Braden Currie and XTERRA World Champion team up for Red Bull Defiance 2017

By Red Bull Defiance 2017

Red Bull Defiance has attracted one of the most incredible, elite, multisport fields, with course designer Braden Currie pulling off the ultimate partnership.

Currie and United States athlete Josiah Middaugh are the fiercest adversaries on the XTERRA circuit but for the first time, come January 21 and 22, they will be racing together.

These two will be damn near unbeatable in the men’s elite field and Currie says: “It will be awesome that Josiah will have my  back for this epic, two-day race, rather than be on my back chasing me down.”

“Josiah is such a strong athlete and we have had some massive battles recently. We had a race finish in September this year at XTERRA Pan America Championship that came down to 7 hundreds of a second and ended up being the closest finish in XTERRA history. I got him back in the XTERRA Worlds where we finished fourth and fifth respectively, then it was his turn to beat me at the ITU Cross Tri Champs in Australia last month.

“I think we are very similar in a lot of ways – gutsy, determined and not afraid to give it absolutely everything to win,” Currie says.

Middaugh has never been to New Zealand before and is in for a treat as he joins a sold-out field of 70 teams stage-racing across eight private, incredibly scenic hill country stations, over about 150km, in two days, by mountain bike, on foot and in kayaks.

He says he is very much looking forward to racing Red Bull Defiance. 

“Braden and I have become pretty intense rivals in the sport of XTERRA, so it will be great to team up with him and work together instead of against. We have similar strengths and I like his attitude, so I think we will make a good team.”

Middaugh adds that he likes the format of the event and the distances are long enough to be a good challenge, “but reasonable to be able to race hard the whole way.”

Other elite men’s teams who will be pushing for a podium are this year’s Red Bull Defiance winners, youngsters Daniel Jones, of Wellington and Australia’s Alex Hunt. They will be hoping that their relatively younger age combination prevails over seasoned campaigners Wanaka’s Bob McLachlan and Methven-based Glen Currie.

Racing is expected to be red-hot in the elite mixed division, as two super-couples go head-to- head. Wanaka’s Simone Maier and her partner in life and in racing Marcel Hagener were second overall this year and won their mixed category but for Red Bull Defiance 2017 they will have the formidable husband and wife Nelson team of Richard and Elina Ussher to contend with.

Elina won Coast to Coast earlier this year for the third time and Richard, who has ‘semi-retired’ after a glittering career, that included five Coast to Coast wins, recently finished second in the 2016 Queenstown Marathon.

The women’s category features two, amazing, adventure racing champions who have teamed up again. Wanaka’s Jo Williams, who was in the Adventure Racing World Championships-winning Team Seagate this month, will race with Christchurch athlete Sia Svendsen, - a member of the team that won the 2016 Godzone Adventure Race. They won the Red Bull Defiance women’s category earlier this year and will be hard to beat again next year.

Although the team’s category of Red Bull Defiance is sold out, there are still limited entries available for the single stage events.The newly-launched 43km Minaret Burn Mountain Bike race will be held on January 21, offering a rare opportunity to ride through one of New Zealand’s most iconic high country stations.

The 28km Skyline Traverse mountain run will be held on January 22, and is a true highlight of Red Bull Defiance.

After running its first chapter in 2014 and the second in January this year, the Red Bull Defiance has established itself as a must-do race because it has all the key ingredients of an unbeatable adventure. Magnificent scenery, challenging stages, weekend warriors rubbing shoulders with world-class athletes and that X Factor that only Red Bull can bring to an event.
Richard and Elina Ussher have a long history of successful racing together. They will be aiming for a win in Red Bull Defiance’s mixed elite category. PHOTO: MILES HOLDEN.
Colorado’s Josiah Middaugh (left) and Wanaka’s Braden Currie were only separated by 7/100ths of a second in the XTERRA Pan America Championship in Utah, in September. PHOTO: XTERRA/JESSE PETERS
Jo Williams (front) and Sia Svendsen are two tough adventure racing ladies and will be defending their 2016 Red Bull Defiance women’s category win. PHOTO: GRAEME MURRAY.

Find more information and to enter the single stage events go to
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