September 26, 2011

Race Report from Race 3 of Pita Pit 10km Winter Race Series

Sunday September 25th marked the third and final race in the Pita Pit 10km Winter Race Series. And ironically the Takapuna venue and the date closest to summer combined to produce the race that with the wintriest of weather – go figure!? But even with the drizzle, crisp and light south west wind and gray cloud cover we had 29 starters when the gun went off just after 3.30pm.

29 starters at Takapuna Beach

Despite the mundane weather conditions there was plenty to race for at Takapuna. The series competition in the open mens field was tight going into the race, with race one champ Tim McLaren leading race two champ Samuel Newlands by only nine seconds in the overall series. Behind them Tim Grammer and Travis Mitchell were also going head to head with only 14 seconds separating the training partners. There was a show down lined up in the women’s field with race one champ Dene Simpson back from illness lining up beside race two champ Tracy Wilson. John Soko was looking strong in the 50+ field but no one knew if could take three from three wins on the back of his beer drinking tour in Croatia earlier in the year. And there were some last minute entries in spec ski category challenging the current champ Sam White. There is no doubt that there was an air of anticipation as they field set off towards the first turning marker at the witches hat buoy.

As expected the pace was fast at the front of the field with Samuel and Tim both trying to exert their authority earlier. Flat water specialist and long time club paddler Scott Bicknell was also in the mix keeping the pace high with Travis Mitchell, Tim Grammer, Brendon Davey, Robbie Ford and John Soko. Further back in the field new comers Andrew Roy and Andrew Molon were battling it out with Vaughan Reed, Dene Simpson, Sam White and Tracy Wilson.

The course, which basically went north and south along the coast and cliff line slowly started spreading the field far and wide. By half way the leading mens pack was down to four: Newlands, Mclaren, Bicknell and Mitchell all looked strong in the second part of the race. The final 500m was an epic sprint with the young Newlands finally pulling away from McLaren, a bigger gap back to Bicknell and Mitchell in fourth. Newlands taking the win by 11 seconds giving him the series title by just two seconds from a frustrated but always gracious McLaren.

Samuel Newlands takes the win from Tim McLaren by only 11 seconds

Tim Grammer took the 40+ race and series title however he did drop sometime against Travis Mitchell in the overall series ranking. Ian Mercer and Garren Cooper were second and third respectively in the competitive 40+ category for the race.

John Soko took the 50+ race and series titles comfortably with the absence of Paul Gillard, with Dave Chambers and John Land slipped into second and third spots in the race and series rankings. The women’s race was equally tight in the end with Dene Simpson taking the victory by only 31 seconds from the inform Tracy Wilson who took the series title due to her consistency across the entire series. Newcomer Andrew Roy took the races spec ski title from the consistent Sam White who took the overall series title, this growing category is sure to be a hotly contested one at future races.

New comer Andrew Roy took out the Spec Ski catagory from Sam White

Other series results worthy of a mention are Greg Jones who has travelled down from Whangarei for all three races and was rewarded with a third place in the 40+ series category and Maddie Boon who has battled it out on a spec ski, but came home in second place in the womens series.

Prize giving was a festive affair in the bar at Takapuna Boating club with Pita Pit owner and former NZ Surf Lifesaving and Sprint Kayaking rep Duane Dalton presenting the cash prizes to the winners (after the rugby of course!). And as usual there was much banter about what the summer of racing would involve and who would be beating who at the club races at both RAYC and TBC, the State Beach Series which starts early November and of course the Christmas Cracker race at Mairangi Bay on December 10th. If the standard of the winter series is anything to go by, then this summer is sure to be a cracker!

To see more photos from the race click on the "Gallery" tab above

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