Birkholtz digs in to show his class

Bradley Birkholtz once again proved his pedigree as one of the best athletes on the local triathlon scene as he cruised to the win in the first Tribal Triathlon series race at the Orient Beach on Sunday morning.

Birkholtz, was however made to work for the win in the sprint race by young up-and-coming triathlon talent, Travis Saunders, who led during the swim and half of the cycle leg, before being passed, with Birkholtz then powering away.

It was however a superb effort from the 15-year-old Saunders, who is definitely one to watch for the future and despite not managing to hold on for the win, it should boost his confidence going forward.

In the end, Birkholtz came home in a time of one hour, six minutes and 53 seconds, two minutes and six seconds ahead of Saunders, while Marcel Jooste rounded out the podium places in third.

“Travis Saunders, from team Tribal, dominated the swim leg, leading out the competitors by just under a minute heading in to transition,” tribal director Cillian Ryan said.

“Brad Birkholtz then showed his class by catching Saunders halfway through the cycle, before blitzing the 5km run course in a sub-18-minute run, while Marcel Jooste rounded out the men’s podium with a strong race and was never threatened for his third place finish.”

On the women’s side, Danieke de Kock was in a league of her own as she powered her way to the win in a time of one hour, 21 minutes and 38 seconds.

This was just under eight minutes ahead of runner-up Charlene Moss, while Roxy Ward followed her in less than a minute later to round out the podium.

“Danieke de Kock continued her impressive form in the ladies field, with a strong race to keep Charlene Moss and Roxy Ward off the top spot,” said Ryan.

A mini distance was then also competed on the day alongside the sprint, with the top three finishers being Caleb Meistre, Nathan Gallacher and Phillip van der Merwe in first, second and third respectively.

“The mini was won handsomely by Caleb Meistre, who was never threatened as he led from start to finish,” said Ryan.

Overall close to a 100 athletes turned out for the race in perfect weather conditions, which is a great start and should be built on over the next three races in the series, taking place in October, November and December.

“It was a very good day, the weather played its part, with the temperature staying warm, but not too overbearing,” said Ryan.

“There was just under 90 athletes, a phenomenal amount for the first race of the season, with 25% of the field as new comers.”

The next race is on October 15, with a Mini Sprint and Olympic distance offered.

There will also be a team/corporate event, which will certainly arouse the competition within the local business. It should be another exciting time for athletes.

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