Xterra champions show off skills with impressive off-road wins in Western Australia

Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack capture the X-Adventure long course at Dunsborough in Western Australia on Sunday, March 23, 2014 [photo: Rapid Ascent]

The second day of the X-Adventure, Dunsborough (WA) – Australia’s largest off-road triathlon – saw some of the world’s very best off-road endurance athletes take on the challenging course of a 1500m ocean swim, 12km coast and trail run and 22km mountain bike on Sunday, March 23.

It was a rough start to the race with plenty of waves in the swim but it didn’t seem to deter overall winner Ben Allen from Wollongong, New South Wales, who dominated right from the start.

Ben Allen was first across the finish line in an overall time of 2:18:37, setting a new course record and 18 minutes in front of his nearest rival.

The 12-time Xterra World Tour Race Champion was extremely impressive all day and showcased his talent to Western Australia’s South-West.

“I wanted to really show everyone what I can do,” said Allen. “I love this sport and everyone here has put on such a fantastic event, I really wanted to do it justice.

“The course is amazing – rock hopping along the coast, being able to pick up a bit of speed on the trail section of the run and then the mountain bike course just speaks for itself – it’s a mountain bikers dream with heaps of single track. The course is really twisty and turning; I just got into a rhythm and rode it like a roller coaster. I was smiling the whole way.”

In second place was Nathan Jones of Leederville, WA, in a time of 2:36:05, and rounding out the top three was Balinga Pasco in 2:38:55.

“It was a good ride and run, and there were lots of strong competitors,” Nathan Jones said. “I ran a bit better than last year and improved my time and position so it was a really good day.”

2013 National British Xterra champion Jacqui Slack rides to victory at the X-Adventure – Dunsborough (WA) [photo: Rapid Ascent}

Jacqui Slack from the UK was the convincing winner of the female category, in a time of 2:49:08.

Slack is the 2013 National British Xterra champion and was really looking forward to X-Adventure, her first race in WA.

“I always wanted to visit WA and what better way than to tee this up with the thing I love doing most… off road triathlon racing with a twist,” Slack said.

The swim leg provided a good challenge for Slack who is not used to choppy conditions. She came in second out of the swim, closely behind open water specialist Ceinwen Roberts from Swanbourne WA.

From there, Slack went strength to strength, gaining time on her nearest competitors to finish 14 minutes in front.

“I enjoyed every minute of it,” said Slack. “The swim was great but a bit technical with lots of waves, so I was pleased to be able to follow the direction provided by the leader [Ceinwen Roberts] who seemed to find the best route through the course.

“I felt awesome rock hopping in the run. I got into a great rhythm and there were lots of people out on course cheering as we came through. When I came into the bike leg it just felt better and better.

“It’s a great course – super technical single track and lots of wash out turns,” she added. “I knew the last section was downhill so I was looking forward to that. It was probably the most fun mountain bike course I’ve ever done. It was just awesome out there.”

Coming in second behind Slack was elite triathlete Rachael Smith, from Victoria Park WA, followed very closely by Kristen Gadsdon from City Beach WA.

“The swim was quite rough,” said Smith. “I really enjoyed the run but the mountain bike was very stressful – I had a few spills.

“It’s very different to a standard triathlon where you ride on the road and can really power down,” she added. “The mountain bike is a like mind game and really fatiguing. I’m very happy to take out second place.”

X-Adventure Long Course results

Top males

  1. Ben Allen 2:18:37
  2. Nathan Jones 2:36:05
  3. Balinga Pasco 2:38:55

Top females

  1. Jacqui Slack 2:49:08
  2. Rachael Smith 3:11:38
  3. Kristen Gadsdon 3:12:31

X-Adventure Short Course results

Top males

  1. Peter Fisher 1:31:12
  2. Matthew Walker 1:34:18
  3. Pete Duzevich 1:34:52

Top females

  1. Jessica Reynolds 1:37:36
  2. Renee De Voogd 1:40:29
  3. Shirley Erasmus 1:45:15