(Saipan, Northern Marianas) - Ben Allen from Australia and Jacqui Slack of Great Britain won the 14th annual XTERRA Saipan Championship race in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Saturday.
It’s the fourth year in a row Allen won the title, matching Olivier Marceau’s streak from 2004-07.
For Slack, it’s her second Saipan victory in three years. Both led from wire-to-wire in wet conditions that made the already difficult jungle bike and run courses all the more treacherous.
“Some of the worst conditions I've ever raced in. The rain didn't let up and it made for super slippery conditions,” explained Allen.
Allen, one of the sports best swimmers, used those skills to bridge an early one-minute gap over Bradley Weiss and backed it up with the fastest bike and run splits of the day to win in convincing fashion with a time of 2:40:25, more than six-minutes ahead of Weiss.
“The climbs on the bike where the only place to really push because you had to be so careful on the descents not to crash. The descents were going to be make or break your day so if you could ride within your own ability and stay upright you were in for a good day.”
For Weiss, who was forced to take some time off from training leading into this race because of a troublesomeiliotibial band (IT band), the results are satisfying.
“Obviously I am far from my best shape now but was still very excited for my trip out to the Islands. My hopes are to finish well in the XTERRA Asian Tour and take some momentum into the U.S. Tour,” said Weiss.
“All being said I am optimistic for the future and feel confident this injury is finally behind me. It’s been a frustrating few months but the future looks bright and for that I am excited.”
Former XTERRA Japan Champ Takahiro Ogasawara finished in third, followed by Markus Benesch of Austria and Aleksandr Dorovskikh from Russia.
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||2:40:25||15:57||1:29:54||54:34|
|2||Brad Weiss, RSA||2:46:45||17:10||1:33:03||56:32|
|3||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||2:48:19||19:59||1:32:06||56:14|
|4||Markus Benesch, AUT||2:52:24||18:25||1:36:39||57:20|
|5||Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS||2:55:51||20:02||1:38:14||57:35|
|6||Joe Miller, PHI||3:02:33||22:10||1:39:11||1:01:12|
|7||David Esposito, FRA||3:13:39||20:32||1:48:16||1:04:51|
|8||Kaon Cho, KOR||3:25:43||20:12||2:03:07||1:02:24|
WEISS, SLACK LEAD XTERRA ASIAN TOUR POINTS SERIES
The XTERRA Saipan Championship was the second of five races in the 2015 XTERRA Asian Tour that will crown series champions at the season finale in Langkawi, Malaysia this May.
With his runner-up performance today coupled with his Philippines win, Weiss now has 190 points followed by Allen with 182 (he was third in the Philippines). In the women’s chase Slack also has 190 points, following her runner-up performance to Flora Duffy in the Philippines with a win today.
The five majors are XTERRA Philippines, XTERRA Saipan, 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 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 (After 2)
Pros count their best 3-of-5 races, Malaysia counts double
|1||Brad Weiss, RSA||100||90||190|
|2||Ben Allen, AUS||82||100||182|
|3||Joe Miller, PHI||63||63||126|
|4||Mauricio Mendez, MEX||90||x||90|
|5||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||x||82||82|
|6||Brodie Gardner, AUS||75||x||75|
|7||Markus Benesch, AUT||x||75||75|
|8||Charlie Epperson, USA||69||x||69|
|9||Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS||x||69||69|
|10||Michal Bucek, SVK||58||x||58|
|11||David Esposito, FRA||x||58||58|
|12||Kaon Cho, KOR||x||53||53|
|1||Jacqui Slack, GBR||90||100||190|
|2||Mieko Carey, JPN||75||82||157|
|3||Renata Bucher, SUI||69||75||144|
|4||Daz Parker, GBR||63||69||132|
|5||Flora Duffy, BER||100||x||100|
|6||Carina Wasle, AUT||x||90||90|
|7||Dimity-Lee Duke, AUS||82||x||82|
|8||Belinda Hadden, AUS||x||63||63|
|9||Aya Stevens, SVK||58||x||58|
BIG DAY FOR AMATEURS TOO
Chuck Fortier from Canada and Kyoco Urashima of Japan captured the XTERRA Saipan Championship amateur titles today, and dozens more qualified for the XTERRA USA and World Championship races with strong performances.
For Fortier, a policeman by trade, it’s his third island win in a row as he captured both the XTERRA Saipan and Guam amateur titles last year.
Of special note is Tyce Mister (pictured), one of the pioneers of XTERRA in Saipan, who holds the distinction of being the only athlete to have competed in all 14 XTERRA Saipan races since its inception in 2002.
2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA Saipan Championship was the fourth of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on November 1, 2015.
* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers
|April 11||XTERRA New Zealand Championship|