XTERRA East Gippsland, the first XTERRA off-road triathlon of 2018, is this Saturday, February 10, in the laid-back country town of Bairnsdale, which is just east of Melbourne.
It’s the second race in the three-part XTERRA Australia Series that gives amateur races from around the country a chance to qualify for Maui and be crowned Aussie XTERRA champs.
For an inside look on who to watch for this weekend we turned to the most fanatical XTERRA racer in all of Australia, Tommy Morwood.
“We have some serious age group superstars about to take on mother nature down in Victoria this weekend,” exclaimed Morwood. “These guys all LOVE to race off-road, and when they make their way to Maui then the world better look out: THE AUSSIES ARE COMING!”
Here, Morwood gives us a preview on the men’s and women’s amateur race favorites:
Rowen Beggs-French is the headline athlete this weekend. He has two ITU Cross Tri World Championship titles under his belt and was second to Ben Allen in the first race of the XTERRA Australia series in Callala. His swim and bike skills are exceptional.”
Jacob Storey will not be far behind though as he enters T2, and he has a blistering run to bring him home. At Calalla, Storey had the fastest overall run split and clawed back three minutes on Beggs-French, but it just wasn’t quite enough. These two competitors usually finish pretty close to each other, so it will be a good battle to see who can come out on top.
Also of note is Daniel Wells, who won the 30-34 division at XTERRA Calalla. Wells is desperate to get back to Hawaii, so expect him to do all three XTERRA events across our eastern seaboard this season to punch his ticket. He was at the 2016 XTERRA World Championship and was in fine form despite the crazy mud-fest bike course. You can see the passion in his eyes when he starts talking about going off-road - he LOOOOOVES it. And, his training numbers are looking awesome so possibly he’s got what it takes to round out the top three overall at XTERRA East Gippsland.
In the women’s race we have Kate Bramley, who was first female amateur home at XTERRA Calalla and will no doubt be looking to retain that title of top Aussie. She’s a solid all-rounder with no real weakness.
The main event, dubbed the XTERRA Victorian Championship, features a 1.5km river swim, a 30km mountain bike, and 11km trail run. There also sprint distance and Xticer beginner race distances on offer.
With most of the athletes racing this weekend new to the Australian series, it's going to leave the age-group championship and those coveted Maui slots wide open for race three up at XTERRA Townsville on September 1.
The XTERRA Australia Series kicked off on December 9th at XTERRA Callala. At that race XTERRA elite Ben Allen took the men’s race in 2:27:22, followed by Rowan Beggs-French, who claimed the runner up spot in 2:31:23, while Jacob Storey took third in 2:34:18. Both Beggs-French and Storey will toe the line at XTERRA East Gippsland in the hopes of collecting enough points to earn a qualifying spot into the 2018 XTERRA World Championship in Maui.
On the women’s side in Callala, Emma Jeffcoat took the win in 2:45:01 while Kate Bramley was second in 2:52:43, and Anne Alford was third in 2:52:56.
Learn more about XTERRA East Gippsland and the XTERRA Australia Series at http://www.xterraaustralia.com.