In an interesting and quite possibly unique twist, leading triathlete Tony Dodds has put his (and his sponsors) money where his mouth is and challenged all-comers to take him on in his own backyard of Wanaka at the latest round of the Contact Tri Series this Friday.
Dodds is keen to make a great race of it and promote his own stunning backyard of Wanaka, so much so that he is offering to double the prize money if he can be beaten, and what’s more, he might just put the opposition up for free as well.
â€œI am putting a little challenge out there for the Wanaka Contact Tri Series race on January 14, 2011.
â€œIf anyone can beat me and come first, I will double the prize money. At present the winner gets $2000, so I’ll make it $4000. If I can get more local businesses involved that number may get even bigger.
â€œIf I win, I will NOT take the extra $2000. I’m hoping to get more elite athletes to race including some international guys, get the media more involved, and look to build the profile of the event for the sport, athletes, and myself.
â€œFor anyone who’s thinking of coming down but is not yet convinced, I’m hoping to make this an easier decision for them. We have a few spare houses and apartments if anyone wishes to stay for free, we will even pick them up from Queenstown or Wanaka airport.â€
So far those to take up the challenge include Ryan Sissons (Auckland), James Elvery (Auckland), Laurent Vidal (France), Kris Gemmell (Palmerston North), Martin Van Barneveld (Wellington), Dylan McNeice (Christchurch) and youngsters William Prior (Masterton) and Cameron Goldsmid (Wellington) with others rumoured to be joining them in the race for the cash â€“ provided of course they can beat the home town boy to the line.
Sissons has fond memories of the sprint course around the Wanaka lakefront and says he simply had to race.
â€œI will be heading down to Wanaka for the Doddsy International! Last minute decision but one that had to be made. I am really looking forward to it, I’ve won on that course before, so why not try it again?
â€œWith the field that is lining up I know it will be tough, it’s going to super hard and fast…. but who knows so early on in the season how everyone’s form is. It’s going to be a race worth watching and racing in, I can’t wait.â€
And another enticed by the â€˜Doddsy Challenge’ is Frenchman Laurent Vidal, partner of leading New Zealand triathlete Andrea Hewitt. Vidal has confirmed on his twitter account that he will line up on Friday adding some international spice to an already intriguing clash of some of the best New Zealand triathletes. Vidal finished last season ranked as the world’s 26th best triathlete.
Wanaka’s Nicky Samuels is the favourite in the women’s race, with her main challenge expected to come from well performed 19 year old Maddy Brunton (Waikato). Racing is in the twilight on a fast course on the Wanaka lakefront with spectacular results for spectators and television viewers.
Racing for the elites is in the early evening over a sprint distance in and around the Wanaka CBD making for spectacular viewing and intense racing with previous years coming down to a sprint finish on the lakefront. The day commences with shorter races for beginner and everyday Kiwi participants, finishing with the elites from 7pm..