Gurney Grabs Record Sixth Victory Coast To Coast
7 February 2000
February 4 –5, 2000
GURNEY GRABS RECORD SIXTH VICTORY IN SPEIGHTS COAST TO COAST
Christchurch multisport legend Steve Gurney became the most successful athlete in the history of the Speights Coast to Coast when he scored his sixth win on Saturday.
Last year Gurney equaled the record of Motueka's Kathy Lynch with five wins. However he was uncertain if he would enter this year, deciding on the eve of the race to opt for the longest day in the 240km race from Kumara beach on the West Coast to Sumner beach, near Christchurch.
He cruised to victory, lying in the main bunch on the bike before moving into the lead group in the 26km mountain run over the Southern Alps.
Gurney trailed Australian Matt Dalziel and Queenstown's Julian Cahill by less than a minute in a tightly contested mountain run, with Cahill pushing through to the lead on the short bike ride from Klondyke Corner to the start of the kayak leg at Whites Bridge. Auckland's Neil Gellatly rode strongly to be second on the water, with Gurney four minutes back.
However Gurney, an outstanding paddler, was soon in control. He led by 10 minutes off the water, and dictated the race in the final 70km cycle into strong head winds to Sumner Beach to win in 11hr 47min 32sec.
Cahill held off a strong challenge from Gellatly on the final bike for second, nine minutes behind Gurney.
The women's race produced a new winner in Jill Westenra who overcame pre-race favourite and fellow Wellingtonian Penny Edwards in a seesaw battle.
Edwards, 10 minutes behind over the 900m Goat Pass, closed to within 40 seconds after the run. A puncture left her eight minutes adrift on to the kayak but she took advantage when Westenra, a multisport rookie, ran aground to lead by 4min 30sec off the water.
Westenra, a former New Zealand duathlon champion, was too strong on the bike for the ailing Edwards to win in 13hr 16min 25sec.
Christchurch's Jeff Mitchell was a runaway winner of the men's two-day individual title with Auckland's Susan Petrie the women's winner, although another Aucklander Anne Mortimer, a veteran, had the fastest female time.
The Christchurch brothers Graeme and Mike Causer took out the teams event.
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Speights Coast to Coast
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