Race No. 2 of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific tour takes place Saturday in Cebu at the 4th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship race where the big question is … can anybody stop Ben Allen?
The Aussie sensation is the undisputed King of the Asia-Pacific series of races over the past two seasons. He’s won 9-of-10 APAC majors since capturing XTERRA Guam in ’02, and is shooting for a 3-peat in the Philippines (he’ll be going for 3-in-a-row in Saipan, Guam, and New Zealand this year too).
“I love this race,” said Allen from Cebu. “The Filipino people have been so kind to me since I first arrived three years ago. This is my third XTERRA and I am ready to give it my all and show all my family & friends how hard I have been training during the Aussie summer in preparation for the XTERRA World Tour. I know Cebu very well now – from where to eat to where to shop (Jacqui) to where to train - and would almost call it my second home.”
XTERRA South Africa Champ Dan Hugo leads the list of candidates to steal the crown from Allen but he rolled his ankle and tore his anterior talofibular ligament in his victory at Grabouw three weeks ago so will likely have to race well within his limits – especially considering his ambitious schedule in the coming months (read more). Fellow South African Brad Weiss is next in line, having finished third behind Allen and Hugo at Guam and Saipan last year.
Czech standout Jan Kubicek and the pride of Malaysia Shahrom Abdullah should be in the mix as well, along with a pair of all-star amateurs-turned-pros Michal Bucek from Slovakia and Charlie Epperson representing Guam.
The women’s pro race in the Philippines revives the APAC rivalry (friendly as it is) between “the Swiss Miss” Renata Bucher and Jacqui Slack from the UK. Jacqui won the first two head-to-head battles last year at Saipan and Guam while Renata came out on top at the last three in Australia (Great Ocean Road), New Zealand, and Malaysia. Several other familiar faces will toe the line including XTERRA Japan Champ Mieko Carey, Carina Wasle from Austria, Daz Parker from the UK, plus XTERRA rookie pro Dimity-Lee Duke from Australia.
You can expect to be hearing a lot about that core group of elites as they race their way through the region towards the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship at Jervis Bay, NSW on April 26.
Learn more at XTERRAPhil.com
Photo: Emmanuel Villaruel