Red Bull X-Alps 2013: New ‘night pass’ rule announced

Navigating by headtorch in the 2011 Red Bull X-Alps. Photograph: Red Bull Content Pool / Vitek Ludvik

Navigating by headtorch in the 2011 Red Bull X-Alps. Photograph: Red Bull Content Pool / Vitek Ludvik

Organisers of the Red Bull X-Alps have announced a new rule that will allow athletes to race through the night.

The ‘Night Pass Rule’ will be for one-time use only, and will allow athletes to keep going through the night between the otherwise mandatory rest period of 10.30pm and 5am. Athletes will only be allowed to play their night pass once during the competition.

This is not the first rule change for the 2013 race. Other rule changes for this year include the addition of a second supporter, primarily to help with the demands of technology and media, a no-prototype equipment rule, and an extended overnight six-and-a-half hour rest period.

The press release says in full:

When athletes line up at the start of the Red Bull X-Alps in just six months time they will have a new secret weapon they’ll be able to draw on — the ‘Night Pass’. In 2011 athletes had to stop at the end of every day. But this year, in a new twist, each athlete will be given the chance to break the mandatory rest stop on just one occasion and push on through the night! The new rule promises to make the race even more exciting and unpredictable for the fans — and both mentally and physically challenging for the athletes.

Comments Red Bull X-Alps race director Christoph Weber: “The idea behind the Night Pass is to allow athletes a chance to advance their position by tactical means. They may be able to hike to a key point where they can extend their lead or pass teams in front. But the price is a missed night of recovery. And they can only do this once.

It will make the race even more interesting for both athletes and fans. It will also bring much more tension to the race, as there will be unexpected moves from the teams. For the athletes it introduces a new level of mind games.”

Athletes cannot pull the Night Pass spontaneously but will need to announce their intention in advance to the race committee. Furthermore, they will not know who else is using the card until the race organizers announce this information before the night stage begins.

The Night Pass is not the only change ahead of the 2013 Red Bull X-Alps. As previously announced on the website, other rule changes for 2013 include an additional supporter for teams, the adjustment to the mandatory rest period — now 22:30 to 05:00 — and the banning of prototype equipment of any kind. Athletes will also be required to carry a Pieps Globalfinder for safety reasons.

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