Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack won the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour finale at XTERRA Malaysia in weather fit for a tropical sauna. With humidity at 83 percent and temperatures well over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the former surf lifesaving Australian and his British fiancé dominated the professional fields competing in the shadow of the Gunung Macincang Mountains.
Allen, the 2014 XTERRA Malaysia champion, broke fast to a 2-minute lead on the swim, then set a race-best 1:42:45 mountain bike split and 48:52 run to finish in 2:55:42, with a 10:20 margin of victory over runner-up Bradley Weiss of South Africa and 17:48 over 3rd-place finisher Fabrizio Bartoli of Italy.
“Coming from a swimming background I was just trying to nail the swim,” said Allen. “I knew if I was able to do that and get a good lead I could then find that flow out on the trail. I just felt like I was in the zone the whole time. I had a couple of crashes but I just tried to dust myself off and keep riding hard, pushing the pace. The course out there is so gnarly. I’m just really happy to be on the top step and to win here today.”
Slack, who carved out a long, early lead last weekend at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia before falling to a late charge by series leader Lizzy Orchard of New Zealand, repelled all challengers. Slack began with a women's-best swim and a by-far women's best mountain bike leg to finish in 3:28:28, with a 6:37 margin on runner-up Orchard and 12:57 on 3rd-place Carina Wasle of Austria.
Slack bombed the steep, technical downhill section and hammered the flats to post a 2:01:42 mountain bike split that was 8 minutes and 5 seconds faster than Orchard, her nearest rival. She started the run with a 10 minute lead which provided plenty of cushion to hold off Orchard’s 3 minutes 19 seconds advantage on the rugged trail run.
“I had no idea how much of a lead I actually had,” said Slack. “When you’re in the lead you have to keep pushing as hard as you can. The last few races the girls have passed me on the run so it was just a matter of fighting to the finish.”
May 7, 2016
1. Ben Allen (AUS) 2:55:42
2. Bradley Weiss (RSA) 3:06:02
3. Fabrizio Bartoli (ITA) 3:10:27
4. Takahiro Ogasawara (JPN) 3:13:30
5. Brodie Gardner (AUS) 3:17:54
1. Jacqui Slack (GBR) 3:28:28
2. Lizzie Orchard (NZL) 3:35:05
3. Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:41:25
4. Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA) 3:41:25