Getting towards the end of October and with a weekend in Jersey at the Super League triathlon finally working its way out of my system – both the after effects of the intense racing and the effects of the after party – I found myself paying close attention to when the next event would be announced. I know there had been a lot of activity behind the scenes with the backroom team working hard to get the series shored up but what was announced next took me by surprise – in a very good way.
Super League Penticton (17-19th August 2018) will not only be the inaugural race in North America but it has also shaken up the expected order of this new series even more. This will be a Qualifier weekend open to all pro athletes looking to find a way onto the main Championship Series. Whats a Qualifier…? I pretty much heard the internet ask in unison. Well this will essentially be the second tier of the Super League Championship Series that allows every professional and elite athlete worldwide a pathway to entry into the Championship Series.
The idea being that with 25 of the best male and female athletes in the world racing the Championship Series events within a season and competing for prize money this qualifier series would provide a way to shake things up at the end of the established season. At the end of the season the top ten male and female athletes would receive a contract for the following year with the remaining 15 athletes invited back to the Qualifier Series to earn a contract for the following year. At the end of a season Super League will offer 10 contracts at their qualifier races globally and also offer five wildcard slots for athletes at their discretion.
Athletes looking to get entry into the main Championship Series must complete a Qualifier Series event and there is no limit to how many of these they can enter.
Super League Triathlon states: “This system guarantees an influx of new talent through relegation and promotion into the Championship Series in a league structure, and also ensures high-level competition among Championship Series athletes. It also protects athletes from over-governance and perceived limitations, ensuring a transparent and clear pathway to stardom.”
Super League Penticton will be the first of these Qualifier weekends and will take place over three days from Friday to Sunday.
The race format will be as follows:
Friday – The Equaliser (Stage 1) – 20k TT
Saturday – The Equaliser (Stage 2) – Swim 500m > Run 2.5km > Swim 500m > Bike 20km > Run 2.5km
Sunday – Enduro – Swim 750m > Bike 20km > Run 5km – Repeat (TWICE!!!)
The top four male and female athletes will earn a golden ticket into next years Championship Series
If this wasn’t enough then they are also running an Age Group competition which exactly mirrors the Qualifiers racing on the same course on the same day as the professional athletes looking to qualify. This competition will have a junior section and a team entry.
The Age Group competition is competitively priced with flexibility to enter the entire weekends racing or to cherry pick events as required with prices for the full weekend starting at $315 through November in their Tier 1 package then gradually increasing as time goes by.
This is an interesting twist to an already intriguing new race series which surely opens up the competition to anyone with ambition and a pro licence whilst still keeping the same quality package for Age Groupers looking to test themselves on some hard fast racing.
Super League Triathlon will be hoping for a massive uptake of pro athletes vying for a seat at the big table and if that happens then this Qualifier Series will be a roaring success with real life stakes on the line as they’ll be racing for a paid gig. With the rest of the series yet to be announced but with the format slowly taking shape its clear there will be two parallel series running concurrently. With not only added competition through the ability to qualify but also added spice to the Championship Series through the concern of not finishing in the top 10 automatic qualifying slots for the next year.
I will be watching intently as this develops and we begin to see what sort of sign up rate they get for the Qualifier Series but I am guessing it will be a densely populated field for both female and male pros.
It wont be long before Super League Triathlon announce their next Championship Race location and date which presumably will take place before Penticton comes around and will keep our appetite for this type of racing satisfied. Until then we’ll just have to keep watching the reruns of Hamilton Island and Jersey on YouTube and dreaming of that wildcard invitation landing on our doorsteps.
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