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Stars set to collide at the XTERRA England European Championships
More than 50 of the world’s fastest off-roaders from 16 countries are headed to Vachery Estate in Cranleigh, Surrey, to compete for the XTERRA European Championship on August 30 2015
The men’s field is highlighted by the undisputed fastest man on dirt, Ruben Ruzafa from Spain, and the sports’ all-time wins leader, Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz from South Africa. Ruzafa, a three-time XTERRA World Champion, has won an unprecedented 14 straight championship events since 2013 but getting his 15th is shaping up to be his hardest challenge yet as the course in England suits Stoltz down to the ground.
The Caveman, who has won an unprecedented 51 career majors, four XTERRA World Titles and three ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships in his 15-year off-road career, won last year’s race in England on the twisty trails in the Surrey Hills by a mile. Funny thing was, at the finish line he was bleeding everywhere, but not from crashing. The course is so tight and twisty in the forest his arms and legs just kept brushing the bush, not that he noticed. After the race Stoltz said “I haven’t had this much fun doing my job in a long, long time. After being frustrated by many of the “ho hum” courses lately, the UK course was fantastic! The trails were easy (and safe) enough for everyone to ride, but going fast is tricky.”
Through the years the XTERRA crowd has learned that a happy Caveman is a fast one, and a force to be reckoned with. Adding to the drama of the main event is the idea that this race could very well be Stoltz’ last XTERRA major as a full-fledged elite.
The big names don’t stop with Stoltz and Ruzafa, however, as there are a wealth of the sports’ best performers in the line-up. Ben Allen from Australia, who placed third at the XTERRA World Championship in each of the last two years, has captured 17 XTERRA majors in Brazil, Saipan, Guam,. Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Greece, Czech, and England since 2011. Just last weekend he won the XTERRA Germany Championship and the week before the XTERRA Czech Championship.
Other contenders include XTERRA European Tour points leader Roger Serrano, XTERRA Malta Champion Nico Fernandez, 2013 Maui Runner-Up Asa Shaw, XTERRA U.S. Pro Series No. 3 Chris Ganter, European Tour No. 4 Jan Pyott, former British triathlon and aquathon world champion Richard Stannard, Ironman winner and XTERRA rookie Stephen Bayliss, local favorites Jon Heasman, Henry Sleight, James Walker, Llewellyn Holmes, Matt Dewis, Doug Hall, and dozens more…
Tentative Elite Start List, as of 13/8/15
Rank, Name, Age, Hometown
1, Roger Serrano, 24, Barcelona, Spain
3, Ruben Ruzafa, 31, Málaga, Spain
4, Jan Pyott, 34, Oberägeri, Switzerland
7, Albert Soley, 28, Catalunya, Spain
8, Henry Sleight, 26, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
10, Markus Benesch, 39, Austria
11, Tomas Kubek, 24, Bratislava, Slovak Republic
15, Nicolas Fernandez, 31, Pelissanne, France
16, Fabrizio Bartoli, 29, Italy
17, James Walker, 26, Manchester, United Kingdom
21, Ben Allen, 31, New South Wales, Australia
25, Jim Thijs, 35, Huldenberg, Belgium
35, Llewellyn Holmes, 34, Somerset, United Kingdom
64, Matt Dewis, 23, Loughborough, United Kingdom
NR, Euan Adams, 29, East Sussex, United Kingdom
NR, Jimmy Archer, 43, Colorado, United States
NR, Stephen Bayliss, 36, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, JP Donovan, Nevada, United States
NR, Chris Ganter, 37, Idaho, United States
NR, Doug Hall, 27, Bath, United Kingdom
NR, Jon Heasman, 40, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, Asa Shaw, 31, United Kingdom
NR, Richard Stannard, 41, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, Conrad Stoltz, 41, Stellenbosch, South Africa
NR, Lee Williams, 31, Mid Glamorgan, United Kingdom
NR, Noah Wright, 41, Texas, United States
The women’s field is just as rich with everyone in the top eight of the XTERRA European Tour (XET) rankings on the start list led by current and 3x XTERRA European Tour Champion Helena Erbenova. Erbenova has won five majors this season including four in a row at XTERRA Sweden, Italy, Czech Republic and in Germany last weekend.
Erbenova will be chased by last year’s XTERRA European Tour Champion, Kathrin Mueller from Germany who has won XTERRA Portugal and XTERRA France this year.
Other notables include four-time XTERRA European Tour Champion Renata Bucher, XTERRA England 2013 Champion Jacqui Slack, XTERRA Guam and Switzerland winner Carina Wasle, XTERRA Malta winner Brigitta Poor, XTERRA Malaysia Champion Myriam Guillot, America Tour standout Christine “Big Fish” Jeffrey, and a long list of local favourites like Louise Fox, Aya Stevens, Jessie Roberts, Joanna Carritt, and even more elites are still filtering in…
Rank, Name, Age, Hometown
1, Helena Erbenová, 37, Jablonec, Czech Republic
2, Brigitta Poór, 26, Sopron, Hungary
3, Carina Wasle, 31, Kundl, Austria
4, Louise Fox, 35, Berkshire, United Kingdom
5, Jessica Roberts, 26, South Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
6, Sandra Koblmueller, 25, Rohrbach, Austria
7, Karin Hansen, 34, Lucerne, Switzerland
10, Myriam Guillot-Boisset, 36, Rhone, France
11, Elisabetta Curridori, 24, Sardegna, Italy
14, Jacqui Slack, 32, Staffordshire, United Kingdom .
16, Renata Bucher, 37, Lucerne, Switzerland
18, Verena Eisenbarth, 30, Arthaz, France
NR, Emily Bashton, 35, Virginia, United States
NR, Joanna Carritt, 39, Somerset, United Kingdom
NR, Genevieve Evans, 42, California, United States
NR, Belinda Hadden, 36, Wandana Heights, VIC, Australia
NR, Christine Jeffrey, 42, Ontario, Canada
NR, Hana Kolarova, 28, West Sussex, United Kingdom
NR, Nienke Oostra, 38, Angus, United Kingdom
NR, Daz Parker, 47, London, United Kingdom
NR, Alena Stevens, 33, Surrey, United Kingdom
NR, Jip Veelenturf, 23, South Holland, Netherlands
Rank = Rank on the XTERRA European Tour (after 9 of 12)
NR = Not Ranked
In addition to all the elites chasing their share of the $25,000 pro prize purse hundreds of amateur athletes will be battling for qualifying spots into XTERRA Worlds, European Championship, and European Tour titles.
As the last of 12 majors across the EU the XTERRA European Championship the points will be tallied right after the race and both elite and amateur tour champions will be recognized.
The main event combines a 1.5-kilometer swim with a 30km mountain bike and 10km trail run. It starts with a swim in the strictly private and extraordinarily clean spring fed Vachery Pond. The bike course has riders twisting in-and-out and up-and-down the dense tree-lined forests. The run is just as fun, crossing over creeks, hopping over logs. There will certainly be a primal feeling for those being chased, as well as those being chased down by others through the dark, cool forest.
There is also a shorter distance Sprint race on offer (750m swim / 15km bike / 5km trail run) as well as 10K and 20K trail runs, and a free family fun run on the day before.
The atmosphere in England is unique in the world of XTERRA as hundreds of racers join together to camp onsite in the private fields of Vachery Estate. With huge open fields of grass welcoming hundreds of campers, bands, caterers, and racers the event has been dubbed “the Woodstock of XTERRA.”
Spectators are in for quite a treat as well with both the bike and run courses filtering through the “arena” several times making it quite easy to track the action. Sign-up now and secure your space at the campgrounds at www.xterraengland.com.