race in the world.

Third behind Gentlemen Adventurers was the Cable and Wireless Polar Team, fourth the Northern Stars, fifth Pole Position, and the Ikey Icemen on course to finish tomorrow.

1 May 2022 - Gentlemen Adventurers battle to the last

James Laban and Will Morton of Gentlemen
Adventurers. Tired, but satisfied, after winning
the final leg – © Paul Theobald

The Gentlemen Adventurers, James Laban and Will Morton, fought their way through a whiteout to finish first in the final leg of the Polar Race. They arrived there at 11:53 local time and must now wait the arrival of the pursuing Neways Polar Team and Northern Stars to see if they have managed to win the Wedgwood Blue Ice Trophy for first overall.

It was a truly amazing performance by the Gentlemen Adventurers in a last ditch attempt to take the overall lead. They covered 40 nautical miles (46 statute miles) in just under 24 hours during which they also negotiated the land mass of the Noice Peninsula on Ellef Ringnes Island. This is quite exceptional considering they had already raced over 300 miles. They achieved this into a 30 knot headwind and whiteout conditions.

We will only know later this evening whether they have done enough.

Back at Checkpoint 3 the South African Ikey Icemen left the checkpoint at a slightly slower pace, in their own attempt to make history by becoming the first South African team to reach the Pole. Only 3 days separate them from history.

30 April 2022 - Northern Stars taken to task

The fourth and final leg of the Polar Race started at noon today.

There are four teams vying for either an overall win or a leg win. The teams that reported in tonight reported bad conditions but all seemed to be making good speed as they headed towards the Noice Peninsula of Ellef Ringnes Island. Recent reports put the peninsula as being bare of snow but conditions in the past 24 hours have corrected this and should make for some deep soft snow in the passes.

If all goes well, tomorrow we hope to be able to announce the winner!

Charlie Newington-Bridge, Alex Williams and David Aston
of Northern Stars – © David Aston

The final team to have the rule run over them in this year's Polar Race are the Northern Stars, who are an interesting mix.

All are used to running their eyes over figures — financial ones that is! We have an accountant, a banker and an investment manager. Two of the team, Alex Williams and Charlie Newington-Bridges, have competed in endurance events before, both having previously run in the Marathon des Sables (a 150 mile race across the Sahara Desert).

The odd one out at first, was David Aston who had no real physical background but what David lacks in physical presence is more than compensated for in his sheer determination and a meticulous approach to any task he undertakes. Unstoppable, he just keeps on going no matter what you throw at him.

Alex on the other hand is highly disciplined in all he does with a very enquiring mind. Don't make a slip or he will suss it out immediately! It is Alex whose presence has shaped the direction of this team, which is highly motivated and very focussed.

Charlie is the "cement" in the sandwich, more laid back and tolerant than the other two; probably because he has young children!

As a team, when they want to push they push very hard indeed, as witnessed by their 30 miles in 20 hours at the end of Leg 3.

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