A magnificent show of athleticism and enthusiasm was displayed at XTERRA Australia this weekend 1-2 April 2023 with over 1,000 competitors descending on the coastal town of Dunsborough, Western Australia to be part of it!
Five off-road races offered something for everyone, with the premier Long Course race a stand-out, doubled as a qualifying event for the XTERRA World Championships in September; as well as the 2023 Triathlon WA off-road State Championships.
Line honours went to the formidable New Zealand duo Sam Osborne and Samantha Kingsford who set the charging pace from the get-go and notched up another title to their XTERRA hall. Both were blown away by the World-Class course.
“It’s honestly a banger of a race on a hell of course – it really rewards somebody who can rail a bike around a corner!” said Osborne.
“Thank you so much for having us here in Australia; and with a true mountain bike leg, what a course to come to; it’s honestly amazing!” said Kingsford.
The long course race consisted of a 1.5kilometer swim through the turquoise waters of Geographe Bay; a 28km mountain bike race through the flowing singletrack in Meelup Regional Park and finished with a 10km trail run along the sculptured granite coastline.
Osborne who clocked a time of 2:26:20 and said the course lived up to its’ expectations with a technical run and sensational mountain bike leg which is what attracted him to the Dunsborough race in the first place; albeit with Kangaroos too!
“If you don’t have your mind on the game or you’re slightly off you can lose time on those corners on the mountain bike; but I got my rhythm in the second lap and actually I got knocked by a kangaroo too – he just jumped straight in to me!” said Osborne.
“Usually I back myself on a foot race against Benny (Allen); but he’s a great technical runner and almost like a magician when he goes across those rocks so I was really trying to make sure I had a gap on him before going into the final run leg,” said Osborne.
Australians Ben Allen and Tyla Windham put on a great show of determination hunting Osborne down on course to the cheers of the local community finishing in second and third respectively in times of 2:30:05 and 2:33:16.
Ben, the reigning course champion and with 18 career XTERRA World Tour wins, used his experiences on the challenging course.
“The Dunsborough course is just so good, so fun; especially the mountain bike – you’re sliding out, going over jumps and berms, what more could you ask for!” exclaimed Allen.
“This is the sickest XTERRA race on the planet! I’ve been coming to race here for eight years so I know what it’s like; and now XTERRA get to showcase this course to the World and share just how good it is!” said Allen. “Sam’s a solid competitor and I’m glad to share this race course with him.”
In the female race, Kingsford showed her absolute power across all 3 disciplines with an overall time of 2:52:33; holding off Australia’s Kristen Gardner (3:05:36) and Kate Bramley (3:15:11).
“I wanted to get a decent gap in the swim and continue the lead into the mountain bike because I knew the Australian girl (Gardner) was an adventure racer so probably really good at the rock hopping,” said Kingsford.
“I pushed it in the first bit of the run, then paced myself and kept going on the rocks; it’s just so awesome to come here and have a win over an Aussie too!” added Kingsford.
For the past 10 years, event organisers Rapid Ascent have conducted the event weekend under the brand X-Adventure Dunsborough, before working alongside XTERRA to bring you this 11th edition.
And it’s not just about the premier race, the weekend featured races for participants of all ages to get a taste of what XTERRA is all about.
Saturday included the XTERRA Short Course race (750m swim, 15km mountain bike, 6km trail run), and kids’ XTERRA adventure races – Groms (800m run, 1.2km bike) and Kids Tri (200m swim, 5.8km mountain bike, 2.6km trail run); whilst Sunday morning saw the XTERRA Aquathlon race (1km swim, 5km trail run).
All events were competed in with individual athletes, or as relay teams of up to 3 doing one leg each.
Tom Ridsdill-Smith and junior athlete Billie Mincham won the XTERRA Short Course in a show of what ‘racing through paradise’ is all about, finishing with total course times of 1:42:10 and 1:39:19, respectively.
“The Saturday is always a favourite, said Event Director Sam Maffett of Rapid Ascent. “Athletes of all ages and abilities shared their racing experience, creating a really happy, family and inclusive environment.”
The XTERRA Aquathlon was won by David Penter (0:49:53) and India Murphy (0:54:58) in the serene waters of Geographe Bay.
And a record field of close-to 400 junior athletes and younger kids had a blast in the Kids Tri and Groms XTERRA events with their enthusiasm and team spirit providing a wonderful atmosphere with the supportive help of family and friends.
Headquartered at the Dunsborough Country Club, the area is renowned for its awe-inspiring landscape that encompasses a vast ocean of beautiful blue water, spectacular coastlines, wildflower lined running tracks, and an extensive network of mountain bike trails.
Maffett was impressed once again with the weekend’s showing of magnificence.
“Well done and thank you to all who raced, as well as those involved as support crews, spectators, and our sponsors,” said Maffett.
“We have carefully curated each course and discipline to capture the landscapes in the Dunsborough area, and it was great to see athletes of all abilities embrace what off-road racing is all about.” added Maffett.