New rules make for a new game in the chase for the XTERRA European Tour Championship title and this year the crown could very well be won by master tacticians rather than the fastest racers in the field.
“It’s a numbers game, that’s for sure,” explained Dave Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRA World Tour, who restructured the way the European Tour point series works for 2015.
“We’ve got 12 majors in Europe split into two divisions, what we are calling our Silver and Gold races. We did this to keep organizers with great races – but not a lot of money – a chance to be successful,” said Nicholas.
Silver races – XTERRA Malta, Portugal, Greece, Sweden, and Denmark – have pro prize purses that range between $7,500 and $14,000 USD, while Gold races – XTERRA Spain, Switzerland, France, Italy, Czech, Germany, and England – offer $15,000 to $25,000 USD.
While elites can race in all 12 events if they like, for scoring purposes the Tour will only count their best four Gold races and best three Silver races.
Gold races accumulate points on a 100-point scale (winner earns 100 points, second in 90, third is 82, and so on…) while Silver races accumulate points on a 75-point scale (winner earns 75, second is 67, third is 61, and so on…)
The maximum amount of points an elite can collect is 625 points (4 wins at Gold races = 400 + three wins at Silver races = 225).
“Certainly opens the door for the entire field of elites and I think makes the game a whole lot more fun to watch and follow,” said Nicholas.
“What we ultimately want is for all our racers – amateurs and elites – to explore and discover these great destinations and races all around Europe. How the chips fall at the end of the season, we’ll just have to wait and see.”