There haven´t been too many aquabike races in Europe over the last two weeks. While we had also races in Hungary and Ireland last weekend, the weekend before was a purely English aquabike racing weekend. Some of the aquabike events attracted quite a big number of competitors though.
On the 23rd and 24th of July the next round of the Castle Race Series took place in Northern England at Castle Howard. As usual the sprint distance race took place on Saturday and saw a female dominated race. 11 out of the 18 competitors were women. They were not only outnumbering the men on the start line but also in the top ranks at the finish line. No less than seven female athletes were amongst the top ten finishers of the race. Fastest of them was Nicola STAPLES, winning the race with the fastest time overall, one and a half minute faster than the fastest man Chris BIRCH. Andrew BOND was third overall, four more minutes behind, with the second fastest woman Beverley KNIGHTS following 29 seconds later. Third places were taken by Louise RUDD and Ken HILTON.
Just as in the sprint distance race the women also outnumbered the men on the start line of the standard distance race on Sunday. Saskia RICKS was the fastest of the 24 women finishing the race. But this time there were two men faster than her. Mark TAYLOR was fastest of the 20 men, winning the race about four minutes ahead of Jonathan LETTS while third placed Nathan VURGEST came in more than 18 minutes after the winner. Alexandra MOSS and Zoe COCKSEDGE completed the women´s podium.
We also had two aquabike races on Saturday and Sunday at Cotswolds Lake – both of them standard distance races. Saturday´s race was won by Neil PARKER, about two minutes ahead of Matt DOWNTON and almost six minutes ahead of Steve BROADWAY. The women´s race was much closer. Wendy DAVIES was the winner, only 13 seconds ahead of Katherine ILES. Fiona MINX finished third, also less than two minutes behind.
At Sunday´s race we had a few more aquabikers on the start line. After 17 athletes finished the aquabike race on Saturday, we had 21 finishers on Sunday. And it was also the faster race. Gareth ANDERSON took the win in 1:30:04 – more than seven minutes faster than Saturday´s winner. Iain DOWNIE came in second, five minutes behind. Only 32 seconds later it was the fastest woman of the day Bethany KINGTON, who crossed the finish line third, still faster than Saturday´s winner of the men´s race. Mark HYDE completed the podium of the men´s race, while Eleanor HAINS and Debbie COOPER came in 2nd and 3rd in the women´s race.
At the standard distance race of the Middlesex Triathlon Mark YEOMAN took his 7th win of the season. Chapeau! This time he put more than 20 minutes into second placed Richard PARKER. Fast athlete to cross the finish line was Karen MURPHY, winner of the women´s race. Rafael NUNEZ was the faster of the only two athletes finishing the sprint distance race.
Last weekend we also had another aquabike race at the Fadd-Dombori Triathlon Festivál – still the only aquabike race in Hungary. And it was another race with a woman crossing the finish line first. Krisztina FAZAKAS was the fastest athlete of the day, almost two minutes ahead of the winner of the men´s race András NAGY. He was followed by the second women of the race Tímea MAYER, with men´s race runner up Róbert BAKSA coming in fourth.
In Ireland we had the first ever aquabike competitions at the Loughrea Triathlon Festival. Ryan CONNOLLY was the fastest of the 18 aquabike athletes in the standard distance race about four minutes ahead of Liam LYNCH, who came in just 23 seconds ahead of the fastest woman of the race Carolanne RUSHE. Third man on the podium was Hugh FEELEY, while Natasha CARRICK and Julia MANGAN completed the women´s podium. Only six aquabike athletes started the sprint distance race. Darragh SULLIVAN was the fastest man, followed by fastest woman Aisling BOYD.
Last weekend´s biggest aquabike race in England was at the Cleveland Steelman. 30 aquabike athletes finished the middle distance race, where Iain KATZ took a clear win, more than five minutes ahead of Jason HAIGH and about 13 minutes ahead of Benjamin PARK who came in third. In the women´s race it was Libby CRAWFORD who took the win ahead of last year´s winner Victoria MCMURTHA, with Helen HAIGH following in third place.
Another first time aquabike race was the one at Cowman Triathlon. Or actually two. At the middle distance race we had nine aquabike finishers. Colin NADIN was the fastest of them. He won the race with a time gap of almost ten minutes to second placed Rob SPARKS. Third athlete to cross the finish line was the fastest swimmer and winner of the women´s race. Hannah PAULL came in just a few seconds before third placed man David TAFT. With this remarkable performance Hannah gained 269 points in the Aquabike Ranking Europe, making her the new #1! Chapeau!
And last but not least we had the second Box End Triathlon of the season. Fastest man in the standard distance aquabike race was Wayne HITCHCOTT who climbed up the Aquabike Ranking where he´s now sitting in 8th place. Behind Wayne it was the fastest woman of the day Alex KNOWLES crossing the finish line second overall. Rafael NUNEZ was the fastest of the three athletes who finished the sprint distance aquabike race.
Chapeau and congratulations to all aquabike finishers of last week´s races!