Piranhas’ pad: Orange hoping home course advantage will help bridge gap to leaders

STARRING ROLE: Jessie Dean has been superb for the Piranhas so far this summer, they'll look to her for another big effort in Sunday's home leg. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW
STARRING ROLE: Jessie Dean has been superb for the Piranhas so far this summer, they'll look to her for another big effort in Sunday's home leg. Photo: ANYA WHITELAW

Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club finds itself in the unusual position of chasing Bathurst heading into Sunday’s penultimate round of the Central West Inter-Club Triathlon Series but it’s a challenge the Piranhas are relishing, especially considering they’re on home turf this week.

In fact, that could well be the difference this weekend, Piranhas president David Hunter says.

Although the precinct has hosted other events since the Piranhas moved there from Lake Canobolas, Sunday’s inter-club race is the first at Gosling Creek, handing the home club a small advantage.

“We won’t have that advantage for long, but it might help us out this time,” Hunter laughed.

“There’s a few athletes who might have raced when we’ve hosted the [Triathlon NSW] Club Championships, and a couple of the Bathurst guys have come over for our club races, but for the most part I don’t think many would’ve seen this course.

“So maybe that local knowledge will make a difference (but) the [scoring] is a little bit different this season, it’s weighted using last year’s results as well, which has created a lot more interest in the competition and it’s brought a couple of the other clubs into the title race.

“Bathurst is one and they’re leading, it’s a bit different for us chasing them but it’s also a new challenge, and it’s great to see them in the hunt.

“Bathurst’s leg on Australia Day was superb, the race was great and they had huge numbers so there is a bit of pressure on us to deliver in our leg now.”

Hunter says he’s certain the Piranhas’ women will deliver on the 23km course and, assuming they do, he said the club’s men’s results will be crucial.

“The fast fellas from Bathurst and Mudgee in particular will be here, so our guys will need to perform pretty well I think,” Hunter said.

“Our women has traditionally been very strong, they have been this year too, and we don’t expect that to change either, although Lauren (Kerwick) won’t be racing this weekend.

“We’ll need to be strong in numbers and strong in performance too, if we want to close that gap between us and Bathurst.”

As per the Mudgee, Cowra and Bathurst legs, Sunday’s Orange event will also include an enticer race which contributes to the inter-club series tally as well.

“That was a great move, including the enticer race. It’s designed for the high-school aged juniors and people new to the sport as well,” Hunter said.

“I’m hoping we’ll have a big contingent in that. The junior races don’t count toward the inter-club so I’m not sure clubs like Dubbo and Mudgee will have many there, but we should have a big turnout for those races as well.”

The first junior race kicks off at 8am before the second at 8.15. The enticer starts at 8.45am before the main race at 9.30.

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