Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack win XTERRA Saipan

Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack win XTERRA Saipan
Ben Allen Saipan Xterra – Photo Credit: Mike Ronesia

Ben Allen from Australia and Jacqui Slack of Great Britain won the 14th annual XTERRA Saipan Championship race in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands on Saturday.

It’s the fourth year in a row Allen won the title, matching Olivier Marceau’s streak from 2004-07.

For Slack, it’s her second Saipan victory in three years. Both led from wire-to-wire in wet conditions that made the already difficult jungle bike and run courses all the more treacherous.

“Some of the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in. The rain didn’t let up and it made for super slippery conditions,” explained Allen.

Allen, one of the sports best swimmers, used those skills to bridge an early one-minute gap over Bradley Weiss and backed it up with the fastest bike and run splits of the day to win in convincing fashion with a time of 2:40:25, more than six-minutes ahead of Weiss.

“The climbs on the bike where the only place to really push because you had to be so careful on the descents not to crash. The descents were going to be make or break your day so if you could ride within your own ability and stay upright you were in for a good day.”

For Weiss, who was forced to take some time off from training leading into this race because of a troublesome iliotibial band (IT band), the results are satisfying.

“Obviously I am far from my best shape now but was still very excited for my trip out to the Islands. My hopes are to finish well in the XTERRA Asian Tour and take some momentum into the U.S. Tour,” said Weiss.

“All being said I am optimistic for the future and feel confident this injury is finally behind me. It’s been a frustrating few months but the future looks bright and for that I am excited.”

Former XTERRA Japan Champ Takahiro Ogasawara finished in third, followed by Markus Benesch of Austria and Aleksandr Dorovskikh from Russia.

Pro Men

Pl Name Final Swim Bike Run
1 Ben Allen, AUS 2:40:25 15:57 1:29:54 54:34
2 Brad Weiss, RSA 2:46:45 17:10 1:33:03 56:32
3 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 2:48:19 19:59 1:32:06 56:14
4 Markus Benesch, AUT 2:52:24 18:25 1:36:39 57:20
5 Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS 2:55:51 20:02 1:38:14 57:35
6 Joe Miller, PHI 3:02:33 22:10 1:39:11 1:01:12
7 David Esposito, FRA 3:13:39 20:32 1:48:16 1:04:51
8 Kaon Cho, KOR 3:25:43 20:12 2:03:07 1:02:24

Jacqui Slack Saipan Xterra - Photo Credit: Mike Ronesia
Jacqui Slack Saipan Xterra – Photo Credit: Mike Ronesia

In the women’s race Slack embraced the intimidating conditions right from the start. She was first elite woman out of the water, had the best bike split, and sailed into the finish with a winning time of 3:02:01, more than five minutes ahead of last year’s winner Carina Wasle of Austria.

“I thrive on the more challenging conditions,” said Slack. “I love the added dimension the rain throws in, and always seem to perform well when it’s slick and muddy. My biggest challenge was myself today. I knew I was coming into the race fit but I was more concerned about being recovered from a 100k MTB race I did last weekend in Melbourne.”

Mieko Carey, who was introduced to the sport here in Saipan more than a decade ago, finished in third. Seven-time XTERRA Saipan Champ Renata Bucher placed fourth, and Daz Parker was fifth.

Pro Women

Pl Name Final Swim Bike Run
1 Jacqui Slack, GBR 3:02:01 18:34 1:42:59 1:00:28
2 Carina Wasle, AUT 3:07:33 20:06 1:48:56 58:31
3 Mieko Carey, JPN 3:20:45 19:25 1:57:03 1:04:17
4 Renata Bucher, SUI 3:22:11 20:09 1:52:27 1:09:35
5 Daz Parker, GBR 3:36:40 22:20 2:02:53 1:11:27
6 Belinda Hadden, AUS 3:49:19 20:11 2:11:00 1:18:08

Year Men Women
2002 Mike Vine Jamie Whitmore
2003 Jason Chalker Jamie Whitmore
2004 Olivier Marceau Jamie Whitmore
2005 Olivier Marceau Renata Bucher
2006 Olivier Marceau Renata Bucher
2007 Olivier Marceau Renata Bucher
2008 Andrew Noble Renata Bucher
2009 Sam Gardner Renata Bucher
2010 Sam Gardner Renata Bucher
2011 Sam Gardner Shonny Vanlandingham
2012 Ben Allen Renata Bucher
2013 Ben Allen Jacqui Slack
2014 Ben Allen Carina Wasle
2015 Ben Allen Jacqui Slack