James Travers won a thrilling Inter-Insular Triathlon in Jersey on Sunday morning. Travers, fresh from his win at the Deva Triathlon in Chester 2 weeks ago, came home only 8 seconds clear of second placed Jerseyman Tom Perchard. The event, sponsored by the Ana Leaf Foundation doubled as Guernsey’s first of two Island Games Selection races.
Having exited the water 1 minute down on Perchard, Travers stormed the bike section and came into T2 around 4 minutes ahead of Perchard, setting up an exhilarating foot race.
Island Games Triathlon Team Manager Simon March watched the events unfold. “James was just over a minute behind Tom coming out of the swim which was expected. James is strong on the bike so now was his chance to put the hammer down and build a sufficient buffer over Perchard as we know his run is stronger than James’s. When James came into T2 around 4 minutes clear we knew it would be tight because Tom is capable of a sub 33 minute 10k whilst James’s PB is around the 36-37 minute mark.
The 10k run consisted of 4 x 2.5K laps and after the first lap Tom had reduced the deficit to 3 minutes. The second lap he cut it down further to 2 minutes 30. With one lap to go there was only 35 seconds between to two and on the home straight you could see Tom closing in however James held his nerve and took the spoils in a time of 2 hours and 35 seconds. An amazing race to watch and a thoroughly deserved win”, said March.
Perchard finished in 2 hours and 44 seconds with Jerseyman Michael Charlton taking third in 2 hours 9 minutes and 11 seconds. Guernsey made up the majority of the top ten slots, Matt Dorian 4th, Dave Crosland 5th, James Gower 6th. Jersey’s Nathan Woodland took 7th with Guernsey’s Sean Murphy taking 8th place with an excellent PB in 2 hours 15 minutes and 12 seconds having put in a hard long block of training for Iron-Man Zurich in a few months. Martin Chapman was 9th with Tim Andrews making up the top 10. Further down the field competing in their first Olympic distance triathlon were Andrea Nightingale who finished 97th and Kasey Lynch who finished 111th.
33 Guernsey Triathlon Club members made the trip across the water to take on the Olympic Distance Triathlon. Of this number 9 individuals were Island Games squad members looking to race well in order to be considered for selection.
Conditions were dry yet windy with a fair bit of chop in the sea surrounding Elizabeth Castle. 130 competitors lined up on the steps of the Elizabeth Breakwater to tackle the 1.5k swim comprising two 750 triangular loops, 40k on the bike and finishing with a 10k run.
A member of the “Tri Challenge” relay team was first out of the water in a time of 19 minutes 46 seconds. Second out was Perchard in 20.04, third was Guernsey’s Bob Guilbert in 20.15, fourth was Jersey’s John Legge in 20.21 with Travers in fifth in 21.40. Onto the bike and competitors faced a challenging one-lap 40km course around the west of the island, which included a few climbs and many long, flat sections finishing with a technical run of four 2.5km laps around Jersey’s Waterfront and Elizabeth Marina. Runners also took in a spectacular close of view of Elizabeth Castle, as they ran out along the elevated Marina wall.
Victor Travers summarised his race as follows, “I was glad that the rain stayed away for the event, as wet roads can make a bike course very tricky.
I had a solid swim exiting the water a minute or so off the lead group which I was happy to see. The swim wasn’t easy with choppy water making sighting the turn markers very difficult. I spent most of the swim by myself after being dropped by the faster swimmers, but pulling clear of the chasing pack.
The bike is my strongest element and a chance to chase down the stronger swimmers. I had managed to move up into 2nd place by Corbiere Lighthouse and continued to push to catch Tom who was now in the lead. I managed to catch and pass him on Five mile road, which was encouraging and drove me to push on and try and build a decent gap. I put everything into the final half of the bike, knowing I would need a large lead into the run to hold him off.
Heading out onto the run around the Marina, it allowed me to see the gap I had put on Tom during the bike which turned out to be a substantial – around 4 minutes. I was hampered on the 1st lap of the run by being made to run an extra 200m in error as the turn cone was positioned in the wrong place. Each lap I could see Tom closing in on me but I managed to leave my pace for a final push on the last lap to hold him off and take the win.
It is a great feeling to win on next year’s Island Games course; also in the process beating Tom Perchard who is off to the Commonwealth Games in a month and one of the favourites for next year’s Island Games”.
4th placed Matt Dorrian commented, “The swim was a real scrap, I got ducked and punched and consequently I was very happy to get out of the water. The bike was a challenging course with a few technical bits. Having not ridden it before I decided to exercise caution rather than end up in a hedge.
The run was great fun, initially I thought I wouldn’t close in on 3rd place but in the end I realised I had misjudged it and therefore I was a little disappointed not to have secured a podium place. Still, a great event and day out”.
Murphy, who heads to Iron-Man Zurich on August 10th was happy with this PB, “I felt I didn’t get a great start during the swim, it was very crowded and visibility in the water was very poor, but I felt really good on the bike, managing to pick off quite a few riders along the seafront then the riders became more spread out. Coming out of T2, I could see a few guys in front of me so I pushed hard to catch them, then tried to settle into a rhythm to maintain the gaps. I didn’t realise I was 8th until after I’d crossed the line, so I was really pleased to make the top ten”.
In the ladies race Jersey took the top honours with Sam Lee, Jo Garrod and Jennifer O’Brien making up the 3 podium places. Guernsey’s ladies fought a very competitive race between them with rising star Magda Puzio finishing in fourth place overall in a time of 2 hours 32 minutes and 2 seconds. Amy Critchlow finished 6th in 2 hours 33 minutes and 59 seconds with Pippa Inderwick finishing 11th in 2 hours 40 minutes and 4 seconds.
In the super sprint event, Guernsey’s Joanna Stapley was second lady overall in a time of 44 minutes and 44 seconds with Daisy Travers finishing third in 45 minutes and 23 seconds. Colette Andrew’s was fourth in 46 minutes and 13 seconds.
Club President, Mark Naftel was delighted with how the day went, “I was pleased to see so many Guernsey athletes racing in Jersey, both those at the head of the race and those further back. The chance for our Island Games squad to race on the course that we hope will be used next year was a bonus. To have seven of our men in the top ten places is a real result and seeing James Take the win from Perchard the icing on the cake! Our ladies have some work to do to catch the flying Jersey girls.
It was good to see members of the International Island Games Association watching and supporting the race. Jersey appears well prepared a year ahead of the Island Games”.