Calvi-Monaco Water Bike Challenge: Princess Charlene and ‘Serenity’ team marked history
A unique sport event drew international attention on the second weekend of September. Calvi-Monaco Water Bike Challenge successfully completed on Sunday the 13th at the Yacht Club de Monaco. “Serenity” team chaired by H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco, former world swimming champion, Brandon Green, Mathew Bennet, and David Tanner won the podium of this amazing Mediterranean Sea crossing. A non-stop performance riding a high-tech Water Bike (Schiller SC-1) which lasted for two days covering 180km from Calvi, in the northern tip of Corsica, to Monaco. The Sovereign Princess, alternating with the other participants, completed the test in just 22 hours and 33 minutes. “Notorious” team led by Gareth Wittstock together with Kevin Crovetto, Jérôme Fernandez and Guido Belinskis, who replaced Conor McGregor at the very last moment, came fourteen minutes later, gaining an excellent second place.
Sponsored by Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the race put the focal point on infant prevention of drowning, water safety and marine conservation with a special focus on plastic and marine litter, pushing simultaneously a waste cleaning campaign in Corsica and in the Principality.
“(The sea crossing), beyond the sporting challenge it represents, will be a formidable opportunity to raise public awareness about water safety and to promote the ‘Learn to Swim’ and ‘Water Safety programmes’”, underlined H.S.H. Princess Charlene of Monaco, founder of the homonymous foundation.
“This unprecedented sea crossing was a real success thanks to the support of all authorities both in Calvi and in Monaco”, pointed out to HelloMonaco Pascal Granero, General Manager at Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation – “I would like to thank all donators that allowed us to raise about three hundred and forty thousand euros for Princess Charlene Foundation cause”, he added.
But what were the initial thoughts of the water bike riders? HelloMonaco collected some exclusive feedbacks at the finish line.
“We started in really bad conditions, with strong wind and big waves, so we had to put a lot of strength in our legs for maintaining the speed”, highlighted Mathew Bennet, North Atlantic crew rower and Guinness World Record man – “I had been training myself for about three months to be ready for this test”, he added.
“Despite being used to cycling, it was a unique experience to face all troubles on the open sea”, underlined Brandon Green, Monaco top-class resident – “Feeling part of the team gave me the strength to overcome every difficulty”.
“I found the right spirit and strategy to achieve the most effective performance”, stressed Jérôme Fernandez “The stunning marine landscape and the unexpected morning visit of some dolphins made me feel privileged athlete”, he added.
“It was an extraordinary human adventure, quite difficult to handle”, noted Kevin Crovetto, Monaco Olympic gymnast – “While riding, water resistance and the force of sea currents were some of the hardest matter to overcome”, he added.
“We had a quite tough race start but all athletes had been able to adapt to all climatic conditions without ever losing concentration”, highlighted Stéphanie Geyer Barneix, Race Director – “I had to face the unpredictable but I am really proud of both teams since I know how much energy you have to put into such a sport challenge on the high seas including a night experience with little light at hand” – she concluded.
Calvi-Monaco Water Bike Challenge will be remembered as a great proof of sporting and solidarity values to protect the marine ecosystem.