(Jervis Bay, NSW) - Braden Currie and Lizzie Orchard captured the 3rd annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race on an unseasonably cool and windy day at Callala Beach in New South Wales, Australia this afternoon.
It’s the ninth XTERRA win of Currie’s career and for the second year in a row he won XTERRA New Zealand and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship races on back-to-back weekends.
“For me it’s the end of five years of solid racing, and I’m just so stoked to finish on a good race,” said Currie. “You know that feeling of being smooth and consistent the whole race and finishing with a good result, when you race professionally it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.”
For everyone, the day started with an eye-opening walk down the beach to find big waves, red weed, white caps, wicked wind, crazy currents, and downright blustery conditions at Callala Beach. It was so rough getting in-and-out of the water race officials changed the swim course from two-laps with a beach-run in the middle to just one-lap that went with the current.
Even the pros had a hard time sighting buoys and swimming in straight lines.
XTERRA’s surf-life saving guru Ben Allen used the rough sea conditions to his advantage and led everyone out of the water, followed close behind by Courtney Atkinson. Impressively, Braden Currie and Sam Osborne came out together less than one-minute behind those two and quickly caught and passed Atkinson and joined a line of three with Allen into the Aussie bush.
“It was a challenging, tough course,” said Currie. “That swim was amazing. Probably good for us Kiwis because we can’t swim like Courtney can. It was so rough he couldn’t see where he was going so we could just follow his feet and keep in close contact with him. I knew coming out of the water it was going to be a good day if we were that close to him.”
By the midway point on the bike it was a three-man race with Currie and Allen trading leads and Osborne never far behind.
“That bike was absolutely unreal, Braden was drilling it,” said Osborne, who also finished 2nd behind Currie at XTERRA New Zealand last weekend. “I was looking at that back wheel of his and just thinking don’t let it go, that’s my ticket to the front. He was going so fast.”
Allen hit the run in second but Osborne wasn’t far behind, and moved into second somewhere around the 3K mark.
“The swim was alright,” said Allen, who finished in third and top Aussie to win the XTERRA Australia title. “Towards the end of that run the legs were cramping up, I think the effort of laying it down on the bike with Braden caught up with me. I just tried to hang on as long as I could to Sam. Full credit to Braden, he’s a phenomenal athlete, and Sammy too.”
Brad Weiss and Olly Shaw were fourth and fifth out of T2, but Atkinson in sixth posted the fastest run of the day (35:16) to leap-frog past both of them for fourth.
“It’s one of those bike courses where you warm up on it and you think it’s not so bad but then when you start riding it hard every single little step-up and hill kills your legs,” said Atkinson. “These guys make it look easy, riding around in the mud. It’s a bloody fun day. I come out here to have a lot of fun, and try my hardest to keep the deficit as best I can but today Braden and these boys were absolutely flying and caught me very early on. I wasn’t even in the race so I really want to know what happened up in the front.”
Up front Currie was showing what kind of a fast, tough athlete he is. Remember he was the runner-up to Josiah Middaugh at XTERRA Worlds last year, and in doing that he became the only other guy along with Middaugh to upset Ruben Ruzafa in two years of racing off-road. No doubt the Kiwi is looking forward to another crack at the Spaniard and American.
For Bradley Weiss, who held on to 5th by just eight seconds over Shaw, it was a disappointing day.
“I lost too much time on the swim,” said the South African who won the first four races he did this year. “I saw when I was running up to transition that Braden and Sam were together, and knew that Ben and Courtney were together in front of them, and there is a lot of drafting chances on this course and I ended up all by myself. I caught Courtney eventually, but he’s become a much better mountain biker through the years so it wasn’t easy. I’m disappointed in 5th, but the guys up ahead definitely deserved it today.”
After the race Atkinson, a two-time Olympian, told the crowd … “I’d like to congratulate everyone out here today. It’s difficult for me, and for all the on-road triathletes that gave it their first shot off-road today I want to congratulate them. It’s fun, but it’s a challenge. I think we’ll continue to get people crossing over and tying this. People tick off Ironman, tick off Olympic distance and all the rest of them, this is your next challenge.”
For Ben Allen, who worked so hard to help XTERRA establish roots in Australia, seeing the big field of international racers and the great vibe in Callala today made him choke-up a little.
“I’m absolutely stoked XTERRA is here, it’s been a dream come true for me to get XTERRA on the forefront of triathlon within Australia and this event, this day is just awesome,” he said.
|Pl||Name (Bib #)||Time||Swim||Bike||Run|
|1||Braden CURRIE (1)||2:11:46||0:16:57||1:15:49||0:35:31|
|2||Sam OSBORNE (12)||2:13:38||0:16:57||1:18:05||0:35:14|
|3||Ben ALLEN (4)||2:14:47||0:16:06||1:17:56||0:37:12|
|4||Courtney ATKINSON (2)||2:16:30||0:16:12||1:22:06||0:34:38|
|5||Bradley WEISS (15)||2:17:04||0:18:06||1:18:16||0:36:55|
|6||Olly SHAW (3)||2:17:12||0:18:45||1:18:16||0:36:13|
|7||Aiden DUNSTER (8)||2:23:10||0:18:39||1:20:16||0:40:12|
|8||Kieran MCPHERSON (6)||2:24:03||0:18:31||1:21:58||0:39:32|
|9||Brodie GARDNER (5)||2:25:06||0:18:35||1:23:43||0:38:39|
|10||Cameron PAUL (13)||2:25:35||0:18:43||1:21:54||0:41:02|
|Also: Alex Roberts, Noah Wright, Jason Hsieh, Barry Lee, Kaon Cho|
ORCHARD GOES 3-FOR-3 IN 2016
Lizzie Orchard isn’t a surprise winner anymore. Last year she finished an amazing 5th in a stacked field at the XTERRA World Championship. To start this season she won her first XTERRA major in the Philippines, and just last weekend she won the XTERRA New Zealand Championship. Today, she solidified all those results with her third win of the year to take a commanding lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings.
“I can’t believe it. I’m still me, it’s just me,” smiled Orchard, an XTERRA Tribe favorite for her big smile and friendly demeanor. “I really like the hot races, and it wasn’t that hot today so I’m very pleased to have a good go today.”
From the very beginning of today’s women’s elite race it looked like the title belonged to Jacqui Slack, who lives and trains with her fiancée Benny Allen just up the road in Wollongong for much of the year.
Slack had the best swim of the day by more than one-minute, and took a minute lead on to the run. Behind her Renata Bucher (who had the fastest bike split of the day, 1:32:20), Lizzie Orchard, and Carina Wasle started chasing.
“There were three or four of us within 40 seconds or so,” said Orchard. “With the long beach section of the run we could all see each other. It was a technical run, and Carina was about 50-meters behind me the whole way.”
After passing Bucher on the sand early in the run, it took Orchard and Wasle until about the 7K mark to catch up to Slack.
“We slowly, sloooowly caught Jacqui,” said Orchard, who had the fastest run of the day (41:14) to take the tape in 2:36:42, just 27-seconds ahead of Wasle (who won at XTERRA Reunion last weekend).
Slack came in third, gutted not to have won it.
“I don’t think I’ve ever wanted to win a race so much,” said Slack. “I did everything I could do, I had the best race I could’ve had, the other girls were just stronger today. I held them off as long as I could but they just had that bit on me at the end. They’re both great runners and great athletes, and raced really well.”
Bucher held off a hard-charging Jessica Simpson on the run by just two seconds to finish in fourth, with Simpson taking home the XTERRA Australia title for the second year in a row as the top Aussie.
“I’m super proud of Lizzie,” said Bucher, who recruited her to be on her Aloha Racing Team. “She’s an amazing athlete, and a great person as well. She smiles all the time, and really has a great Aloha spirit.”
|Pl||Name (Bib #)||Time||Swim||Bike||Run|
|1||Elizabeth ORCHARD (32)||2:36:42||0:20:01||1:31:34||0:40:41|
|2||Carina WASLE (33)||2:37:09||0:20:55||1:30:34||0:40:54|
|3||Jacqui SLACK (31)||2:37:40||0:18:37||1:31:33||0:43:16|
|4||Renata BUCHER (35)||2:41:05||0:22:24||1:28:23||0:45:32|
|5||Jessica SIMPSON (34)||2:41:07||0:19:46||1:33:31||0:43:19|
|6||Catherine STERLING (39)||2:45:45||0:19:03||1:38:04||0:43:14|
|7||Sarah BACKLER (36)||2:47:06||0:22:26||1:35:54||0:44:03|
|8||Penny HOSKEN (37)||2:51:26||0:20:45||1:38:24||0:47:04|
|9||Holly KHAN (38)||2:58:40||0:22:14||1:41:15||0:49:29|
CURRIE, ORCHARD WIN XTERRA ANZ DOUBLE
Braden Currie and Lizzie Orchard won the elite XTERRA ANZ Double titles and Hayden Wilde and Josie Sinclair won the amateur ANZ titles for posting the fastest combined times at XTERRA New Zealand and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.
WILDE, SLATER WIN AMATEUR TITLES
Hayden Wilde, the 18-year-old phenom from Whakatane, New Zealand who won the 15-19 division XTERRA World Championship last year, captured the overall men’s amateur title in Callala while Penny Slater was the fastest female amateur on the day.
Here’s a look at all the 2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Age Group Champions:
|15-19||Brooke Crossland||Erowal Bay, NSW||3:40:35|
|20-24||Penny Slater||Wamboin, NSW||3:04:01|
|30-34||Becky Mates||Willoughby, NSW||3:19:12|
|40-44||Megan Arthur||Hamilton, New Zealand||3:13:03|
|45-49||Catherine Ballantyne||Sydney, NSW||3:07:28|
|50-54||Jenny Henville||Loftus, NSW||3:25:46|
|55-59||Josie Sinclair||Auckland, New Zealand||3:14:06|
|65-69||Lynne Pattle||Auckland, New Zealand||3:38:32|
|15-19||Hayden Wilde||Whakatane, New Zealand||2:21:55|
|20-24||Taylor Charlton||Manly West, QLD||2:35:19|
|25-29||Tim Fitzpatrick||Echuca, VIC||2:39:36|
|30-34||Nicholas Moore||Gold Coast, QLD||2:34:41|
|35-39||Matt Backler||Taurange, New Zealand||2:26:49|
|40-44||Tod Horton||Burleigh Heads, QLD||2:41:13|
|45-49||Simon Manson||North Curl, NSW||2:33:27|
|50-54||Peter Walker||Chatswood, NSW||2:48:51|
|55-59||Andrew Rutty||Figtree, NSW||2:55:40|
|60-64||Richard Jeffrey||Bingie, NSW||2:56:10|
|65-69||Alan Pattle||Auckland, New Zealand||3:25:41|
|70-74||Ry Lichtwark||Rotorua, New Zealand||3:30:45|
MONTGOMERY, BERNARD WIN XTERRA WETSUITS SWIM PRIME
Tom Montgomery and Virginie Bernard each took home a brand new wetsuit from XTERRA Wetsuits Australia for posting the fastest amateur swim splits of the day, 15:29 and 20:59, respectively.
WEISS, ORCHARD LEAD XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR STANDINGS
After five of the six races in the 2015-2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Bradley Weiss and Lizzie Orchard sit atop the elite standings.
Just one race remains, an important one that counts double points at XTERRA Malaysia in Langkawi on May 7. Both Weiss and Orchard, and host of other pros, will be at the tour finale in Malaysia to chase the crown.
|1||Bradley Weiss, RSA||DNS||100||DNS||82||69||251|
|2||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||82||75||90||DNS||DNS||247|
|3||Brodie Gardner, AUS||DNS||82||100||DNS||49||231|
|4||Braden Currie, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||100||100||200|
|5||Sam Osborne, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||90||180|
|6||Kaon Cho, KOR||53||DNS||75||49||x28||177|
|7||Courtney Atkinson, AUS||100||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||175|
|8||Ben Allen, AUS||DNS||90||DNS||DNS||82||172|
|9||Charlie Epperson, USA||75||69||DNS||DNS||DNS||144|
|10||Olly Shaw, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||63||138|
|11||Joe Miller, PHI||DNS||53||82||DNS||DNS||135|
|12||Kieran McPherson, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||69||53||122|
|13||Cameron Oneal, USA||63||58||DNS||DNS||DNS||121|
|14||Cameron Paul, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||45||108|
|15||Alex Roberts, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||58||41||99|
|16||Jason Hsieh , HKG||58||DNS||DNS||DNS||34||92|
|17||Cedric Lassonde, FRA||90||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||90|
|18||Barry Lee, MAS||DNS||49||DNS||DNS||31||80|
|19||Taro Shirato, JPN||69||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||69|
|20||Michal Bucek, SVK||DNS||63||DNS||DNS||DNS||63|
|21||Aiden Dunster, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||58||58|
|22||Lachlan Davey, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||DNS||53|
|23||Kiley Momohara, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||45||DNS||45|
|24||Noah Wright, USA||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||37||37|
|1||Lizzie Orchard, NZL||x90||100||DNS||100||100||300|
|2||Mieko Carey, USA||100||82||90||DNS||DNS||272|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||DNS||DNS||100||DNS||90||190|
|4||Jacqui Slack, GBR||DNS||90||DNS||DNS||82||172|
|5||Renata Bucher, SUI||DNS||DNS||82||DNS||75||157|
|6||Sarah Backler, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||58||148|
|7||Rachel Challis, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||82||DNS||82|
|8||Belinda Hadden, AUS||DNS||DNS||75||DNS||DNS||75|
|9||Mary Gray, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||DNS||75|
|10||Jessica Simpson, AUS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||69||69|
|11||Catherine Sterling, USA||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||63|
|12||Penny Hosken, AUS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||53|
|13||Holly Khan, AUS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||49||49|
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW. Presenting sponsors include John Paul Mitchell Systems, the world’s largest privately owned professional salon hair care company, Outrigger Resorts - one of the largest and fastest growing privately-held leisure lodging, retail and hospitality companies in the Asia-Pacific and Oceania regions, 220 Triathlon Australia/NZ, the Forestry Corporation of NSW, and XTERRA Wetsuits & Boards Australia - the official swim sponsor.
ABOUT TEAM UNLIMITED
TEAM Unlimited, founded in 1988, is the Hawaii-based television, events, and marketing company that brought off-road triathlon and trail running to the world under the brand name XTERRA. From a one-off race held on the most remote island chain in the world XTERRA evolved into an endurance sports lifestyle with worldwide appeal. Over the past 20 years XTERRA transcended its status as ‘just a race’ to become a bona-fide way of life for thousands of intrepid athletes as well as an emerging brand in the outdoor industry. In 2016 XTERRA will offer more than 200 off-road triathlons and trail running events in 30+ countries worldwide and produce 10 adventure television shows for international distribution. Online at xterraplanet.com / xterracontent.com.
ABOUT ELITE ENERGY
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race is produced by TEAM Unlimited LLC in conjunction with Elite Energy Events. Elite Energy is a sports and athlete management-marketing firm, dedicated to lifestyle sports development, creating new standards in competition, format, equipment and competitor satisfaction. Established in 1999, Elite Energy manages mass participation sporting, music and entertainment events where their company has produced many of Australia's leading multisport events. Elite Energy is one of Australia’s premier event management specialists. Their mission is to "make events memorable". Quality is a vital component in the development of their events and their goal is to satisfy the needs of sponsors, competitors, the triathlon industry and the public in a safe, healthy and memorable atmosphere. Mark "Emo" Emerton, the founder and CEO of Elite Energy, served as the logistics manager for the Triathlon, Marathon, Race Walks, and Road Cycling events of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games. Learn more atwww.EliteEnergy.com.au
2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship was the 11th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 21st annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Oct 23.
|DATE||WORLD TOUR EVENT||LOCATION or WINNERS|
|7-Feb||XTERRA Philippines||Brad Weiss/Lizzie Orchard|
|21-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Brad Weiss/Flora Duffy|
|5-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Olly Shaw/Mary Gray|
|12-Mar||XTERRA Saipan||Brodie Gardner/Carina Wasle|
|20-Mar||XTERRA Costa Rica||Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset|
|26-Mar||XTERRA Argentina||Josiah Middaugh/Myriam Guillot-Boisset|
|3-Apr||XTERRA Malta||Roger Serrano/Brigitta Poor|
|16-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand||Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard|
|17-Apr||XTERRA La Reunion||Ruben Ruzafa/Carina Wasle|
|23-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard|
|7-May||XTERRA Brazil||Ilhabela, São Paulo|
|21-May||XTERRA Oak Mountain State Park||Pelham, Shelby County, AL, USA|
|25-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland||Vallee de Joux|
|25-Jun||XTERRA Mine over Matter||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|10-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||Victoria, B.C., Canada|
|16-Jul||XTERRA Beaver Creek||Beaver Creek, CO, USA|
|23-Jul||XTERRA Parry Sound||Ontario, Canada|
|31-Jul||XTERRA Italy||Lago Di Scanno|
|31-Jul||XTERRA Dominican Republic||Barahona|
|13-Aug||XTERRA Sweden||Hellsgaarten, Stockholm|
|14-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Canmore, Alberta, Canada|
|20-Aug||XTERRA Germany – XTERRA European Championship||Zittau|
|27-Aug||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|27-Aug||XTERRA Korea||Daeahn Reservoir, Wonju City|
|4-Sep||XTERRA Denmark||Mons Klint|
|4-Sep||XTERRA Quebec||Quebec City, Quebec|
|11-Sep||XTERRA Woolastook||New Brunswick, Canada|
|17-Sep||XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship||Ogden, Utah, USA|
|23-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Kapalua, Maui|