Bunbury Classic Triathlon Race Report
A strong field of competitors lined up for the 2011 Bunbury Classic Triathlon, the second in the TWA State Series for season 2011/12. Bunbury again provided near perfect conditions for triathlon with some fast times being posted by the elite competitors over the Olympic and Sprint Distance courses. Open competitors lead the field in the “Orca Swim” leg, accompanied by members of the Triathlon Excellence Program. This gave the junior competitors some great race experience and allowed TEP members to gauge themselves against their more experienced counterparts in an open water swim environment.
A strong swim by Louis Bray saw him well clear of more fancied rivals at the end of the 1500m swim, but would the birthday boy be able to hang on to 1st place? Sam Lade was the 1stof the TEP members to clear the water and head for transition.
Age group numbers were strong again this year, with a big field of competitors making the Bunbury Classic their 1st serious hit out of the year.
The Olympic Distance Males hit the water in the second wave 2 minutes behind the elite competitors, while the Olympic Distance females were a further 2 minutes back. Local super swimmer Kylie English quickly pared back the advantage awarded to the male competitors and cruised through the water to head for transition ahead of most of the male swimmers. Returning to Bunbury for the event, Scotty McDowell was the 1stSprint Distance competitor to exit the water, and advantage he maintained for the continuation of the race.
An easterly breeze met the competitors as they hit the “Sports Shotz Nutrition” bike course, and with this breeze on their backs as they returned towards transition along the long Koombana Drive Straight, some fast times were posted, with +40km/hr average speeds posted by several open competitors. Michael Kent made up ground lost in the swim leg to clear transition 2 in 1st place inthe open division. Defending female open champ, Kate Bevilaqua continued to lead the field after the bike leg and hit the run course with a little over 1 minute advantage over Katey Gibb. James Knox showed strong cycle legs in the TEP category to gain an decided advantage over Sam Lade coming out of T2. Sam would have to run strong to catch James over the 5km course.
As the majority of competitors took to the Athletes Foots run around the picturesque Leschenault Inlet, the breeze dropped and the temperature began to rise. Conditions served to be a good a guide for what the Busselton Ironman competitors might expect in 2 weeks time.
With sub 3.5 minute km’s, Michael Kent extended his lead and crossed the line in 1.57.22 to win the open disvision ahead of Mike Gee who also posted a sun 2hr time at 1.59.46. Johan Borg rounded out the top 3 male open competitors. Kate Bevilaqua held on against the faster running Katey Gibb to defend her title in the open female division, something Kate also hopes to repeat at Ironman. Rachel Smith applied some pressure on the top 2 by posting the fastest run time amongst the females on the day.
The TEP squad members provided some close racing and Sam Lade ran down James Knox to finish nearly 2 minutes clear in 1.03.40. Manjimup competitor Michael Cousins rounded out the top three. Jaz Hedegland was the 1st of the female TEP competitors to finish ahead of Mikala Falconer and Stephanie Boehm.
Spectators also enjoyed the event with 2-300 supporters cheering on family, friends and relatives as they battled it out on the tri course. Retruning to the microphone in 2011 was local triathlon commentator and crowd motivator extraordinaire Gerald O’Sullivan. The G.O. added some great feeling to transition and inspired athletes with special comments throughout the event.
Of special mention was the effort of the Tuff”n”Up Tri Squad who turned out an impressive Movember display, with some great “reverse chops” and “Merv Hughes” upper lip hair follicle development. This could be something to build on in 2012, so watch this space… Presentations were made in the comfortable Barbados venue, overlooking the swim course on Koombana Bay.
Thanks to the generous support of our naming rights sponsor, National Foods with their Berri brand fruit juices and Masters brand flavoured milk drinks. Further sponsorship was also provided by Orca Westuits, CarboShotz Sports Nutrition, Athletes Foot, Barbados, Ryders Eyewear, Talisman Wines, Inside Sport Magazine, Shenton Ridge Wines, Fitzroys Cycles, K-Swiss and Water Corporation. The generosity of the sponsors enables the Bunbury Tri Club to keep the event fees to minimum, so please support these sponsors whenever possible and tell them Bunbury Tri Club sent you.
Sam Taylor, Race Director Bunbury Classic Triathlon 2011.
Click here to view the results.
Click here to view some photos from race day.