Langkawi, Malaysia - Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack captured the third annual XTERRA Malaysia on a day that lived up to the event's pre-race billing as The Hottest Weekend on the XTERRA World Tour circuit.
Temperatures quickly peaked to around 90F (32C) as the morning sun rose over the Gunung Macincang mountains. With humidity near 83% Mother Nature was, without a doubt, the toughest competitor facing every racer today.
Allen looking to reclaim the XTERRA Malaysia title he first won in 2014 faced a deep pro field which included reigning XTERRA Asian Tour Champ Bradley Weiss of South Africa as well as top tour contenders Takahiro Ogasawara of Japan, Brody Gardner from Australia, Kaon Cho from Korea and Olly Shaw from New Zealand.
However, after putting a two minute gap between him and the rest of the field during the swim Allen left little doubt, barring a mechanical or a crash, who's day it was meant to be. Setting a blistering pace on the bike and run Allen raced alone to finish with a time of 2:55:42 nearly ten minutes ahead of Weiss and 15 minutes ahead of third place finisher Fabrizio Bartoli of Italy.
"As always, I was just trying to play to my strengths. Coming from a swimming background I was just trying to nail the swim. I knew if I was able to do that and get a good lead I could then find that flow out on the trail." said Allen. "I just felt like I was in the zone the whole time. I had a couple of crashes but I just tried to dust myself off and keep riding hard, pushing the pace."
"The course out there is so gnarly. I'm just really happy to be on the top step and to win here today is a really awesome effort." he added.
For Bradley Weiss, who valiently held on to the second spot, it was another disappointing day.
"My form over the last few weeks has been on the decline a little bit." said Weiss. "I took a pretty aggressive racing schedule with lots of travel and it slowly has started to take its toll on my body."
"Ben has really stepped up his game." he added. "He's showed that his form is really, really good and he capitalized on that today."
JACQUI THE JET
Not to be out-done by her fiancé Jacqui Slack exited the swim up two minutes on 2016 APAC Tour starlet Lizzie Orchard with Austrian Carina Wasle and last year's winner Myriam Guillot-Boisset of France close behind.
Slack's skills on a mountain bike held true today as she bombed the steep, technical downhill sections while putting the hammer down in the flats to build enough of a gap off the bike that she could hold on and keep pace on the run.
"I had no idea how much of a lead I actually had. When you're in the lead you have to keep pushing as hard as you can." she said. "The last few races the girls have passed me on the run so it was just a matter of fighting to the finish."
Orchard, for her effort, walked away with the 2015-16 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Title and her share of the $10,000 USD prize bonus.
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||2:55:42||200|
|2||Bradley Weiss, RSA||3:06:02||180|
|3||Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA||3:10:27||164|
|4||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||3:13:30||150|
|5||Brodie Gardner, AUS||3:17:54||138|
|6||David Escolar Ballesteros, ESP||3:18:29||126|
|7||Joe Miller, PHI||3:24:20||116|
|8||Olly Shaw, NZL||3:28:48||106|
|9||Jason Hsieh, HKG||3:42:08||98|
|10||Shahrom Abdullah, MAS||3:44:39||90|
|Also: Kaon Cho (82)|
|1||Jacqui Slack, GBR||3:28:28||200|
|2||Lizzie Orchard, NZL||3:35:05||180|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||3:41:25||164|
|3||Myriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA||3:41:25||150|
LEWIS RYAN OVERALL AMATEUR XTERRA MALAYSIA CHAMP
The young-gun from Rotorua is another name to remember in a long list of fast XTERRA athletes from New Zealand. He's made a name for himself this year on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Tour while under the tutelage of fellow Kiwi and XTERRA Pro Olly Shaw.
Ryan has collected two second place finishes at XTERRA New Zealand and XTERRA New South Wales and picked up his first tour win today. Those combined efforts awarded him the overall XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour 15-19 divisional title tonight. It's safe to say his future is as bright as those award stage lights.
ALLEN, ORCHARD TAKE HOME TOUR TITLES
XTERRA Malaysia was the final stop on the 2015-16 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Tour.
The top 15 amateur, Asian-elite, and professional racers at each event earn series 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 Asia-Pacific Tour awards 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).
The 2016-17 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour season will begin anew at XTERRA Tahiti (May 14, 2016), then continue at XTERRA Korea with an amateur-only race (no pro prize money or pro points) on August 27, 2016 in Daeahn Reservoir, followed by XTERRA Japan in Hokkaido on September 3, 2016.
Here’s a look at the final elite standings:
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||DNS||90||DNS||DNS||82||200||372|
|2||Bradley Weiss, RSA||DNS||100||DNS||82||x69||180||362|
|3||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||82||x75||90||DNS||DNS||150||322|
|4||Brodie Gardner, AUS||DNS||82||100||DNS||x49||138||320|
|5||Joe Miller, PHI||DNS||53||82||DNS||DNS||116||251|
|6||Olly Shaw, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||63||106||244|
|7||Kaon Cho, KOR||53||DNS||75||x49||x28||82||210|
|8||Braden Currie, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||100||100||DNS||200|
|9||Jason Hsieh , HKG||58||DNS||DNS||DNS||34||98||190|
|10||Sam Osborne, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||90||DNS||180|
|11||Courtney Atkinson, AUS||100||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||DNS||175|
|12||Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||164||164|
|13||Charlie Epperson, USA||75||69||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||144|
|14||David Escolar Ballesteros, ESP||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||126||126|
|15||Kieran McPherson, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||69||53||DNS||122|
|16||Cameron Oneal, USA||63||58||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||121|
|17||Cameron Paul, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||45||DNS||108|
|18||Alex Roberts, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||58||41||DNS||99|
|19||Cedric Lassonde, FRA||90||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||90|
|20||Shahrom Abdullah, MAS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||90|
|21||Barry Lee, MAS||DNS||49||DNS||DNS||31||DNF||80|
|22||Taro Shirato, JPN||69||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||69|
|23||Michal Bucek, SVK||DNS||63||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||63|
|24||Aiden Dunster, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||58||DNS||58|
|25||Lachlan Davey, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||DNS||DNS||53|
|26||Kiley Momohara, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||45||DNS||DNS||45|
|27||Noah Wright, USA||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||37||DNS||37|
|1||Lizzie Orchard, NZL||x90||x100||DNS||100||100||180||380|
|2||Jacqui Slack, GBR||DNS||90||DNS||DNS||82||200||372|
|3||Carina Wasle, AUT||DNS||DNS||100||DNS||90||164||354|
|4||Mieko Carey, USA||100||82||90||DNS||DNS||DNS||272|
|5||Renata Bucher, SUI||DNS||DNS||82||DNS||75||DNS||157|
|6||Myriam Guillot-Boisset, FRA||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||150||150|
|7||Sarah Backler, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||90||58||DNS||148|
|8||Rachel Challis, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||82||DNS||DNS||82|
|9||Belinda Hadden, AUS||DNS||DNS||75||DNS||DNS||DNS||75|
|10||Mary Gray, NZL||DNS||DNS||DNS||75||DNS||DNS||75|
|11||Jessica Simpson, AUS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||69||DNS||69|
|12||Catherine Sterling, USA||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||63||DNS||63|
|13||Penny Hosken, AUS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||53||DNS||53|
|14||Holly Khan, AUS||DNS||DNS||DNS||DNS||49||DNS||49|
2016 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
The XTERRA Malaysia 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 Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship||Ben Allen/Jacqui Slack|
|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|