Lizzie Orchard and Benjamin Forbes Clinch XTERRA Australia Crowns

April 22, 2024

DUNSBOROUGH, AUSTRALIA /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The fourth stop on the XTERRA APAC Tour concluded with a closely contested elite women’s race, where Elizabeth “Lizzie” Orchard (NZL) narrowly secured victory, finishing just 27 seconds ahead of Hannah-Lee Young (AUS) alongside Ben Forbes (AUS) in the men’s race, emerging victorious at XTERRA Australia.

The Full Distance Triathlon served as the main event of an action-packed weekend from April 20-21, 2024, in Dunsborough, Western Australia. The festival atmosphere drew 1,200 participants across various triathlon and trail run distances, with 28 age-group athletes earning qualifications for the 2024 XTERRA World Championship in Trentino, Italy.

World-Class Course Delights Competitors & Crowd

A key highlight of XTERRA Australia was the exceptional course design. The swim segment consisted of a two-lap, 1.5K course starting from waist-deep water at the boat ramp. Competitors swam through the crystal-clear waters of Geographe Bay, enjoying a seabed teeming with marine life, before transitioning ashore just 30 meters from the water’s edge.

The 30.2K mountain bike course featured nearly 90% hand-built singletrack through Meelup Regional Park. With its array of berms, drops, and jumps, the track tested the athletes’ skills, maintaining a high level of excitement.

Concluding the race, the 10.5K run was set along the area’s stunning granite coastlines, weaving through bushland and coastal rock, challenging runners with moderate hills and scenic views, and providing a striking finish to the competition.

The redesigned two-loop MTB and run course for 2024 led the athletes through the race village, giving fans and spectators a chance to cheer on friends, family and local heroes, while also giving athletes the chance to recharge with cheers from the crowd.

Forbes Earns First XTERRA Victory

Benjamin Forbes (AUS) won the men’s race with a time of 2:27:08. New to XTERRA, Forbes has a background in mountain biking across disciplines like Cross Country (XC), Enduro, and Downhill (DH). He transitioned to triathlon at the end of 2021 and quickly excelled, clinching the Cross Triathlon National Champion title in 2023. His rookie XTERRA season in 2024 has shown strong performances, including a third-place finish at the XTERRA Rotorua Festival, leading up to his victory in Australia.

Discussing his race, Forbes shared, “Usually I absolutely hate the swim, but as soon as I started, I couldn’t believe how nice it was in the water – the fish, the coral. He continued to add, “The bike leg was also super fun – the most singletrack in any XTERRA course I’ve ever done – it was so fun!”

The positive result, his strategic preparation and overall passion for the sport have quickly positioned Forbes as a rising star in XTERRA.

Elite Women Showcase Masterful Execution

A fiercely competitive contest among the top five elite women maintained a tight race starting from Geographe Bay. Their performances set the stage for a closely contested triathlon with multiple overtakes throughout the three disciplines.

The final results of the top 5 elite women were as follows:

1st – Lizzie Orchard (NZL) – 2:52:20

2nd – Hannah-Lee Young (AUS) – 2:52:57

3rd – Jacqui Allen (GBR) – 2:55:12

4th – Kate Bramley (AUS) – 3:00:31

5th – Kristen Gardner (AUS) – 3:08:42

Stellar Swim in Favorable Conditions

Lizzie Orchard (NZL) complemented the swim start by saying, “The water was beautiful and clear; it was pretty flat as well. We were all prepared for waves so that was cool.” Meanwhile, Kate Bramley (AUS) also noted, “Swim felt fine, but I was a little off the pace as we all got separated amongst the age group athletes.”

Jacqui Allen (GBR) led the pack out of the water with a time of 20:51, closely followed by Kristen Gardner (AUS) at 21:14 and Orchard at 21:21. Bramley was slightly behind, emerging at 21:50, with Hannah-Lee Young (AUS) completing the top five at 22:43. Young, the reigning XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion, remarked on her condition, “I actually hadn’t been feeling 100% this week so I wasn’t really sure how the race would go. Tried to keep the swim as steady as possible knowing if I pushed too hard it would hurt me later.”

Young Chases Orchard in Thrilling Bike Battle

During the bike segment of the XTERRA race, Orchard hunted down Allen before slowly extending her gap up front heading into T2 with a time of 1:33:15. She expressed her enthusiasm for the course, stating, “I wish every XTERRA race could have these bike trails; I had a lot of fun out there today. This really is my kind of race, I love the trails and just want to stay here to ride more!”

Close on her heels was Hannah-Lee Young, who completed the segment in 1:34:58. She recounted her experience, saying, “The bike course was so much fun, and I loved sending it over the tabletops/drops and around the berms.” Hannah-Lee caught Kristin & Kate on the first lap and then caught Jacqui just before the 2nd lap. Hannah-Lee and Jacqui’s plan was to then catch Lizzie. They rode the majority of the 2nd lap together until Hannah-Lee broke away on one of the climbs. “I have never been in a battle like that before on the bike so it was fantastic for my racing experience.”, exclaimed Young.

Jacqui Allen, who coaches Young, finished the segment with a time of 1:35:45. Despite a few setbacks, Allen remained positive, remarking, “I made a few costly mistakes on the bike due to lack of preparation. Loved every minute of the race today, even my crashes.”

Kate Bramley and Kristen Gardner also delivered strong performances with times of 1:38:49 and 1:37:40, respectively, demonstrating their skills and endurance through the demanding mountain biking trails.

Orchard Harvests The Victory

In the run segment Lizzie Orchard completed the challenging course in 56:01, modestly attributing some of her success to fortune while praising the conditions: “I might have been a little bit lucky today as well. This is my kind of course. I love the trails and also the hot weather.”

Hannah-Lee Young followed closely, finishing in 53:52 despite physical challenges, and remarked, “I was cramping pretty hard once onto the run and out of T2 so had to settle into a pace, lucky for me it was slightly quicker than Jacqui and I managed to [stay] ahead of her.”

Jacqui Allen, who finished at 56:19, expressed satisfaction with her performance, noting, “Happy that my run form is slowly coming back.”

Kate Bramley and Kristen Gardner also demonstrated strong endurance, recording times of 58:31 and 1:06:55, respectively. Bramley shared her strategy, saying, “Onto the run I focused on being consistent through the trails to conserve some energy for the rocks, sand, and uphill off the beach. This was a tough course but super fun with epic views on the run.”

Local hero Kristen Gardner, who completed the run in 1:06:55, received enthusiastic support and highlighted the spirit of the competition: “I’d love to acknowledge the camaraderie and support the Elite women had for each other. They were all so stoked to race against each other. You can’t beat the feeling of racing on home turf on such a classic course. A brilliant atmosphere and the course was exceptionally marked, a lot of work put in out there by Rapid Ascent and volunteers to make that run so well.”

Sam Maffett, Rapid Ascent’s General Manager said, “Sunday especially is always a fan-favorite.It gives everyone a taste of the XTERRA action creating a welcoming, cheerful, family-friendly and inclusive environment. Well done and thank you to all who raced over the weekend, as well as those involved as support crews, spectators, and our sponsors.” This sentiment highlights the dual purpose of XTERRA events: to provide a rigorous off-road challenge for athletes while also cultivating a sense of community through a spirit of competition and camaraderie. As the XTERRA World Tour expands, it continues to attract individuals passionate about testing their limits and participating in off-road events set in some of the world’s most idyllic landscapes.


XTERRA is a global lifestyle brand that champions the outdoor enthusiast in their pursuit of relentless adventure. From pioneering the sport of cross-triathlon in 1996, XTERRA has grown to become a leading brand in off-road adventure through the XTERRA World Tour, XTERRA Trail Run World Series and the XTERRA World Cup, connecting an eco-aware community of worldwide explorers that seek to protect the places where they play. For more information, visit xterraplanet.com.

High-res images are available here. Photo credit: Daniela Tommasi Photography.