XTERRA Australia Preview: An Elite Pursuit Through Paradise

April 18, 2024

DUNSBOROUGH, AUSTRALIA /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Outdoor sports reigns supreme in The Southern Hemisphere as XTERRA Australia hosts the Full Distance Triathlon taking center stage on April 21, 2024.

The scenic Dunsborough Country Club and Meelup Regional Park marks the fourth stop on the XTERRA APAC Tour as a bucket list destination blending the pristine beauty of Geographe Bay with the rugged charm of Australia’s southwest coast worthy of an elite level off-road race.

This world class course is renowned for its turquoise waters, technical and flowing MTB singletrack through the hinterland and a spectacular trail run along coastal trails. The $7,500 USD elite prize pool and 28 sought-after qualifying spots for the 2024 XTERRA World Championship are on the line for a course that rewards the fierce, the fearless and the formidable.

Course Description:

The Full Distance Triathlon is a comprehensive test of endurance and skill with a

1.5K Swim, 30.2K MTB segment and 10K Trail Run finale to the finish.

The swim segment features a two-lap course, starting from waist-deep water at the boat ramp. Competitors will navigate through the crystal-clear waters of Geographe Bay with each lap measuring 750 meters.

The course design keeps swimmers within 200 meters of the shoreline throughout, providing excellent viewing opportunities for spectators. The seabed, vibrant with marine life, adds to the scenic swim. After completing the second lap, athletes will exit the water via the boat ramp and proceed to Transition #1, located just 30 meters away.

Triathletes will tackle a 30.2K mountain bike course renowned for its flowing single-track through Meelup Regional Park. Comprising nearly 90% hand-built singletrack trails, the course includes a range of features such as berms, drops and jumps. Although not excessively hilly, the track includes enough elevation changes to challenge participants and keep their adrenaline high.

“It’s honestly a banger of a race on a course [that] really rewards somebody who can rail a bike around a corner,” said Sam Osborne (NZ), the Men’s 2023 XTERRA Australia Full Distance winner.

The final leg is a 10.5K run along the region’s stunning granite coastlines, redesigned into a two-loop course for 2024. This run combines bushland paths and coastal rock hopping,

offering athletes diverse terrains. The course’s moderate hills and scenic pathways provide both a physical challenge and a visual reward, ensuring a memorable finish to the race.

Sam Maffett, Rapid Ascent’s General Manager is looking forward to sharing what makes these courses world-class through the XTERRA Global partnership. “This is off-road triathlon at its best; we call it a race through paradise.”

Elite Emphasis: Forbes and Young are Queensland’s Finest

Benjamin Forbes (AUS) – WPI Overall Rank:143

Benjamin Forbes is a new face on the XTERRA scene in his rookie season, but he is no stranger to high level competition. Hailing from Queensland Australia, Forbes began his racing career in mountain biking at the age of six with 24 years of experience across disciplines like Cross Country (XC), Enduro, and Downhill (DH). His transition to triathlon began just recently at the end of 2021 with a cross triathlon in Queensland, igniting a new passion for combining his biking skills with swimming and running. “I did 1 year of XCO world cups and world champs then 5 years of the Enduro World Series covering 23 countries. My first triathlon was a cross triathlon in Queensland, my home state in Australia at the end of 2021. I’ve been hooked ever since.”

Rising Through the Ranks

2023 marked a pivotal year for Forbes as he clinched the title of Cross Triathlon National Champion. His rookie XTERRA campaign in the 2024 season started strong despite challenges, placing 13th at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Taiwan, overcoming a flat tire during the race. He maintained his form and secured a podium finish with third place at the XTERRA Rotorua Festival on April 6th of this month. Forbes is not only ambitious but also strategic about his career, “I’m super excited to work through my XTERRA bucket list whilst seeing how far up the ranks I can go in the Elite field.”

Strategic Insights and Preparation

Forbes’ approach to racing is meticulous, focusing more on preparation than on uncontrollable outcomes. “Results are out of my control so giving them focus, is focus that isn’t getting put towards executing my best race. How you spend your time in the build-up to race day is critical. Every second counts towards affecting your preparation for better or worse, such as doing your research on trails before you arrive to minimize wasting energy on the training days,” he explains.

This mindset extends to his anticipation of the Dunsborough course, which he believes will play to his strengths. “In general, the course should suit me well as I’ve heard the mountain bike course is mostly proper singletrack. I heard the run course had a lot of rock scrambling but that has apparently changed, so I’m suspecting a fast run course but I could be in for a rude shock.”

Forbes also reflects on lessons learned from past races, particularly on recovery strategies, “I learned in [XTERRA Rotorua] New Zealand that I can recover quickly when I go very hard in the swim so it looks like I’ll be doing that again. The bike course seems to have a lot of corners and pea gravel so efficiency through these sections is going to be critical for keeping pace.”

Through his dedication and strategic planning, Benjamin Forbes is poised to make a significant impact in the world of XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon, harnessing years of mountain biking mettle and a fresh zeal for multi-discipline racing.

Hannah Lee Young (AUS) – WPI Overall Rank:64

Hannah Lee Young from Queensland, Australia, is swiftly ascending the ranks of XTERRA off-road racing. Following an impressive 8th place finish at XTERRA Portugal last season and an age group victory at the 2023 World Triathlon Cross Championships in Ibiza, Young clinched the 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific title in Taiwan in March, marking the first stop of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup. She continued her strong performance with a third-place finish at the XTERRA Rotorua Festival. Young, known affectionately as ‘Coyote’ by her local triathlon club, is a force to be reckoned with at XTERRA Australia on home soil.

Driven by Determination

Young’s approach to racing is characterized by intense preparation and a relentless pursuit of excellence, “I push so hard because I have done the work day in, day out in my training so it’s important for me on race day to squeeze every last bit out of myself and be the best possible athletic version of myself once the race begins.”

Young continues to explain, “I also firmly believe that regardless of how the race plays out it’s important to just keep going, once each leg of the triathlon is over, I put it away & solely focus on the task at hand with a ‘what’s next’ mentality.” She humbly admits that this mindset helps her overcome her self-acknowledged weakness in swimming, fueling her to excel in subsequent segments, especially the bike, where she feels strongest.

Inspirations and Insights

Hannah’s journey is supported by significant figures, including her partner, Luke, along with her coach and fellow competitor Jacqui Allen. “My partner Luke is a huge source of inspiration. We have both grown in this sport together and he was the person who nudged me to give off-road triathlon a go. He’s so incredibly supportive and I know he is extremely proud of me,” she reflects. Additionally, her coach, Jacqui Allen has enriched Young’s career with invaluable guidance. “Jacqui has been the best mentor and such a strong pillar of support. She is so generous with her knowledge and teaches me so much about the sport, training, racing, how to be a respected athlete and good role model.”

Rising Above Challenges

Young’s resilience is evident from her experiences in early races, where despite facing mechanical failures and physical setbacks, her determination never wavered. These moments of adversity have not only defined her as an athlete but also deepened her love for the sport. “It would challenge me, it would push me to limits but it would eventually reward me with so much more! I’m 30 this year and I am the fittest and happiest I have ever been and this sport has a lot to do with that,” she states enthusiastically.

Hannah Lee Young remains focused and prepared to apply her accumulated knowledge, looking forward to delivering another standout performance, but she faces fierce competition from a strong field of elite women, each ready to present a significant challenge.

Kate Bramley (AUS – WPI Overall Rank: 78) who holds two XTERRA crowns with wins at XTERRA Wellington (2020) and XTERRA Netherlands (2019) joins Elizabeth Orchard (NZL – WPI Overall Rank 17) who is the reigning XTERRA Weston Park Champion with 2nd and 3rd place podium finishes at XTERRA Rotorua and XTERRA Wellington in 2023 respectively. Orchard might be the top contender in this race and time will tell if she can maintain her form to challenge the Australians in their home race.

The aforementioned XTERRA veteran and coach Jacqui Allen (GBR – WPI Overall Rank 28) was 6th overall in the 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Taiwan on March 23 with top 10 finishes in 10 out of 10 races since 2018. Sparks could fly as coach and student, Hannah Lee Young, go head-to-head on the course’s most challenging sections.

Community Spirit and Trail Adventures

XTERRA Australia brings a community-focused celebration highlighted by the introduction of 10K and 21K trail runs along a spectacular coastal course. These new races, especially the 21K as a qualifier for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, add an exciting dimension to the event. Alongside a Sprint Distance Triathlon and children’s adventure races, the weekend promises a festival atmosphere with entertainment for all ages, ensuring a memorable experience for participants and spectators alike.


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.