February 8, 2015 (Albay, Luzon) - South Africa’s Bradley Weiss and Bermuda’s Flora Duffy captured the 5th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship race in Albay on Sunday.
The race was the first XTERRA World Championship qualifier of the season for amateurs, as well as the first race of the XTERRA Asian Tour.
It’s the second win of the season for Weiss and the eighth in nine races since last year for Duffy, the reigning XTERRA World Champion.
XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas was on-hand to take in all the action and brings us this report…
Let The Season Begin !! Sharply at 7am the 2015 XTERRA World Tour season started here in Albay in the Philippines. The black sand beaches of the Albay Riviera - honest that is what it is called - welcomed about 300 racers and over 1,000 spectators with some neat shore chop. Not quite Maui, but it definitely had some local competitors concerned.
Sometimes it is nice when there is not a lot of drama to an event. That's what we had today. A great event, well organized on a challenging course without a lot of drama.
We knew Bradley Weiss was coming off a win at Buffelspoort in South Africa, Ben Allen spent the winter in Australia and looked great and Mauricio Mendez is 19 and always ready. For the women, World Champion Flora Duffy had also started her training in South Africa and Jacqui Slack was with Ben down under. The question mark was Renata Bucher, last years winner in the Philippines, who had suffered a bad ankle sprain and had considered not racing at all. Dimity-Lee Duke was looking quite slim and had been working on her biking skills, Mieko Carey lives in the tropics and was ready to race. Daz Parker was here after working hard with Johnny Depp (actually trying to kill him in the film Out Of The Woods).
And so things went in the big race. Ben and Mauricio were first out of the water with Flora right with them. Brad was not far behind and quickly took control out on the bike turning in the fastest time of the day a bit over 2 minutes faster than Allen. Mendez is fast improving and came into T2 about 30 seconds behind Ben. His running is no longer a surprise after coming from 13th out of T2 to 5th at the finish on Maui and he dispatched the Aussie and set off after the Springbok. Mo put in a 40 minute 9K and gained almost 2 minutes, but was still a minute behind Weiss at the finish.
|1||Brad Weiss, RSA||2:28:00||16:53||1:29:25||41:42|
|2||Mauricio Mendez, MEX||2:28:58||16:21||1:32:36||40:01|
|3||Ben Allen, AUS||2:33:51||16:19||1:31:54||45:38|
|4||Brodie Gardner, AUS||2:40:35||18:31||1:37:50||44:14|
|5||Charlie Epperson, USA||2:51:20||21:04||1:46:28||43:48|
|6||Joe Miller, PHI||3:10:48||24:06||1:58:21||48:21|
|7||Michal Bucek, SVK||3:14:42||18:59||1:56:28||59:15|
The run is reminiscent of Maui in that the first half is all uphill and the second half all downhill. The difference being Maui's sand is on a beach and Albay's is on the way up Mayon volcano.
Flora was first woman out of the water and kept the lead with the fastest bike and fastest run. Indeed our world champ was 5th overall of the individuals bringing to mind Lesley Paterson's phenomenal 4th here a few years ago. Jacqui was in great shape and similar to Flora had the 2nd best swim, 2nd fastest bike and 3rd fastest run for the women and a very solid 2nd step on the podium. Poor Mieko Carey was in 3rd coming off the bike but was hurting on the run and Aussie Dimity-Lee Duke passed her for her first podium in an XTERRA. She was simply bubbling with joy.
|1||Flora Duffy, BER||2:43:40||16:28||1:42:15||44:57|
|2||Jacqui Slack, GBR||2:56:51||18:25||1:47:39||50:47|
|3||Dimity-Lee Duke, AUS||3:03:18||20:18||1:54:08||48:52|
|4||Mieko Carey, JPN||3:06:39||19:51||1:51:43||55:05|
|5||Renata Bucher, SUI||3:12:53||21:06||1:52:34||59:13|
|6||Daz Parker, GBR||3:19:16||22:15||2:01:41||55:20|
|7||Aya Stevens, SVK||3:20:07||20:23||2:07:07||52:37|
So the expected happened. A few nice surprises to start the year were Dimity looking very strong and young Aussie pro Brodie Gardner with an impressive 4th place. Aya Stevens was back after an injury kept her out in 2014 and while not super-fast, did finish and finish healthy.
This is the 5th edition of XTERRA Philippines and it is a totally new location. Albay is an easy 30 minute flight out of Manila and sits on a beautiful Pacific Ocean bay. The key feature is the most impressive Mayon Volcano. Mayon is active and in the morning, before the clouds set in, you can see steam coming from the tip. She has been active for hundreds of years (perhaps thousands) and is most responsible for the great black sand beaches and thousands of big and small lava rocks that sit everywhere. Mayon is the history of Albay.
No matter where we go, the hospitality and organization of Sunrise events is simply superb. Every foreign entrant is simply amazed at how easily things flow and the level or hospitality given to the athletes. This includes local entertainers, singers, dancers at the athlete briefing and dinner and even at the awards stage. It is why a great age group champ like Dave DeSantis from Boston keeps coming back. The Philippines is a very happy place to visit and an even better place to race.
XTERRA ASIAN TOUR UNDERWAY
The XTERRA Philippines Championship was the first of five races in the 2015 XTERRA Asian Tour that will crown series champions at the season finale in Langkawi, Malaysia this May.
The five majors are XTERRA Philippines, XTERRA Saipan on March 28 in the Northern Marianas, XTERRA Guam on April 11 in Piti, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on April 18 in New South Wales, Australia, and XTERRA Malaysia - which will double as the XTERRA Asian Tour Championship race - on May 2 in Langkawi. (Note: The XTERRA Japan Championship in Hokkaido on August 29 will serve as the first race of the 2016 XTERRA Asian Tour.)
The top 15 amateur, Asian-elite, and professional racers at each event will earn points, with double points being offered at the finale in Malaysia. Racers will count their best three scores to determine champions in each division.
The XTERRA Asian Tour will award a prize bonus of $10,000 USD to the top five pro men and women in the final standings ($2,000 for 1st, $1,500-2nd, $800-3rd, $400-4th, $300-5th).
In all, more than $100,000 in prize money for pros will be awarded on the XTERRA Asian Tour. There are $15,000 USD payouts at the Philippines, Saipan, Guam, and Malaysia races, and $50,000 AUD awarded at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia, plus the 10K bonus to the series’ top performers.
2015 XTERRA Asian Tour Standings
Pros count best 3-of-5, Malaysia counts double
|1||Brad Weiss, RSA||100|
|2||Mauricio Mendez, MEX||90|
|3||Ben Allen, AUS||82|
|4||Brodie Gardner, AUS||75|
|5||Charlie Epperson, USA||69|
|6||Joe Miller, PHI||63|
|7||Michal Bucek, SVK||58|
|1||Flora Duffy, BER||100|
|2||Jacqui Slack, GBR||90|
|3||Dimity-Lee Duke, AUS||82|
|4||Mieko Carey, JPN||75|
|5||Renata Bucher, SUI||69|
|6||Daz Parker, GBR||63|
|7||Aya Stevens, SVK||58|
2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERSThe XTERRA Philippines Championship was the first of 42 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe can qualify to race at the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on November 1, 2015.