JP Burger, the Namibian that pretty much resides in SA full time these days, took the race by the scruff of the neck and dominated proceedings with a superfast bike and run split to win the overall Elite Men’s title. Cindy Schwulst was equally impressive with a run split that was 6 minutes faster than her nearest competitor as she claimed the ladies title
Racing got underway early in the morning with the country’s top age group triathletes vying for the various age group titles over the Olympic Distances 1.5km swim/40km cycle and 10km run. Ross Belman from KZN was the overall winner in a great time of 2:02 while Eulali Gouws from Central Gauteng claimed the ladies title in 2:21
The Elites lined up shortly after lunch time for their duel. A tough but fast course awaited the athletes as they made their way around the Maselspoort swim course. It was powerhouse swimmer Nic Quenet that carved out a big lead in the swim. In hindsight, he may have wished that he had waited for second placed swimmer, Dylan Nortje on the swim so the two could potentially have worked together on the bike to stay away from Burger who was the stellar biker in the field. Burger manged a solid swim in a little over 20 minutes. Once onto the bike however, he was not going to hold back and posted a bike best split of just under 62 minutes – almost 3 minutes faster than the next best cyclist. Not content with this, he churned out a very respectable 33 minute 10km time on a course that had many 180 degree twists and turns. Burger is off to race in Australia soon and his form is coming good at the right time. Behind him a trio of Quenet, Nortje and Matthew Greer were tussling for the remaining 2 podium spots. It was Greer with a 36 minute run split that pulled away from Nortje to take 2nd and the overall U23 title. Nortje claimed a well-earned 3rd spot on the men’s podium
With only a handful of ladies starting the race, this was always going to come down to a pure time trial as the ladies started their event shortly after the men. Shanae Williams was out the water 1st with Jayme-Sue Vermaas close by. Schwulst was almost 4 minutes back by this stage. Williams was not having a good day and had to call it while Vermaas pushed on ahead with Madeleine Le Roux and Carlyn Fischer in hot pursuit. It was however her superior running speed that pushed Schwulst into 1st place ahead of Vermaas and Le Roux to take the ladies title for 2019
In the junior race on SAT, Ben De La Porte edged Jamie Riddle in a hard fought tussle to reclaim the title he last won at this very same course, 3 years ago. Riddle was 2nd with up and coming Asher Biggs claiming 3rd. In the ladies junior race, Amber Schlebusch lived up to her status as pre-race favourite by running away on the 5km run leg, from a determined Ashleigh Irvine-Smith who was safely in 2nd place by that time. Bridget Theunissen and Tegan Gore came off the bike together looking for that elusive final podium place. It was however to be Theunissen on the day for 3rd spot as the juniors, both male and female showed some impressive race performances that can only bode well for the future of triathlon in SA.