Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack dominate TreX Victorian Champs from start to finish

Off-road triathlon specialists Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack claim 2015 TreX Victorian Championships in Bendigo to take overall series lead.

Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack dominate TreX Victorian Champs from start to finish
Photo credit: Courtesy In2Adventure

Pro triathletes Ben Allen (AUS) and Jacqui Slack (GBR) took an early lead in the 1500-metre swim and never looked back. The off-road power couple claimed the elite men’s and women’s titles respectively at the 2015 TreX Victorian Cross Triathlon (X-Tri) Championships on day one of the two-day Bendigo Multisport Festival, which featured off-road triathlons, duathlons, trail running and a $5,000 prize pool at the Crusoe Reservoir over the weekend.

With reigning Australian Cross Triathlon champion and last year’s race winner Max Neumann (QLD) sidelined due to illness, Allen blitzed the field in the 1500-metre swim (16:33) entering the first transition (T1) with a 2-minute lead over nearest rivals, including eventual runner up Brodie Gardner (QLD), who was fresh off a Queensland Enduro win in September.

The 30-year-old Allen, who was back to form following a 14th-place finish at the Xterra Worlds in October “an 11-spot drop from his podium finish in 2014 “finished the 1500m swim, 30-kilometre (km) mountain bike and 10km trail run in a time of 2:09:42. Gardner took second (2:13:02), while Reece Stephens (2:15:55), Alexander Evans (2:17:14) and Jarad Kohlar (2:18:43) rounded out the top five.

“I played to my strengths and went hard from the gun and left it up to my competitors to catch me if they can,” said Allen. “The course was the next level from last year’s event.

“Bendigo is a perfect spot to host off-road triathlon events,” continued the 17-time Xterra champion. “The facilities are perfect for athletes to enjoy all aspects of the sport.

“It was great to see the mayor of Bendigo taking the time to share in all the glory and rewarding everyone on finishing a gruelling challenge.”
Australian endurance icon Guy Andrews (QLD) claimed first in the men’s 45 to 49 age group category and finished sixth overall (2:20:06)

“Had a great race,” Andrews told In2Adventure. “[My] main goal was to have a clean race and try to win the age wave outright.
“Really liked the new run course with its rhythm,” said the 45-year-old former surf life saving champion. “The breaking terrain suited my style, and I’m pumped with my result.”

Like Allen, 32-year-old Slack dominated the elite women’s division after establishing a strong lead in the swim (18:44), despite runner-up Renata Bucher (SUI) gaining ground on the second of two laps on the run. Slack finished with an overall time of 2:31:29, followed by Bucher at 2:33:50 and Belinda Hadden (VIC) at 2:46:23.

“I’m very happy to win my first TreX cross triathlon,” said Slack, an eight-time Xterra champion. “I lead from start to finish and loved every minute.

“The Crusoe Reservoir is the perfect location for a cross triathlon. The mountain bike is challenging, but still suits all abilities and the run is one of my all-time favourite courses.”

Bucher would gain a measure of revenge on Sunday as she clipped Slack in the 15km Trail Run and sprint distance (400m swim, 13.5km mountain bike and 5km trail run) X-Tri.

“It was a super challenging course, especially the run,” said Bucher. “Today [TreX] captured the essence of a real off-road triathlon.”

Despite Bucher’s efforts Slack held on to her cumulative long distance and sprint X-Tri times to claim the Victorian Dirt Mistress title, while Allen also took the Dirt Master title after finishing third behind Kohlar and sprint winner Josh Kenyon (NZL) with Kohlar pipping Allen at the post in the 15km Trail Run with Andrew Peters in third.

The Victorian title serves as the first of three TreX qualifiers to the 2016 X-Tri Worlds event to be held at Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa in the heart of the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales next November.

“Everyone had huge smiles on there faces and really enjoyed the race,” concluded Allen. “I’ll definitely be back again next year and look forward to the Australian Championships at Lake Crackenback in February.”

Other state TreX qualifiers include the Australian Championships (27-28 February) in the Snowy Mountains (NSW) and the Queensland Championships (16-17 April) on the Sunshine Coast.

About the Pathway Partner program:
As part of our Pathway Partners Program, In2Adventure is in the process of connecting with clubs, coaches and squads throughout Australia who will be hosting training and development programs aimed at helping competitors to qualify for the World X-Tri Champs in 2016.

If you are a coach, club, squad or trainer who offers training for cross triathlon including mountain biking, trail running or swimming and are interested in becoming a pathway partner you can download full information and application forms using the links below. F

About TreX:
For seven years TreX has positioned itself as the pinnacle of the cross “or off-road “triathlon racing series in Asia-Pacific. Presented by the premier outdoor adventure event specialists In2Adventure, TreX consists of a reservoir swim, mountain bike and trail run. While each TreX event features an elite category with industry-leading prize purses, including $50,000 for the 2016 ITU World Cross Triathlon Championships, the TreX Cross Triathlon national series invites participation from all ages and skill levels.

About In2Adventure:
In2Adventure is Asia-Pacific’s premier adventure event specialists. With a full calendar of national events scheduled throughout Australia, including adventure races, cross triathlon, XC Mountain Bike, trail runs and corporate events, In2Adventure fully embraces all things ‘off road’ and ‘off the beaten track’ and offers a unique, individual experience for all ages and skill levels.

Upcoming Events (2015/16):

  • Snowies MTB Festival “Snowy Mountains, NSW, 12-14 February 2016
  • Australian Cross Triathlon Championships (2016 Worlds Qualifier) “Snowy Mountains, NSW, 27-28 February 2016
  • Queensland Cross Triathlon Championships (2016 Worlds Qualifier) “Sunshine Coast, QLD, 16-17 April 2016
  • ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships “Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa, Snowy Mountains, NSW, 18-20 November 2016