Cameron Jones took out the final round of the Nelson Mountainbike Duathlon Series


Cameron Jones took out the final round of the Mountainbike Duathlon Series
Nelson has long been recognised as an incubator for top international talent in many fields, dating back to the days of runners Rod and John Dixon and stretching through to adventure racers Nathan Fa'Avae and Richard Ussher via a peloton of runners, swimmers, paddlers and cyclists including the exploits in California last week of cyclists George Bennett and Jack Bauer.
For a who's who of contemporary talent, the final race in the Shoe Clinic Mountainbike Duathlon Series at Rabbit Island on Sunday couldn't be beaten.
Strip the swim leg from top triathlete Hayden Squance, 19, and take the kayak away from Coast to Coast winner Cameron Jones, 16, and you have a mouth-watering scenario for a short race involving a 4km cross country run, 20km mountainbike ride and 2km run.
Patrick Higgins leads the run section.
Throw in ace cyclists Patrick Higgins and Jase Christie and elite runner Phil Costley and you have a race made in heaven.
Who would think Costley could be put in the shade over a 4km run? Maybe he eased up as if he could sense the tough bike ride ahead. Whatever the reason, a tight group of four approached the first transition, with Higgins (15min 45 sec) quickest through transition, followed by Jones (15.53), Costley (15.58) and series leader Squance (16.08).
After the flurry of the race leaders, Josh Barber, Christie, 50-59 leader Stu Hodkisss and challenger Wayne Leighton, Glenn Bathgate and Lachie Brownlie brought up the first ten competitors. The 20km bike ride called for moderate bike skills and a decent amount of grunt to push the machines through soft grass and sand as well as some a couple of short technical sections.
Jones creamed it, knocking off the 20km bike section in 41min 14 sec, ahead of Higgins (42.50), Squance (42.58) and Christie (44.38).
With the field spreadeagled, there was little chance to change the standings in the final 2km run, but Costley pushed as hard as he could to record the fastest split, ahead of Jones, Higgins and Squance.
At the finish line, it was Jones in 1hr 4min 33 sec, from Higgins (1.06.07), series winner Squance (1.06.46) and Christie (1.10.16).
Brownlie (1.11.50) was a surprise package in fifth, from Costley (1.12.06), 50-59 winner Leighton (1.12.09), Barber (1.12.51) and Hodgkiss (1.12.54), with Bathgate bringing up the top ten in 1min14min 46sec.
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The absence of series leader Fran Harris left the women's field wide open.German student Alina Mothes was first to take advantage, leading the women through the opening run. She was to succumb to strong rides from Lyn Smith, Kate Kempthorne, Serena Hobson, Theresa Bygate and Jane Townsend and Saralinda McMillan.
At the finish, it was Hobson who held on with a strong final run to win from Smith, series winner Kempthorne, Mothes and Bygate.
In the short race, there was no competition for Paul McNabb, who gazumped the opposition with a clean slate over the three races, winning the series unchallenged. Mark Corlet was next, followed by Jack Munro, Luke Scott and Joseph Amos.
Aimee Burnard was consistent, with a sixth place overall finish in 49min 11sec to clinch the women's series.
Florence McNabb stayed close all the way, making up eight seconds on the bike to finish in 49min 23sec, ahead of Liz Coke (50.07), Miriam Clark (51.23) and Julie Milmine (52.59).
There was intense competition in the walk section, with Steve Pauling combing grit and bike experience to dominate with a win in 53min 51sec, enough for him to finish well up in the run section of the race.
Claire Weyers (1.02.13) strode away from the women's field to finish second overall and win the women's section ahead of third-placed Kevin Shea (1.02.55) and Megan Robinson (1.06.54).
The Nelson Triathlon Club takes a break, supporting the Gibbs Hill Challenge in August and resuming racing in September.
Article Credit Peter Gibbs Nelson Mail