The final weekend on the 2015 XTERRA European Tour will also be its most celebrated as XTERRA Denmark - to be staged on Saturday August 29, and XTERRA England, to be staged August 30 at Vachery Estate in Cranleigh - will end the season with two great choices for athletes.
England has been designated the one-day European Championship race. The title means more prize money for pros - $25,000 USD elite purse, and an opportunity for amateur competitors to stake claim at being the best in Europe on top of being the best in the U.K.
The two races are also the last chance in Europe for amateurs to secure one of the 75 qualifying spots (25 from Denmark and 50 from England) into the 20th edition of the XTERRA World Championship in Maui. For elites they are the culminating events in the 12-stop European Tour that dishes out an additional $20,000 USD to the top performers in the series.
“Two great races, and the chance for the adventurous type to do both. I can tell you we are thrilled to have Denmark back in Tisvilde and also delighted to host the European Championship on the storied grounds of Vachery Estate,” said XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas. “Our experience last year in England was superb, from the course itself to the spectating. We felt like we established something special and are excited to share that with the worldwide endurance sports community.”
On offer is the rare chance to swim, ride, run, race, eat, sleep, and dance in the serene and seductive ancient wooded countryside of Surrey. All on a private estate, no less, where huge open fields of grass welcome hundreds of campers, bands, caterers, and racers.
The European Championship distance combines a 1.5K swim / 30K bike / 11K trail run on Sunday. There is also a half-distance sprint race option and athletes can join together to tackle either triathlon as part of a relay team. New they year, XTERRA will host 5K and 15K trail runs on Saturday and rumors abound about a bonfire and movie night.
“It’s awesome, I loved it,” exclaimed four-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz after last year’s race at Vachery Estate.
It starts with a swim in the strictly private and extraordinarily clean spring fed Vachery Pond. A special ramp has been built just for the event to allow access for swimmers, officials and water safety. The bike course – thanks to great efforts led by Surrey-bred XTERRA pro Sam Gardner (the first Brit to win a major XTERRA) – has riders twisting in-and-out and up-and-down the dense tree-lined forests. It’s incredible how much turning is involved, most on perfectly tacky dirt. The run is just as fun, crossing over creeks, hopping over logs. There is certainly a primal feeling for those being chased, as well as those being chased down by others through the dark, cool forest.
Spectators are in for quite a treat as well with both the bike and run courses filter through the “arena” several times making it quite easy to track the action.
The event was dubbed the “Woodstock of XTERRA” last year in large part to the massive amount of camping available in the wide-open fields, and one can expect that atmosphere to get even better this time around. To make things even sweeter race weekend falls on England’s summer bank holiday (Monday off) and the annual Wings & Wheels celebration nearby treats the XTERRA crowd to amazing aerial displays from the Red Arrows and others.
Registration is open now with early bird and loyalty discounts in effect through December 31, 2014.