BSG Energade Port Elizabeth
Caption Raynard Tissink second:
Hometown hero and Ironman legend, Raynard Tissink finishes second in the fifth leg of 2008 BSG Energade Triathlon Series at Pollock Beach, PE on Sunday morning, November 23 after giving series leader, Erhard Wolfaardt some anxious moments during the race.
Wolfaardt, Steyn tops again
Erhard Wolfaardt and Andrea Steyn took another step closer to being crowned BSG Energade Triathlon Series champions for 2008 when they won the fifth race in this seven-event competition at Pollock Beach in Port Elizabeth on Sunday morning, November 23.
For Wolfaardt it was his fourth victory in a row in the series and he should, bar a mishap in the final in Potchefstroom, win his first senior men’s title in this, Africa’s premiere triathlon series, on December 7. The Bloemfontein Blitz did have a few anxious moments in Sunday’s race however, when hometown hero and Ironman legend Raynard Tissink left the transition area for the final 5km run leg of the race ahead of the field and looked intent on upsetting the series points leader’s unbeaten run. Undaunted and showing he has no equal in the sprint distance of the sport at present, Wolfaardt soon powered his way past the PE ultra distance star to take the lead and cross the finish line first in a time of 55:47 while Tissink went on to finish second in 56:03.
Commenting after the race Wolfaardt said, “I had to work hard on the run today to get past Raynard and it was probably the toughest race for me in the series so far. But I proved to myself I can come from behind and win against an athlete like Raynard so from a confidence perspective today was good for me.”
He went on to say the pressure is now all on the other top athletes in the field, like Claude Eksteen (winner of the first race in the series), Sander Berk and Chris Felgate to beat him in the remaining races at Blouberg Strand in Cape Town on Sunday and the final at Potch Dam the week after if they want to stop him from winning the series. Tissink won’t be competing in these events as he is currently preparing for next year’s Ironman and only raced on Sunday morning in PE as a training exercise. Eksteen, who finished third in the Pollock Beach race in 56:10, is the only one with any realistic chance of beating Wolfaardt but Berk who was fourth in 56:41 and Felgate fifth in 57:37 could cause some problems.
In the women’s race Steyn is proving to be in a league of her own at the moment and even a concerted effort by SA’s Olympian Kate Roberts couldn’t stop her (Steyn’s) incredible run of five straight victories in the series. Not one of the noted swimmers in the field, Steyn (who generally exits the swim about 30 seconds or more off the pace and has to work hard on the bike and run to win) had one of her best days in the water coming out of the 600m swim just behind leaders Roberts and Vicky van der Merwe. This effort in the water saw her compete from the start of the 20km bike stretch of the race with the front bunch which made the remainder of the event plain sailing for the strong running Steyn, as she exited transition for the final 5km run leg in the lead. Despite Roberts and the rest of the field’s best efforts they could not catch the two-time champion on the run, who finished first in 1:03:38, and now has BSG Energade senior women’s title number three firmly set in her sights. Roberts, like Wolfaardt also from Bloemfontein, was second in 1:04:03 and Van der Merwe of Cape Town was third in 1:05:04.
In the junior men’s section of the competition the 16-year-old Abraham Louw of Potchefstroom stormed to victory in 56:06 – crossing the line third overall - to beat reigning junior champ Wikus Weber (57:49) of Boksburg to take the lead in the series. With three wins to his name, Louw now looks like he may dethrone Weber as champion in the latter’s final year as a junior especially considering that the Boksburg youngster, who has two wins, won’t compete in Cape Town. Third in the Pollock Beach race was Richard Murray of Cape Town in 57:55 and fourth Rudolf Naude in 1:01:40.
Bloemfontein’s Carlyn Fischer, who has been struggling with an injury, looked back to her best as she recorded her first win of the series in the junior women’s section of the race beating log leader Ashleigh Blackwell, who is also struggling with an injury. Fischer won in a time of 1:06:08 ahead of the Capetonian who crossed the line 1:07:51 with Rosmenary Bailey third in 1:17:32.
In the women’s veteran division there was a new face on the podium as Port Elizabeth athlete, Mariette Hattingh took top honours after finishing first in 1:11:55 with Sue Peterkin, after being victorious in the Germiston leg of the competition, relegated to second spot. Peterkin completed the 600m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run in 1:13:46 with Lynette Fischer third in 1:16:31. Without Patrick Hofer in the men’s veterans division line up victory went to Stephen Glynn (1:05:05) with Adrian Clarke claiming second spot in 1:05:13 and Alec Riddle coming third in 1:05:25.
The series now moves to Cape Town for the penultimate race of the competition taking place at Blouberg Strand on Sunday, November 30 with the final race the following week at Potch Dam in the North West Province on Sunday, December 7. Athletes who still wish to compete can enter online for the Cape event by visiting http://www.bsgenergadetriseries.co.za/ or enter on the morning of the race, at the Big Bay Life Saving Club in Blouberg Strand from 7am. Late entries for this event will also be accepted at the new Cycle Lab Northgate Island store on Saturday, November 29 between 2pm and 4pm.