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Discussion: Godzone and ARWS...

in: Adventure Racing; General

Mar 2, 2017 2:45 AM # 
broots:
Interesting news from the ARWS facebook feed this evening. On one level, I'm not surprised to hear this. Rumblings of Godzone going its own way circulated last year, and Warren himself not-so-subtly hinted at it in public forums (Randy's last podcast with him included some discussion on the matter).

That said: I am a bit surprised ARWS announced this now. Odd timing in my opinion. And it will be interesting to see what Godzone does next.

From ARWS facebook:
"As the remaining teams finish the New Zealand stop of the ARWS, with regret we are announcing that the Godzone Race Director informed the ARWS an hour after the race start that the Godzone Adventure race were withdrawing from the ARWS. Although the withdraw and its timing will cause concerns as to whether or not the race was an ARWS sanctioned race, the ARWS remains committed to its race teams and will honour the placing and rankings of the teams who have finished the New Zealand race.

The ARWS looks forward to the exciting 2017/18 seasons and the velocity of which our sport is moving as we evolve."
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Mar 2, 2017 3:18 AM # 
silkychrome:
as an outsider looking in, that seems like poorly chosen timing.
Mar 2, 2017 3:39 AM # 
Bash:
Bizarre. Is there a feud I don't know about?
Mar 2, 2017 3:56 AM # 
legendaryrandy:
I'll try to talk to Warren ASAP. All I really know is what we talked about on the last podcast.
Mar 2, 2017 5:34 AM # 
Conman:
It seems like PQ and GZ had teamed up in 2015 with an intention of big, successful races outside of the ARWS circuit. I'm keen to know the reasons for this change...perhaps it's simply cost (races have to pay to be on the ARWS circuit) vs value added?

Also, I have observed during the GZ race that the website, race banners, tunnels, team pinnys (SP?) and other promotional materials make no mention of the ARWS, which is usually highly visible at AWRS races.

Racers who were registered months ago and hoping for ARWS placing and points would be very disappointed to have this change happen shortly pre-race, causing no end of frustration for race organizers with teams wanting refunds, blah, blah, blah. This way the frustration is merely between GZ and the ARWS organization. I hope it's an amicable separation and one that helps the sport to grow.
Mar 2, 2017 12:11 PM # 
FB:
Still seems Bizarre that the RD informed the ARWS an hour after his race started. Couldn't wait until it was over? Curious... I hope we find out why the odd timing.

I guess his timing could have been 'worse?'. He could have stood up at the start line and said "We're dropping from the ARWS, Mark, Set, Go!"
Mar 2, 2017 1:53 PM # 
broots:
I wonder whether the timing bit is accurate. I suspect this is much more complicated than it seems. Last year around this time there was suggestion that Godzone was out of the ARWS. It wasn't yelled from the top of a mountain, but there were serious rumblings and then backtracking. This was a long time coming. I do agree the timing is really bizarre and it certainly doesn't seem to be handled well, but even if it's true that ARWS found out at the start of the race, I think it equally if not more bizarre that they published this information during the event. I think it's important to wait until Warren has chimed in.

Rob Howard has just published a thoughtful reflection on the matter:
http://www.sleepmonsters.com/v2_news.php?article_i...
Mar 2, 2017 6:27 PM # 
abiperk:
Update from Rob, via facebook:

"The original article has been updated after chatting to Team Tiki Tour who tell me they didn't know what was happening until they received an email from ARWS telling them the world champs place was theirs, but the free entry was not."
Mar 2, 2017 6:29 PM # 
StrongMachine:
This is too bad. I can see why it happened, but I think it will definitely discourage international participation in Godzone.

Anyone aware of any other races joining the ARWS next year? Looks like XPD Alaska, Cowboy Tough, ITERA (even though it's still listed on the map) and now Godzone are all done after this year. Anything out there to replace them?

I know Nathan Fa'avae has given hints about a race starting in Malaysia, and Adventure Enablers have hinted about a race in Virginia, USA.
Mar 2, 2017 6:34 PM # 
abiperk:
Adlard said in the last month or so that ExAK would be back in 2018, but I see that it's now been removed from the ARWS calendar. Who knows on that one...

I've heard rumblings of India as well, but I don't know what the timeline would be for that one.
Mar 2, 2017 6:41 PM # 
abiperk:
broots just pointed out that the ExAK website is down, as well...

http://expeditionak.com/
Mar 2, 2017 7:44 PM # 
broots:
I'm really eager to see what Godzone and perhaps PQ do.

I have nothing personal against ARWS, but I also don't know if it's the best model logistically for the organizers who are part of it. From Warren's chat with Randy he suggested (without much concrete detail) that there is talk of a new series of sorts with races akin to Godzone and PQ.

The concept for a World Championship is a good one, but for the vast majority of racers in the sport, I don't think it's the most important thing. How many adventure racers do ARWC? Most don't. Most are first and foremost looking for quality, top notch races. How many racers/teams care about ranking points? Not many.

I understand the value of the series, ARWC, and rankings. Yes, it can help with sponsorship, yes it offers a degree of legitimacy, yes it gives some way to measure up against everyone else.

But, the reality is there was a time when none of this existed. "The Glory/Golden Days" as some called it. And that all started and revolved around Raid G., Eco, and to some degree PQ. As far as I know, none of those races were part of the ARWS at any point in their history. All were wildly successful. All come up repeatedly as the best races we have seen overall in the history of the sport. I think they are proof that what Godzone is doing is not something to be terrified of and may, in fact, be a step toward a return to form.

Again, I'm not advocating for what is happening, but I personally think it's a really exciting development. What Godzone has built in New Zealand is clearly special. Sounds like it is very much like the classic events from what I know. I also get the sense that PQ is committed to returning their event to the level it once was. Should such organizations work together to promote some sort of new model and then reach out to help one or two other organizations form...or simply work with one or two other top notch events...I think you could have a really, really interesting development in the sport.

And dare I say this: what if Godzone "franchised"? What if they began directing events in other countries similar to Eco and Raid? THAT would be incredible news for the sport in my opinion.
Mar 2, 2017 8:11 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Press release earlier said "official qualifier" after the sell out.

GODZone is an official member of the Adventure Racing World Series and a qualifier for the AR World Championships.

http://godzoneadventure.com/godzone-sells-out/

Same text on the announcement of the location.

http://godzoneadventure.com/queenstown-launched-as...

So you would have signed up expecting it to be an official qualifier.

Qualifier per AWRS seems to include entry to AWRC.

1. The winning team at each Qualifier receives a prize of a guaranteed qualification spot and a paid entry to the AR World Championship.

http://arworldseries.com/championship/
Mar 2, 2017 8:28 PM # 
broots:
I do 100% agree that this part of this development is a significant issue and concern. I absolutely think the ARWS side of this should be honored this year, and I am surprised Godzone wouldn't do so.
Mar 2, 2017 8:45 PM # 
Mr Wonderful:
Oh, I was not intending to use it as a counter argument to the general philosophical discussion of series vs no series (I've seen similar RD comments about various US series and the various (often similar) pros and cons), just was curious for my own context about the potential for bait and switch re: the godzone win specifically.
Mar 2, 2017 9:19 PM # 
britty327:
To my knowledge, the Championship host is responsible for covering the entry for the winning teams of ARWS qualifiers. Can anyone else speak to that?
Mar 2, 2017 9:42 PM # 
abiperk:
That's what Margo of Adventure Enablers posted. It sounds like they're sorting it out.
Mar 2, 2017 9:45 PM # 
legendaryrandy:
britty327 Yes. Adventure Enablers are already working with Tiki Tour about it. The team still is responsible for getting there.
Mar 2, 2017 11:24 PM # 
Bash:
I assume GODZone's announcement means they don't plan to pay fees to ARWS in 2017 so they aren't contributing to joint costs of the ARWS Series nor helping to promote ARWS, even at this edition of the race, which was advertised as part of the Series.

If GODZone is not fulfilling their part of the bargain, Adventure Enablers aren't getting the benefits they're supposed to get from GODZone in exchange for providing a free ARWC entry as GODZone's grand prize. Kudos to Adventure Enablers - they are doing the right thing for the racers but if it were me, I'd ask GODZone to contribute some $$$$.

The break-up is not necessarily a bad thing for the sport but without knowing the details, it sounds like a breach of contract.
Mar 3, 2017 2:21 AM # 
JVD:
Kind of a crappy way for it to go down. Seems like Warren has had a beef with ARWS for awhile, legitimate or not. The ARWS has to provide value to member races, and at some point, when a race can stand on its own, the race may be providing more value to the series than the series provides to the race. Can't expect races to pay for something they already have, or the series needs to figure out a way to provide value to the race, maybe in a different way for races like Godzone.
Mar 3, 2017 3:45 AM # 
StrongMachine:
If this is wading into territory that is too hot for an open discussion forum on the internet, someone please let me know, but what exactly does it cost to be an ARWS race and what do you get for the money?
Mar 3, 2017 4:10 AM # 
broots:
I don't know that it is too hot, but not sure if anyone who knows for sure will be reading.

I have HEARD that it's at least several thousand dollars. Honestly, I thought that the ARWS race was responsible for paying the entry fee for winners. Regardless, it's not cheap.

I honestly dont' know what an RD gets except for some media exposure. Listing on the website, some social media coverage, the potential to lure in a few big international teams. As far as I know, nothing much more, though I might be wrong. Still have to pay for your swag and such as necessary. Still have to pay for insurance and all the costs of the race, and unlike say USARA which offers their own insurance, I have not heard that ARWS has similar resources. Tracking, boats, everything. I think it's all on the RD to cover and arrange. ARWS is based in Australia, so it's not like they can share all of their resources with a race in Africa.
Mar 3, 2017 5:05 AM # 
broots:
Addition:
gleaned from facebook comments regarding the issue, Strong Machine.

None of this is official, so take it for what it's worth:

"10,000$" to host an ARWS race, paid to ARWC I believe. I vaguely feel like I heard something in this ballpark elsewhere, maybe from two different sources, though I think I have also heard it's more like 5000.

Cost of entry for the winner is covered by the ARWC host NOT the ARWS event. So, blaming Godzone for this bit is not fair if it's true. This was posted by Adventure Enablers, so I'm assuming this bit of intel is correct.

The return is visibility and prestige, I believe.
Mar 3, 2017 5:53 AM # 
Bash:
Cost of entry for the winner is covered by the ARWC host NOT the ARWS event. So, blaming Godzone for this bit is not fair if it's true.

Yes, I was praising Adventure Enablers for honouring their side of the ARWS agreement even though it's not clear GODZone is doing the same. Imagine how you would feel if Rootstock were footing the bill in a similar situation.

GODZone has received the benefit of a huge grand prize for their race winners. The ARWC host is asked to give this free entry to the winning teams of other ARWS races because those other races are expected to do their part for the Series - use ARWS branding, cross-promote other Series races throughout 2017, work together on rules and standards, take turns hosting ARWC in future years, etc. They're also supposed to pay ARWS fees for 2017, which GODZone may have done; if so, that would make the situation better.

I've always been a fan of GODZone, I don't begrudge them leaving ARWS, and they may have very good reasons but there had to be a better way to handle it.
Mar 3, 2017 2:03 PM # 
broots:
Bash, you may be right, but I have a different understanding of this process. Honestly, I would love to see the ARWC contract for ARWS inclusion since I don't think any of us are 100% clear on what it actually is. Anyway, from what I have read and heard, I THINK Godzone may be in an unfair position here. Here is my logic, BUT I note again that I am not 100% clear on any of this myself, so I may have it wrong!!

What we know for surel: there was an agreement to have Godzone as an ARWS event this year. The teams who competed for an ARWC spot will be given that opportunity to race in ARWC as they should. Adventure Enablers is paying the entry for Tiki Tour, which they were supposed to do.

Now, beyond that it gets hazy. Godzone either paid or owes ARWC their fee. I understand this fee goes into ARWC, but again, as Adventure Enablers said, it's Adventure Enablers' responsibility to pay the prize money/entry fee for Tiki Tour.

From what we know, it's not clear to me that Godzone has done anything wrong. We are assuming that Godzone didn't pay their fee. They very well may have. Adventure Enablers has said they will cover Tiki, and if I have it all clear that is what is supposed to happen anyway. From the sound of things, Godzone is not the one who blew this up in the media. If it was me, I probably would have waited until well after the race to announce this, but it seems like they were put in a rather sticky spot when someone else announced this publicly.

If they did indeed withdraw WITHOUT paying their contractual fee to ARWC, I think that's a crappy thing to do to ARWC. But it's not even clear to me that ARWC is sending this money to the host of ARWC. From what I've heard, to run an ARWC, organizations need to put up TONS of money, something like 50,000-100,000$. I assume that a portion of this fee covers all the ARWS winners. I do not have the sense that ARWC takes the fee from Godzone and then sends it to the host to cover expenses or pay for the free entries. my understanding is that the fee money goes to Craig and Louise and the operation of their organization.

IF, I have this all straight, then I think other than poor timing in their notification of ARWC (which frankly should be a private issue if all else is true), Godzone may be guilty of nothing. Unless they didn't pay their fee. In which case they screwed Craig and Louise a bit and I think that sucks, but I'm not sure I see the impact on anyone else. The teams that competed in Godzone and won entry into ARWC are still going. It sounds like Tiki is still getting their money in the way it was intended...
Mar 3, 2017 3:17 PM # 
Bash:
Agreed Broots, we can only speculate based on limited info and maybe it's not worth it until more info comes out (if it ever does). But speculating is part of the fun of a discussion forum! ;) As I said above, GODZone may well have paid their 2017 fees (and I don't believe the money goes to Adventure Enablers) but that's not the only thing involved in being part of a Series:

GODZone has received the benefit of a huge grand prize for their race winners. The ARWC host is asked to give this free entry to the winning teams of other ARWS races because those other races are expected to do their part for the Series - use ARWS branding, cross-promote other Series races throughout 2017, work together on rules and standards, take turns hosting ARWC in future years, etc. They're also supposed to pay ARWS fees for 2017, which GODZone may have done; if so, that would make the situation better.

As Mr. W says, the race was advertised and sold out as an ARWS event but we've seen little or no ARWS branding in the photos or on the website, which is usually part of the deal and will disappoint some racers. I've been involved in several race series as an organizer, and one of the common expectations is co-promotion: Series logo on our website, links to the race series calendar, and announcements to our social media and newsletter audiences: "Our friends at ABC Racing are holding a 6-hour event at Mt. Doom on April 16. This is the 4th race in the 2017 XYZ Series. Check it out!"

This is the kind of thing that GODZone hasn't done and will not be doing throughout 2017, which is a loss to the Series, given GZ's success, visibility and large social media audience. They will also not take their turn at absorbing the costs of hosting an ARWC, a big obligation that is passed around to different races. Events are expected to provide more value to the Series than just the fee; by dropping out early in the year and not using ARWS branding at the event, GZ is not providing the expected value to the Series.

The statement from ARWS indicates (although we can't be sure) that ARWS had a choice in whether to consider GZ a sanctioned race for purposes of rankings and ARWC entry, and they did the honourable thing: "Although the withdrawal and its timing will cause concerns as to whether or not the race was an ARWS sanctioned race, the ARWS remains committed to its race teams and will honour the placing and rankings of the teams who have finished the New Zealand race."

If ARWS truly did have a choice based on the contract, then Adventure Enablers also deserve kudos for going above and beyond. That was my original point. Yay, Adventure Enablers.

GZ remains on my bucket list as an amazing, beautiful, well-organized event. It's unfortunate they didn't announce their departure from ARWS ahead of the event since it's obvious from the lack of ARWS branding that it wasn't a last minute decision.
Mar 3, 2017 4:02 PM # 
broots:
Thanks for the further thoughts Bash!

I liked this point in particular:
"This is the kind of thing that GODZone hasn't done and will not be doing throughout 2017, which is a loss to the Series, given GZ's success, visibility and large social media audience. They will also not take their turn at absorbing the costs of hosting an ARWC, a big obligation that is passed around to different races. Events are expected to provide more value to the Series than just the fee; by dropping out early in the year and not using ARWS branding at the event, GZ is not providing the expected value to the Series. "

Agreed on the lack of cross promotion, and this point on taking their turn is an interesting one to ponder. Thanks for pointing it out!

I'll be interested to see if Godzone puts forth their own statement. I hope they do, and I suspect they will. Whether it illuminates anything further remains to be seen!

And I agree fully: very happy that ARWC and Adventure Enablers are standing by their side of the whole thing.
Mar 3, 2017 4:56 PM # 
Bash:
I hope GZ makes a statement too. There are two sides to every story!
Mar 3, 2017 8:54 PM # 
legendaryrandy:
I will be talking with Warren after he gets some sleep and Craig when he gets back from Paraguay. I doubt we will know why but I am more interested in what will be happening going forward. And Mark Harris has a few words about it in Tuesdays podcast, with Richard Kresser from Quest AR

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