Round five of the 2012-2013 Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain IronMan Series was won by multiple series winner, Shannon ‘The Professor’ Eckstein at Coolum on Sunday.
Dubbed one of the greatest IronMen of all time, the legendary athlete graciously accepted his third win of the series, following a day of fierce competition in front of a capacity crowd at Coolum.
“I have been on a good roll for the first five races, coming first, third, first, third, first. So if I kept that going, a third at Noosa would wrap it up,” Mr Eckstein said.
“In the first race I felt awful, thinking to myself ‘it was a bad day today’, but after having a rest I was feeling great in the second race.
“In our sport you can be unlucky at times, but you can’t blame that. At the end of the day I wasn’t going to sit back and say ‘I was unlucky and that’s why I lost today’, you want to keep battling and fighting.”
Sunday’s win sets Eckstein up as the favourite to take out the 2013 Ironman series, with the series final being held at Noosa this weekend.
The rain-soaked round five was not without incident however, with crowd pleaser Corey Jones (Caloundra) smiling his way through an agonising ski mishap in the second race that saw him finish 10 minutes behind fellow competitors and almost miss the start of the final race.
Round four winner and coast local Kendrick Louis finished second at Coolum, followed closely by Ky Hurst in third.
The podium finish sees Louis maintain his second position on the leaderboard; 55 points away from series leader, Eckstein.
Mooloolaba’s Matt Poole made up for a devastating round four loss, placing first, fourth and sixth in Sunday’s races while clubmate Ali Day goes into Noosa’s round six in third position overall after posting mixed results at Coolum.
In the Telstra IronWoman series, Courtney Hancock claimed her first series win in tough conditions, battling some serious rain and an onslaught by IronWoman veteran Hayley Bateup, who made her second podium appearance to take second place; and Sunshine Coast series debutante, Alyssa Bull who thrilled her local following to post a third place.
“I wanted it so badly to be mine, so I wasn’t going to let anyone get in my way today,” Ms Hancock said of her stand-out win.
“It is definitely a different day than last week, that’s for sure. Last week when I finished I had concussion, and have had a headache all week from hitting my head on the board and sand.
“All week I focused on recovery and making sure I was right for this weekend.”
Hancock said she is feeling good ahead of the final round at Noosa Heads, and sits just eight points away from series leader Naomi Flood.
Noosa’s Jordan Mercer is sure to have the hometown crowd’s backing on the weekend however, and is currently in eighth place on the leaderboard after finishing 11th and 6th respectively at Coolum.
IronMan series leader, Shannon Eckstein will rely on his race experience and is looking forward to a tough final at Noosa this Sunday (24 Feb).
“I have been doing this for 10 or 12 years now, and pretty much every year I have been in a contention for a series. Sometimes I lost and sometimes I won, so I can lean back on that and I know I have done it before and enjoy it,” he said.
“The crowd at Noosa is going to be great. It’s going to be hard racing and that’s what you train for. You don’t want to win an easy series you want it to be tough.”
For full results, visit www.surfironmanseries.com.