With a number of long course triathlons on currently the pro triathletes have been spread a bit thin but on Sunday we should see a strong field starting with Pete Jacobs and Luke McKenzie headlining the event. In saying that we don’t want to take anything away from the rest of the field. Racing at Husky will also be Ollie Whistler who won the 2010 Canberra Half Ironman, 2011 Yeppoon 70.3 and recently the Hell of the West triathlon in Goondiwindi amongst a host of other younger up and coming long course triathletes.
The main interest will be on the head to head race between last years number 2 & 9 finishers at Kona. Jacobs is the current Australian Ironman Champion and McKenzie has won 5 Ironman titles. Both are 30 years old and both are preparing for what is possibly going to be the most highly contested Ironman in Australia’s history.
Pete Jacobs is hoping that he can fire on the bike this weekend, unlike last Sunday in Geelong. “I know my biking is going well, but in the middle of Ironman Melbourne preparations it is hard to feel good on the day I need it. I’m a little behind in my Melbourne Training, but feel I still have time to get where I want to be.” Pete will use the race in Huskisson as a ‘solid training day and hopefully a great race experience.’
The 2010 Port Macquarie half ironman winner, Mitch Robins will also be racing. Mitch took a year off from long course to focus on ITU in 2011. He started the Port Macquarie 70.3 in October but punctured out of the race early on. This weekend will see the start of Mitch’s next phase of pro racing. After a successful yet frustrating year he has decided to pursue long course and 5150 in the US this winter. Robins won the Holten ITU race last year and also consistently finished ahead of most other Australian’s racing the ITU second tier races throughout last year.
The headline act though is undoubtedly the Jacobs v McKenzie race. With Ironman Melbourne on March 25 this race will give them a good hit out and a chance to identify any aspects of their race that need fine tuning before Melbourne. Jacobs raced last weekend in Geelong over the same distance but had some mechanical issues on the bike and did not run well of the bike due to cramps. Interesting to see an age grouper by the name of Ross Young breaking up the elite field in Geelong with a 1:10 run. The fastest of the day.
It is great to see Finnbar Crennan racing open this weekend. Finnbar snuck under the radar to be the fastest on the day at the Forster Ultimate Triathlon last September as an age grouper. Always good to see a 40-44 at the top of the table. According to Scott Llewellyn Crennan is super strong on the bike right now.
Michael Fox, Ben Allen, Jemania Francis, Alex Reithmeier and Lindsay Wall all raced at the 2XU Falls Creek long course triathlon last weekend. Reithmeier pulled out of the race on the bike leg. Fox had a solid result with a fast swim and and solid bike run for 7th overall.
Matthew Pellow had a great race at Husky last year for 3rd overall. He swam and rode very competitively and was just 4mins of Pete Jacobs run time. Fox was 5th last year with Wall 6th.
The women’s race seems to be in line with what we have seen recently in Australia. Apart from 2-3 he fields haven’t been very deep at all. Where are all you ladies?
This year at Huskisson we see Rebecca Hoschke (nee Eveleigh) going up against Rachael Paxton for the prize money. Hoschke raced at the Geelong long course last weekend and placed 3rd female overallwith a time just under 7mins behind winner Belinda Granger. Eveleigh rode quicker than Granger but lost time in the swim and run.
Paxton finished 3rd female overall at the recent Hell of the West triathlon. She was a bit rusty but we should see a stronger performance this weekend in Husky. Since starting with Aeromax Team in Lennox Heads Paxton now has a good focus and the environment to succeed. Paxton won the Malaysia70.3 in 2009 so knows how to win a major race.
(Preliminary open start list)
Rebecca Hoschke (nee Eveleigh)
Casper van den Burgh