With the countdown ticking, nerves will no doubt be rising. This will be the biggest Asia-Pacific Championship event in history, with three XTERRA series colliding over two days and the pinnacle race broadcast live to a global audience. It’s bound to be a screamer, and here’s why.
There has been a lot of talk about the debut race of the XTERRA World Cup, and there could not be a better way to set the tempo for a championship weekend than this. It’s the highest profile off-road triathlon to ever be contested on APAC soil, almost 80% of the top ranked athletes in the world will be on the start line, and both reigning XTERRA Champions will be out hunting a victory. It may not be a World Championship race, but it sure feels like one.
The elites will set a blistering pace for the string of races taking place in the 48 hours that follow. We’ve already talked a lot about how this race could be won by almost anybody in the top 10, so expect nail-biting lead changes throughout, dominant performances on a brutal yet crucial bike course, and a down-to-the-wire finish for the top spot on the series leaderboard.
Live coverage begins at 05:50 local time (GMT +8) with the start gun officially ending the long wait for the XTERRA World Cup at 06:00. Shuttle buses will be on-site to take fans and spectators from the swim start to the finish line to witness the first XTERRA World Cup win live in Kenting National Park.
Just 15 minutes after the World Cup gets started, 200+ age group triathletes will take to the water to decide who will be crowned the 2023 APAC Champion of each age category. It’s the first XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship since 2019 and no less than 33 nationalities will be represented in the water and on the trails in the hopes of returning home with a championship crown.
And rest assured, every athlete that walks away with a crown would have earned it the hard way. The 39.5K course is every inch worthy of a Championship race and will put even the toughest of swimmers, riders, and runners to the test. Multiple ascents and descents littered with roots, loose dirt and technical rocky sections make this a make-or-break course. And for those who don’t break, it could be a championship win in the making.
It’s been 3 years since the last APAC Champs, and now that the courses are being marked and the first international athletes are arriving, it finally feels real again. Following close on the heels of the elites, all the action from the championship race will be live streamed for those tuning in from countries around the world and for the crowds watching on the big screen from inside the race venue.
Not letting up on the gas at all, the XC event will round out the racing on Saturday where the current Asia Downhill Mountain Bike Champion, Dan Chiang, will no doubt be setting the pace for the front riders.
Chiang has just returned from Nepal where he took second place in the first stage of the Asia Enduro Series, and will drop the run and just focus on the bike this year after winning the Duathlon at XTERRA Taiwan in 2022.
But this is no foregone conclusion. Chiang will be up against stiff local and foreign competition with a few wild cards in the mix, and the recently modified single-loop 29K bike course will provide the perfect stage for a high-intensity XC race all the way through.
The action continues just as the sun begins to rise on Sunday with another XTERRA-first as the inaugural Asia-Pacific Trail Run Championship gets stamped into the history books. The XTERRA Taiwan team has spent months mapping and prepping the 35K and 21K single loops that make full use of the varied terrain within Kenting National Park, and they’re now more than ready to crown the first-ever APAC Trail Run Champions.
The marathon distance runners will set off first at 06:00 with the half-marathon contestants following at 07:00. The course is 100% trail, starting and ending at the race venue, with a myriad of rocks, roots, and riverbeds mixed in with fast farm roads, vertical climbs, and long momentum-building descents.
But the two races will crown more than just the champions. The new segment challenge will record the fastest scramblers, sprinters, and downhill bombers of the weekend with three clearly marked segments (climb, flat, and descent) for specialists to open the taps and claim not only the bragging rights, but a trophy to serve as proof. Segments will be clearly marked, so when you see the sign, it’s all systems go.
For international athletes, this will be a first look at the new XTERRA Taiwan race village. And for those who were there last year, there are a lot of improvements. But probably the most significant of all is how and where to watch the action.
Fans are welcome to gather on Little Bay Beach to watch the start of both the World Cup and the APAC Championship and to cheer athletes while they’re in the water and as they run along the beach to the first transition. Shuttle buses will then be on standby to take fans from the beach to the watch party inside Stony Brook Farm. Two large screens will have live coverage of the race, with commentary from Doug Hall and Aléchia Van Wyk.
But it won’t all be about waiting for the finish. Transition 2 (T2) is now located inside the race village, so fans will be able to see the elite and amateur athletes coming in on the bike and heading out into the final run section. Fatigue will be in full force at this point, so the louder the cheers, the better.
Once the runners are out on the trail, live coverage on the big screens and the one and only MC Chun de Stockel will keep the crowd on their toes as we wait for the first-ever World Cup race winner and the new Asia-Pacific Champions to cross the line.
The atmosphere will be electric with DJ’s and food trucks fueling the party, so get there early to claim your space. If you’re not sure where everything is inside the venue, this map will show you everything there is to know about the new EXPO village in Stony Brook Farm.
For those not in Kenting, all the action of the first race of the XTERRA World Cup and the APAC Championship will live streamed direct and for free on xterraplanet.com Mud, sweat, and tears are guaranteed as the APAC region finally gets to race together again. Not only is off-road racing back but now it’s stronger than ever, and that will be on full display come April 15. Check in on the XTERRA live stream page for all the details, and don’t forget to set a reminder, because this one will be one for the books.
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