Two of New Zealand’s youngest multisporters are set to race at the upcoming Red Bull Defiance in Wanaka as Team Barracuda Kayaks.
The high profile young sportsmen, Cameron Jones (17 years) and Oliver Thompson (17 years) placed 1st and 2nd respectively at the Kathmandu Coast to Coast last year in the two-day event. Next week they will join other leading competitors in the elite category of the two day Red Bull Defiance.
Jones from Nelson has just completed an epic year in multisport becoming the youngest ever winner of New Zealand's three big events, the two day Coast to Coast, the 3D Rotorua Multisport Festival Championships and the Finesigns Crazyman.
“ I am currently the No.1 Junior XC mountain biker in New Zealand and last year represented the country in Cairns at the UCI MTB World Championships. This year my focus is fully on XC, and currently I’m training for the summer season here then will be building up to the World Champs in Switzerland in September,” says Cameron.
He says he is stoked to be hanging out in Wanaka with the world’s best multisporters.
“Red Bull Defiance actually doesn’t fit into my summer’s MTB race calendar at all, but it’s an event I have always dreamed of doing. When Oliver asked me to race, there was only ever going to be one answer, and that was yes."
Both young multisporters have developed a passion for adventure sports and are motivated to compete in longer, more challenging events to push the limits. Thompson, who hails from Whakatane, and was named NZ Secondary School Multisport Champion in 2016 – 2017, says the Red Bull Defiance is the perfect next step.
"Being able to compete as a two-person team with Cameron is something that is different from other events for me. I think this is a good opportunity to combine our strengths as a team and adds to the uniqueness of the event," says Oliver.
“My biggest achievements to date are claiming second individual overall at the two day Coast to Coast last year, being named the secondary school multisport champion and being the youngest individual to compete at the Motu Challenge & Motu 160 in 2016 at 15 years of age.Last year I placed 4th at that event.”
The pair will be flying the flag for Barracuda Kayaks at Red Bull Defiance. Cameron Jones says they will be in their element paddling the unique Barracuda Duo kayaks that are made specifically for adventure racing.
“Oliver and I are well matched with running and with his paddling strength and my MTB strength should make a good team. We reckon we will be one of the fastest teams out on the water.”