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Anti-Drafting Homegrown Technology at Challenge Wānaka

In the fast-paced world of triathlon, drafting has been a longstanding challenge for athletes and organizers alike. Enter RaceRanger, an electronic solution developed over nearly a decade, poised to reshape the drafting landscape for pro triathletes competing at Challenge Wānaka in 2024.

Conceived in 2012 by former New Zealand international triathlete James Elvery, RaceRanger was born out of frustration with the complexities of drafting during races. Collaborating with fellow triathlete and multiple Challenge Wānaka winner Dylan McNiece, the duo envisioned a technological solution to eliminate guesswork and enhance fairness in competition.

The system employs two devices fitted to each athlete’s bike, providing highly accurate, consistent, and reliable drafting distance measurements. Athletes are shown coloured light signals on the back of the bike in front of them, based on how close they are following. A solid blue or orange light indicate they are getting close to the draft zone, while a flashing red light means they have entered the draft zone.

With a precision of 10cm or better and up to 10 measurements per second, RaceRanger ensures athletes and referees have real-time visibility into drafting activities.

As lifetime triathletes, the genesis of RaceRanger came from the founder’s personal experiences and a commitment to solving a persistent issue in the sport. The development process faced numerous challenges, requiring the system to be both accurate and non-intrusive. The team iteratively tested prototypes, incorporating referee feedback and refining the system to seamlessly integrate with the existing race experience.

The breakthrough came in January 2023 when RaceRanger underwent its first trial at an elite-level event in New Zealand. Challenge Wānaka 2023 was the second trial event. Subsequent funding rounds in 2023 propelled the project forward, enabling further refinement and testing.

Now, on the cusp of 2024, RaceRanger aims to make its mark on the sport of professional triathlon, promising a paradigm shift in how drafting is monitored. The vision extends beyond elite athletes, with plans to integrate RaceRanger into amateur and age group fields, ensuring fairness across all levels of competition.

As RaceRanger continues to evolve, it stands as a testament to innovation in sports technology, driven by the dedication of its founders and a shared commitment to elevating the triathlon experience for athletes and organizers alike. The journey from frustration to groundbreaking solution underscores the transformative impact of RaceRanger on the future of triathlon racing.

Challenge Wānaka is excited to work with the team at Race Ranger again to implement this groundbreaking technology for professional athletes for this year’s race.

From more information about Race Ranger and their story visit https://www.raceranger.com

For more information on Challenge Wānaka, visit www.challenge-wanaka.com.