Braden Currie and Lizzie Orchard wins Xterra Asia Pacific Championships
The elements proved an additional challenge, but Braden Currie and Lizzie Orchard stayed calm to emerge victorious in the 3rd annual XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race on an unseasonably windy day at Callala Beach in New South Wales, Australia.
It’s the ninth XTERRA win of Currie’s career and for the second year in a row he won XTERRA New Zealand and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship races on back-to-back weekends.
“For me it’s the end of five years of solid racing, and I’m just so stoked to finish on a good race,” said Currie.
“You know that feeling of being smooth and consistent the whole race and finishing with a good result, when you race professionally it doesn’t get much sweeter than that.”
For everyone, the day started with an eye-opening walk down the beach to find big waves, red weed, white caps, wicked wind, crazy currents, and downright blustery conditions at Callala Beach.
It was so rough getting in-and-out of the water race officials changed the swim course from two-laps with a beach-run in the middle to just one-lap that went with the current. Even the pros had a hard time sighting buoys and swimming in straight lines.
ORCHARD GOES 3-FOR-3 IN 2016
Lizzie Orchard isn’t a surprise winner anymore. Last year she finished an amazing 5th in a stacked field at the XTERRA World Championship. To start this season she won her first XTERRA major in the Philippines, and just last weekend she won the XTERRA New Zealand Championship. Today, she solidified all those results with her third win of the year to take a commanding lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings.
“I can’t believe it. I’m still me, it’s just me. I really like the hot races, and it wasn’t that hot today so I’m very pleased to have a good go today.” smiled Orchard, an XTERRA Tribe favourite for her big smile and friendly demeanor.
From the very beginning of today’s women’s elite race it looked like the title belonged to Jacqui Slack, who lives and trains with her fiancée Benny Allen just up the road in Wollongong for much of the year.
Slack had the best swim of the day by more than one-minute, and took a minute lead on to the run. Behind her Renata Bucher (who had the fastest bike split of the day, 1:32:20), Lizzie Orchard, and Carina Wasle started chasing.
“There were three or four of us within 40 seconds or so,” said Orchard.
“With the long beach section of the run we could all see each other. It was a technical run, and Carina was about 50-meters behind me the whole way.”
After passing Bucher on the sand early in the run, it took Orchard and Wasle until about the 7K mark to catch up to Slack.
“We slowly, sloooowly caught Jacqui,” said Orchard, who had the fastest run of the day (41:14) to take the tape in 2:36:42, just 27-seconds ahead of Wasle (who won at XTERRA Reunion last weekend).
Slack came in third, gutted not to have won it. Bucher held off a hard-charging Jessica Simpson on the run by just two seconds to finish in fourth, with Simpson taking home the XTERRA Australia title for the second year in a row as the top Aussie.
“I’m super proud of Lizzie,” said Bucher, who recruited her to be on her Aloha Racing Team. “She’s an amazing athlete, and a great person as well. She smiles all the time, and really has a great Aloha spirit.”
WEISS, ORCHARD LEAD XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR STANDINGS
After five of the six races in the 2015-2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Bradley Weiss and Lizzie Orchard sit atop the elite standings.
Just one race remains, an important one that counts double points at XTERRA Malaysia in Langkawi on May 7. Both Weiss and Orchard, and host of other pros, will be at the tour finale in Malaysia to chase the crown.
|Pl||Name (Bib #)||Time||Swim||Bike||Run|
|1||Elizabeth ORCHARD (32)||2:36:42||0:20:01||1:31:34||0:40:41|
|2||Carina WASLE (33)||2:37:09||0:20:55||1:30:34||0:40:54|
|3||Jacqui SLACK (31)||2:37:40||0:18:37||1:31:33||0:43:16|
|4||Renata BUCHER (35)||2:41:05||0:22:24||1:28:23||0:45:32|
|5||Jessica SIMPSON (34)||2:41:07||0:19:46||1:33:31||0:43:19|
|Pl||Name (Bib #)||Time||Swim||Bike||Run|
|1||Braden CURRIE (1)||2:11:46||0:16:57||1:15:49||0:35:31|
|2||Sam OSBORNE (12)||2:13:38||0:16:57||1:18:05||0:35:14|
|3||Ben ALLEN (4)||2:14:47||0:16:06||1:17:56||0:37:12|
|4||Courtney ATKINSON (2)||2:16:30||0:16:12||1:22:06||0:34:38|
|5||Bradley WEISS (15)||2:17:04||0:18:06||1:18:16||0:36:55|
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