Crombie And Savage Take Out South Island Tri Champs In Wanaka

18/01/2015 by Steve Knowles

Conditions were fine and warm but the wind proved testing for participants at the Wanaka round of the Sovereign Tri Series today, in a return to the stunning Lakeside town for the first time in two years and it was a Christchurch duo who took out top honours.

The standard distance race doubled both as a secondary selection race for the ITU Age Group World Championships and the first official South Island Championship, and Craig Savage and Fiona Crombie came out on top, making the trip from Christchurch very much worthwhile.

Photo TriNZ

Robert Huisman (Invercargill) led the men in the standard Sovereign Tri Wanaka race off the bike and into the 10km run, pleased no doubt to be away from the wind on the cycle leg and at least able to find a little shelter on the 10km run course, the 22 year old looking strong as he left transition.

Huisman couldn’t hold off Savage (Christchurch) however, with the 23 year old running to victory to claim both the Sovereign Tri Wanaka and South Island titles in the breezy conditions.

“I was feeling quite confident, I arrived and had good feelings about today knowing the training I have done,” said Savage. “I lost some time in the swim, but my bike was strong, I caught up and had a good run. I caught up to Robert after maybe a couple of kilometres into the run and we ran together, to and fro for a while until I made a move, maybe three kilometres from the finish, I was feeling good and got a gap and took it to the finish.”

Savage reflected on a tough start to the day but was thrilled with his finish and simply having the chance to race a little closer to home.

“The swim was so choppy, I was getting hammered, the wind was bad but rideable and was just great practice for Challenge Wanaka next month. I am doing the half at Challenge, this was a perfect tune up on the course and good to see where I am at.

“It is just awesome to have this Sovereign Series race here in Wanaka, I am used to having to travel to North Island a lot so this is great. I like the course too, it is perfect ahead of Challenge. And being the South Island champs is good motivation and yeah, it sounds awesome to be South Island Champion, while I did put that aside coming into the race, it is going to be great to have on the CV for sure.”

Third home was multisport star Dougal Allan, the 29 year old Wanaka athlete took the chance for a hit out on his home patch as he considers some of the big multisport events later in the summer. A 5 times podium finisher in the Speights Coast to Coast, Allan proved he was a worthy competitor over a shorter distance and in a traditional triathlon to win bronze in the South Island Champs. Allan was treating the day as a great dress rehearsal for Challenge Wanaka at the same venue next month after finishing 3rd pro male in 2014.

Former running focused athlete Fiona Crombie won the women’s Sovereign Tri Wanaka and with it the South Island Championships, coming home in the tough conditions in 2 hours 22 minutes. 32 year old Crombie has spent just on two years in her new sport of triathlon and was delighted with the win today.

“That was a true honest Kiwi course, the swim was pretty tough and a bit wavy, I swam through some of the men which was challenging, but a good honest tough swim. I came out of the swim in good shape and ahead which I was happy with, that is something we have been working on.

“On to the bike and again it was a really good tough course, it provided everything you wanted, the wind was tough but no rain. I ended up going on the road bike and staying ahead of the chasing pack, we were all close together at the turnaround, I just looked to stay ahead and get to the run in front. I had a few guys go by me but I was happy on a good testing course.

“The run was just about pacing myself and getting into a good rhythm and bringing it home. I am pleased with the day and thrilled to be South Island Champion, that is a great addition to the calendar as part of the Sovereign Tri Series. I couldn’t be happier with the way it went and appreciate Wanaka turning turning out to support and providing such a good course.”

The Sovereign Tri Series is also offering specific race opportunities for up and coming youth athletes, with Phoebe Young (Wanaka) and Janus Staufenberg (Wanaka) taking line honours, delighting the local spectators in the process.

The Sovereign Tri Series now moves on to Kinloch on the shores of Lake Taupo on February 1st, all details can be found at


Sovereign Tri Series
Sunday 18 January 2015

Standard Distance
South Island Championships

1 Craig Savage, Christchurch, 2:02:38
2 Robert Huisman, Invercargill, 2:03:13
3 Dougal Allan, Wanaka, 2:03:24

1 Fiona Crombie, Christchurch, 2:22:48
2 Hannah Sturmer, New Plymouth 2:24:59
3 Laura Wood, Christchurch, 2:31:31

1 Young Guns 2:15:42
2 Daisy Chains 2:40:21
3 McRowley Mens 2:43:43

Short Distance

Youth Male
1 Janus Staufenberg, 30:02
2 Mitchell Small Christchurch, 31:30
3 Matthew Prince 31:36

Youth Female
1 Phoebe Young, 34:38
2 Olivia Thornby, 35:50
3 Anna Lindsay, 36:40
3 - Matthew Pina

U15 Female
1 - Olivia Kirkstra
2 - Rebecca Hurley