Callala Beach on the South Coast, situated in the iconic Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia plays host to an incredible collection of triathletes from around the world
April 24, 2014 (Callala Beach, Jervis Bay, NSW, Australia) – Australian Olympian Brendan Sexton is the latest in a string of high-profile elites to join in the fray at the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship triathlon this Saturday at Callala Beach in New South Wales.
“There’s been a lot of attention for this particular event recently and I happen to spend some time with quite a few of the other age group and pro competitors,” said Sexton. “I figured if there’s one of the best assembled XTERRA fields of 2014 having a race just down the coast from home (Wollongong) why not jump in for some experience. I am in the early stages of my ITU season but I am currently doing some heavy bike and run work so the mountain biking and trail running fits in well.”
Sexton joins London Olympics teammate Courtney Atkinson and fellow Wollongong-based XTERRA star Ben Allen in what is certain to be an epic battle of “Aussies Against The World” in a stellar field that includes the South African trio of Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz, Dan Hugo, and Brad Weiss; plus Kiwis Braden Currie and Olly Shaw; Europeans Brice Daubord from France and Roger Serrano from Spain, Philippines Champ Joe Miller, and American Craig Evans.
“It’s very exciting to have a high quality XTERRA event so close to home, and I’d be kicking myself if I had the opportunity to race and let it go,” said Sexton. “While I’m far from prepared (I’ll be on a borrowed bike from my local Wollongong bike shop), I do like to spend some time off-road. Off-road triathlon is something I follow closely and something I would like to take more seriously down the track. I’m extremely pumped to get out there and see how I fair against the real XTERRA boys!”
XTERRA President Janet Clark, a Canberra native living in Hawaii where XTERRA headquarters is based, is thrilled to see the locals come out in force to support one of the sports’ marquee events.
“Australia is the multisport capitol of the world. It’s part of our culture and lifestyle, from the time we’re little kids to old timers we’re out there in the ocean and on the land, and doing it better than anyone else. It’s great to see all these world-class athletes coming out to the beautiful South Coast to give it a go.”
Stoltz – a 7x World Champion who has won an unprecedented four XTERRA World Championship titles and three straight ITU Cross Tri World titles, just won the XTERRA New Zealand Championship race in Rotorua on April 12.
“My last triathlon in Australia was the Sydney Olympics so it will be interesting to see how the hotbed of triathlon embraces XTERRA now,” said Stoltz, a two-time Olympian from Stellenbosch, South Africa. “I love the sport, am extremely passionate about it and doing my best to help it advance globally.”
The women’s elite field just added Olympians Nicky Samuels of New Zealand and Flora Duffy of Bermuda.
Samuels, the reigning XTERRA World Champion who is a perfect 3-for-3 in her XTERRA career, is coming off a strong performance at the ITU WTS opener in Auckland on April 6 where she led off the bike.
Duffy, who was third at XTERRA Worlds last year, won the XTERRA South Africa Championship in February and dominated the competition at the XTERRA West Championship at Lake Las Vegas, Nevada last Sunday.
“I was keen to race Australia before the XTERRA West Championship but after that performance and how I felt, I had to book my flight and go to Australia,” said Duffy, after posting the fastest swim, bike, and run splits at the U.S. Pro Series opener.
The pair are joining an already stellar cast that includes this year’s XTERRA Philippines and Guam Champion Renata Bucher of Switzerland, the XTERRA Great Ocean Road Champ Jacqui Slack of Great Britain, and the XTERRA Saipan Champion Carina Wasle of Austria. Combined, those five have won seven of the nine XTERRA World Tour Championship races this season.
“It’s simply impossible to predict who will win these races because we have so many wild cards in the field,” said Dave Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRA World Tour. “Champs from road tri coming out to give it a go, Olympians, we got the first and third place women’s finishers from Worlds last year, and at least a dozen racers that are hot right now. It’s going to be a great show.”
High-profile local racers including defending IM Australia Champion Rebecca Hoschke, ITU standout Penny Hosken, and rookie elite Dimity-Lee Duke. Showing them the way will be Aussie legend Jody Mielke, who won the first-ever XTERRA Championship race in Asia at the 2000 Japan Championship.
Others of note for the women include Lizzie Orchard from New Zealand, who won the 25-29 division XTERRA World Title in 2011, and four-time XTERRA Japan Champion Mieko Carey.
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship is the marquee event on XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour that includes races in New Zealand, Philippines, Australia, Saipan, Guam, and Malaysia.
“It’s so exciting to be involved in a thrilling, adrenalin pumping & action packed sport such as XTERRA,” said Allen. “I’m “stoked” as we say in Australia, to showcase my backyard and share the natural beauty of our culture, landscape, and laid back lifestyle to a big, diverse field of international triathletes.”
Related Link: Nicky Samuels, Flora Duffy to join all-star cast at XTERRA APAC
Since the XTERRA World Tour started in February Dan Hugo defeated Conrad Stoltz and Brad Weiss in South Africa, Ben Allen in the Philippines, and Olly Shaw in Guam.
Ben Allen took down Roger Serrano, Mitchell Anderson, and Noah Wright at Great Ocean Road, then Dan Hugo and Brad Weiss in Saipan.
Conrad Stoltz bested Allen in New Zealand while Weiss and Craig Evans (pictured) finished ahead of Hugo at the West Champs, plus Braden Currie topped Olly Shaw in Motatapu, then Shaw was faster than Serrano, Josh Kenyon, and Wright in New Zealand.
The point is this, in a revolving door of head-to-heads in majors around XTERRA’s World Tour – Hugo, Currie, Allen, and Stoltz combined to win 7-of-9 championship titles and Weiss was second only to Josiah Middaugh against America’s best in the West two weeks ago. Enter Aussie Olympians Courtney Atkinson and Branden Sexton and we have one heck of a showdown in store for Saturday.
Same goes for the girls. Flora Duffy, Nicky Samuels, Renata Bucher (pictured), Jacqui Slack, and Carina Wasle have combined to win 7-of-9 XTERRA Championship races this year; and nearly all of them came against each other. Just for fun, add IM Australia Champ Rebecca Hoschke and Aussie ITU standout Penny Hosken in the mix.
“It’s simply impossible to predict who will win these races because we have so many wild cards in the field,” said Dave Nicholas, the managing director of the XTERRAWorld Tour. “Champs from road tri coming out to give it a go, Olympians, we got the first and third place women’s finishers from Worlds last year, and at least a dozen racers that are hot right now. It’s going to be a great show.”
You can find XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour race recaps and elite results in the press guide here.
XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC CHAMPIONSHIP ELITES
(Alphabetical) – Age, Hometown
Ben Allen – 29, North Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Mitchell Anderson – 38, North Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Courtney Atkinson – 34, Mermaid Waters, Queensland, Australia
Braden Currie – 27, Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
Brice Daubord – 28, Orleans, Loiret, France
Craig Evans – 36, Hendersonville, Tennessee, USA
Dan Hugo – 28, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
Todd Israel – 38, Woolloomooloo, NSW, Australia
Joshua Kenyon – 20, Taupo, New Zealand
Jarad Kohler – 31, Newport, VIC, Australia
Joseph Miller – 34, Baranggay Pajac, Lapu Lapu, Philippines
Alex Reithmeier – 31, Loftus, NSW, Australia
Roger Serrano – 23, Barcelona, Spain
Branden Sexton – 28, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
Olly Shaw – 22, Rotorua, New Zealand
Conrad Stoltz – 40, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
Bradley Weiss – 25, Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa
Noah Wright – 39, Tasmania, Australia
(Alphabetical) – Age, Hometown
Renata Bucher – 36, Lucerne, Switzerland
Mieko Carey – 35, Tokyo, Japan
Flora Duffy – 26, Hamilton, Bermuda
Dimity-Lee Duke – 30, Roelands, WA, Australia
Rebecca Hoschke – 37, Narrabeen, NSW, Australia
Penny Hosken – 26, Ringwood North, Victoria, Australia
Jody Mielke – 42, Engadine, NSW, Australia
Elizabeth Orchard – 28, Auckland, New Zealand
Nicky Samuels – 31, Wanaka, Otago, New Zealand
Jacqui Slack – 30, Stoke-on-Trent, United Kingdom
Carina Wasle – 29, Kundl, Austria
FRIENDLY FACES IN CALLALA
It’s not just the epic pro field that has the XTERRA crew excited for Saturday’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Callala. The age group field is chock-a-block full of old friends and future stars.
A quick scan through the start list and you’ll find Raeleigh Rogers, one of the mainstays on XTERRA’s U.S. Pro Tour a decade ago, who won the 2002 and 2003 XTERRA Australia Pro titles.
There’s Josie Sinclair, one of three women to win XTERRA World Championships. Josie won her title back in 2004 in the 40-44 division, and will be racing in the 50-54 division on Saturday.
Charlotte McShane, who won the 15-19 division XTERRA World Champ back in 2008, won’t be in Callala (she’ll be in Cape Town for an ITU WTS race) but her Dad, Frank, and sister, Colette, will be here.
Peter Wood, an 8x XTERRA Age Group World Champion from Queensland, will be racing for the 70-74 division title but he won’t be the oldest racer in the field – that goes to Marcus Vowels (72) from Vincentia, NSW.
The youngest of the bunch is Max Stapley, just 15-years-old, who’s doing the Sprint race. His Dad Paul, who has been racing XTERRA since 2008, and his Mom Sophie (a road tri pro in France back in the late 90’s) are racing the Championship and his brother Finn (11) will surely win the 5K. The Corrimal-based XTERRA family will travel to race at the XTERRA Switzerland and France races too this year.
“My kids were doing the kids XTERRA races from an early age (9-10 for Max and 5-6 for Finn) as many of the championship races in the U.S. put on kids races, or even obstacle courses for the younger ones,” Stapley told Triathlete Magazine Australia in an interview earlier this year. “Part of the reason that we love to race XTERRA was that everyone came with their kids and our kids met all of their friends away from home.”
Damian Baynes, 43, who is originally from Adelaide, Australia but moved to Malaysia nine years, would certainly agree. His son Henry, also 15, is the youngest in the championship race on Saturday and when they fly back to Malaysia next week his daughters (twin sisters) will join he and Henry in the XTERRA Malaysia races.
“I am truly blessed,” explained Baynes. “I swim train with my children every day, they run train with me a couple of times a week and Henry trains on the bike with me on the weekends. My wife thinks we are a bit strange when we’re doing our core and strength workouts in the lounge room though. She’s probably right, but I love being able to spend so much time with my kids.”
Tom Morwood, who puts a “J” on the knuckle of his thumb in honor of his favourite professional athlete – XTERRA Hall of Famer and cancer survivor Jamie “J-Dawg” Whitmore – will be racing in his 100th triathlon in search for that magical Maui qualification spot.
“Every time my legs start to get tired in a race I look down at my thumb, see the J, and hear Jamie’s voice in side my head saying something like ‘I’ve only got one leg and I’d be kicking your butt right now!” said Morwood to “Coach Jeff” during an XTERRA Podcast last month.
Karl Hayes from www.trizone.com.au, who lives just 20 minutes from the course and is hosting XTERRA Saipan Champ Carina Wasle from Austria, is trying XTERRA for the first time while Steve Nichols, who runs adventurerace.com.au, knows all about the XTERRA lifestyle having competed in races around the globe.
Age group phenom Daniel Neilson, the Australian amateur cross tri champion, could be the favorite in the men’s race while Matilda Terry (third at XTERRA Worlds in the 15-19 division) chases the women’s amateur crown.
There are a bunch of Aussies that competed at the XTERRA World Championship last year including Ray Neill (10th in 30-34 division), Russell Kennedy (10th in 40-44 division), Gary Lilley (8th in the 50-54 division), Geri Ford (13th in the 25-29 division) and Philippa Seldon (20th in the 35-39 division).
Our strategic partners at Destination New South Wales are well represented with Andy Minahan in the mix, and Tod Horton from Flight Centre Active Travel is giving her a go. The crew is also excited to see Kieran Daly, who hosted hundreds of XTERRA athletes through the years in his role as GM of the Pacific Islands Club in Saipan.
Indeed, the “XTERRA Tribe” will be in full force on the beach at Callala.
Stay tuned to www.facebook.com/XTERRAPlanet for images and updates leading up to the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on Saturday.
XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC PRESS GUIDE
Click here to download a PDF of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship press guide, complete with course descriptions, maps, schedule of events, racer profiles, and Asia-Pacific Tour race recaps and results.
– Website: www.xterraasiapacific.com
– On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/xterraplanet
– On twitter @xterraoffroad …hashtag #xterraAPAC
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, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Flight Centre Active Travel and XTERRA Wetsuits & Boards Australia
About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA
TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988. It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2014 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 20+ countries worldwide. In the U.S. alone nearly 200,000 participants took part in the XTERRA lifestyle last year. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990. View samples at www.xterra.tv, and learn more at xterraplanet.com and xterratrailrun.com.