OLD HOUSE HOTEL Comox Valley Nissan Banzai paddlers Ron Williams (left) and Bill Brett run up the boat ramp at the finish line of the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race at the Comox Marina.

OLD HOUSE HOTEL Comox Valley Nissan Banzai paddlers Ron Williams (left) and Bill Brett run up the boat ramp at the finish line of the Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race at the Comox Marina.

North Island Tanks new Royal Le Page Snow To Surf champions

Perennial powerhouse Banzai DQ'd after experiencing mechanical woes

The North Island Tanks rolled over the opposition in impressive fashion to take top spot in the 2014 Royal LePage Comox Valley Snow to Surf Adventure Relay Race on Sunday.

The Victoria-based Men’s Open team led from start to finish (Mount Washington to Marina Park) and had a comfortable four-minute lead by the time paddler Yannick Michaud rang the bell at the boat ramp in Comox. In his Royal Le Page Snow To Surf debut, Michaud said the team knew they had a good lead heading to the finish line, but had to quickly recover when their canoe tipped.

The Tanks’ victory ended a long reign of the Old House Hotel  Comox Valley Nissan Banzai, who had who have won the event some 20 times. This year, bike breakdowns best the Banzai and they ended up being disqualified. “Our mountain biker Matt Powsey’s derailleur broke and he ended up carrying his bike four kilometres,” said Banzai captain Bill Brett.

“Then our road cyclist Don Gillmore’s front frame fell apart and he was DQ’d.” Brett was philosophical about his team’s loss. “It had to happen eventually. It’s still a fun race. We thank our sponsors for their support.” Added Banzai runner Steven Royer, “We win together as a team, we lose together as a team. And we drink beer together as a team.”

In a pre-race interview, Brett identified the Tanks as one of three teams the Banzai had to watch out for this year. He said his team, which still has five original members from 1995, will hold their usual post-race debriefing and decide on their plans for next year.

Michaud was exuberant to have won the race, while his other teammates acknowledged it felt good to finally take the overall title away from their longtime rival the Banzai.

Race chairman Rick Gibson  said this year’s 32nd running of the event went well, despite the planned revival of the Saturday parade being scrapped due to a low number of entries. A new feature this year was a timing system that allowed results to be posted immediately to the race website (www.snowtosurf.com). Gibson said the race committee will be discussing plans to use the new system to provide split times in each leg of the relay race next year.

(In an announcement after press time Monday, Gibson noted the online results were not yet official).

Tsunami CEL was second overall and Cona Hostel took third.

Team Toscanas won the Open Women’s division where WOW was second and Riding Fool Hostel Beauties third. Speedy Sloth won the Open Mixed division, Trail Bicycles took the honours in Masters Men, Team ELM! won Masters Women, Yin was first in Masters Mixed, Tombstones topped Grand Masters Men, Pedal Your World Optimists won Grand Masters Women, Trollers Fish and Chips were tops in Grand Masters Mixed, Formidable Friends went unchallenged in Great Grand Masters Mixed, as did Strachcona Domination in Juniors Mixed. UBC IMPact won Missing Members, Life Cycles won Great Grant Masters Men, Team Pararescue topped Military Open Men, 443 Sqn. Trunkmoney topped Military Masters Men and Ultra Sexy and We Know It was tops in Military Missing Members.

FINISH LINES The Tanks won the overall title in 2009 when the Banzai took the year off … the rain that threatened briefly Sunday held off…venerable race announce Greg Phelps was back behind the mic despite dealing with an aching back … the new snowshoe leg went off well … teams came from as far as Dawson Creek to compete …


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