Orange Cycle and Triathlon Club’s Jack Bilton recovered from a nasty crash on his bike to run down other competitors to claim victory in Sunday’s Central West Inter-Club Triathlon Series sprint at Gosling Creek, with the meeting doubling as the NSW Country Short Course Championships.
The 20-year-old, who eventually won in 1.03.22, admitted he was shattered after coming off the bike just before the end of the 23-kilometre cycle leg, thinking his race may have been run.
“As soon as I fell off mentally I was lost, just knowing they were running ahead of me, I just started to go after them,” Bilton said, after finishing the race with blood dripping from a number of cuts.
“It was tough after falling off that bike. About 15-20 metres before the dismount line my wheel went off the edge of the road and as I tried to get back on the road it just went out and I came off.
“I was trying to get back on but my chain was off and I lost a cleat so I just had to run another 50 metres to transition.”
Bilton lifted in the run leg though, his favourite after extensive training, and produced a gritty performance to catch his rivals, eventually winning from Orange’s Rory Thornhill (1.03.39) and Bathurst’s Nick North (1.04.50).
The victory, he said, made up for an error that cost him a win in last year’s Orange leg of the series.
“Last year I didn’t listen to the briefing and I thought I had finished first but I missed a bit of the run, so I had to go and do it again and I finished third. I am glad to get the win this time,” he explained.
Lauren Kerwick’s win gave the Piranhas a sprint double, with the Orange club claiming the full women’s podum. Katey Sutton (1.13.24) and Jess Richards (1.15.52) ran second and third respectively.
“It was really tough out there,” Kerwick said, specifically focusing on the cycle leg.
“It’s so good but its a bit of a time trial course, when you don’t have a time trial bike you struggle a lot more.
“My best leg is the swim because I love the swim and the toughest would definitely be the bike. I led the way the way from the swim to the bike but I got caught in the bike.”
Orange stalwart and regular timing official Steve Martin, 46, produced a huge effort in his return to the track to claim men’s super sprint honour while Kaitlyn Hinrichsen led the women from start to finish, the Piranhas claiming a cleansweep as a result.
“It was my first Inter-Club for Orange for about 10 years. It is easier sitting behind the table on the timing desk I think,” Martin said.
Hinrichsen, a 14-year-old swimming phenom, said her cycle effort was a huge factor in her win, admitting it’s usually her “weakest leg”.
“I went really well this time,” she said.
“Swimming is my main sport at the moment but I am starting to get into tris a lot, I love it.”
Martin (42.44) beat out Orange’s Chris Howarth (46.27) and Mudgee’s Beau Rohr (46.31) while Hinrichsen (44.45) bested Bathurst’s Kirstin Howard (46.19) and Orange’s Sophie Martin (47.00).
Sunday’s Orange leg was the series’ penultimate event and overall results were unavailable at time of publication. The Dubbo leg on March 3 rounds out the season.
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