The weather cleared from the blustery and cool conditions of recent weeks to give a fine day, not too hot, only a modest wind and relatively low humidity. In the final analysis, 23 teams and 76 individuals were on the start line in the water at Tikioki lagoon.
First out of the water after the 1.5 kilometre swim was last week’s Boiler Swim winner Dylan McDermott in 21 minutes 56 seconds.
He was followed just seven seconds behind by all-rounder Stephen Farrell from Auckland and a further 18 seconds back to last year’s overall winner Graham Perks from Rotorua.
Onto the 41km bike leg and Farrell and Perks immediately gapped the field by around one and a half minutes to the chasers.
The closest chasers included Jake Jackson-Grammer, David Jenkins, Yoann Hotellier (Tahiti), Vanessa Woodger, Mary Gray, Leighton Hunt and Roland Neururer.
Approaching the half way mark on the cycle, the lead positions changed as race for the finish line intensified.
Gray moved up from a one minute 30 seconds deficit to the leading female, taking the lead from Woodger and gradually creeping ahead on the last 20km of the ride.
Hunt and Hotellier had brought themselves up to fifth and sixth, respectively. Jackson-Grammer bridged up to the leaders from a 1:30 minutes deficit out of the swim and took the lead on the bike with 15km to go.
He moved ahead on the ride back to Tikioki and this proved to be the winning break.
Jackson-Grammer entered the transition from bike to run with a lead of close to two minutes on Perks and Farrell.
He eked out another minute lead on the 10km run to finish in the very respectable time of 2:07:03 hours and become the 2016 champion.
On the run, second place finisher Farrell kicked clear of Perks and in the last few kilometres, David Jenkins got up for third overall.
In the women’s race, the cycle lead built by Gray of close to two minutes allowed her a buffer and she steadily built on this with the best female run time of the day at 42:26 minutes to be first female home in a time of 2:18:57 hours. Local triathlete Woodger finished second on 2:26:28 hours followed by Jen McDermott on third place.
The Cook Islands Triathlon Association (CITAI) extends it’s thanks to its major sponsors Air New Zealand, The Edgewater Resort & Spa, Bank of South Pacific, Island Car & Bike Hire, The Computerman, Pukekohe Travel, Cook Islands Trading Corporation, Ride Rarotonga, Ariki Holidays and Vaima Island Water as well as it’s appreciation for the valuable staff assistance given by these businesses.
Team winners: Female Team – Ducks in Flight (Bernie Raffe, Jules Tamaariki, Heidi Gustafson) 2:42:04; Veteran Team – The Morgans (Lynne Morgan, Greg Morgan) 2:37:22; Open/Mixed Team Motley Crew (Kelly Pick, Adrian Cruz, Menard Dela Cruz) 2:26:29
The fastest splits of the day were – Swim – Dylan McDermott 20:56; Cycle – Jake Jackson-Grammer 1:03:18 Run - Yoann Hotellier 38:41
The fastest local triathlete splits were – Swim - Vanessa Woodger 23:30; Cycle – Geoff Stoddart 1:07:21 Run - Roland Neururer 41:28