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SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon brings a Celebration of Sport and Community to WA’s South West

SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon brings a Celebration of Sport and Community to WA’s South West

Date: 03 May 2023
Posted: 1 year ago

The 22nd SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon took place at Barnard Park, Busselton between Friday 28 – Sunday 30 April 2023. Nestled between the beautiful Busselton Foreshore, majestic Ludlow Tuart Forest and bustling town, the event site hosted more than 2000 athletes and hundreds of spectators in the three day celebration of sport.

There were eight events on offer including the SunSmart Busselton 100, Busselton AquaBike, Busselton Foreshore Triathlon Sprint or Enticer, the Busselton Fun Run (500m, 1.6km or 5km) and the SunSmart Kids Triathlon. For the first time in Festival History we hosted the 2023 Oceania Cup Busselton, an elite World Triathlon race in the exciting super sprint eliminator format, and the 2023 Oceania Para Cup which featured some of the Oceania region’s best para triathletes.


The Festival kicked off on Friday 28 April with the 2023 Oceania Para Cup Busselton. 24 Elite men and 17 Elite women competed, including athletes from Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore. The super sprint format resulted in a phenomenal show, with athletes racing up to 3 rounds of a 250m swim, 6km bike, 1.6km run, with the highest placing athletes going through to the next round.  

The top three males ran off the bike in a tight group, each pushing one another to new heights. Luke Willian (AUS) took gold for the men after a huge push on the last corner, with Lachlan Jones (AUS) and local athlete Kurt Wesley rounding out the podium just seconds apart. The female final saw an exciting last lap of the run. The top three women were three neck-and-neck the whole course until Charlotte McShane sprinted across the line in first place, just seconds in front of Jessica Ewart-Mctigue, with Ellie Hoitink crossing the line third to claim bronze.

As the sun set on the first day of the festival, the action continued with the Busselton Fun Run! More than 100 athletes competed in the twilight run, with distances on offer including the 500m Dash, 1.6km Magic Mile or the 5km Fun Run. There was significant prize money up for grabs in the 5km Open wave, so we saw a very competitive field with some Australian athletes from the Oceania Cup even returning to the foreshore to try their hand! 22-year-old WA runner Luke Burrows crossed the line in a blistering time of 14:57.90, followed by the east coast Schofield brothers in second and third place. Charlotte McShane backed up her Oceania win with first place in the 5km, her second win for the day in a time of 17:03.58. Runners Amy Buckingham and Lauren French rounded out the top 3.


Day two of the SunSmart Busselton Festival of Triathlon delivered the final event in the Triathlon WA State Series; the State Long Course Championships. More than 1100 athletes took on the iconic SunSmart Busselton 100 event consisting of a 2km swim, 80km bike and 18km run. Racing conditions were close to perfect, with low winds, flat water and the sunshine warming up the course as the day went on. The atmosphere around the course was incredible. Spectators lined the barriers, cheering friends and family on as they progressed through the course. Club Alley was abuzz with energy, providing that much needed boost of dopamine for our athletes on the run leg. The beautiful blue carpet was waiting, with athletes running down through a chute lined by excited spectators, high fiving and hugging friends before crossing the finish line and receiving that coveted finisher medal.

The Men’s open category saw an incredibly competitive field with Kurt Wesley (North Coast), Guy Crawford (Fremantle) and QLD athlete Kye Wylde leading the swim and heading into T1 first. Nick Thompson (UWA), Reece Harris (Mandurah), James Lewin (Stadium) and Ryan Bailie (Bunbury) worked together in a tight pack in the swim coming into T1, boosting each others performances for a quick first leg.

Wesley won the swim prime, Matt Burton (Oceanic) won the bike prime, and Wylde won the run prime.

Whilst Wylde took the overall win for the SunSmart Busselton 100, Burton was crowned State Long Course Champion in the Open Male field with a time of just 3:20:18.57. Thompson was hot on his heels (3:21:15.85) to claim second in the State Championship rankings, and Mark Radziejewski just 59 seconds behind Thompson taking home fourth overall and a third place State Champs win.

The Women’s Open field consisted of a fast swim by Eastern States athlete Angharad Llewellyn, with endurance triathlon veteran Kate Bevilaqua (Fremantle) second out of the water. Rachael Smyth (Fremantle) had a blistering cycle leg and won the prime which put her into first place, followed closely by Khloe Healy on the bike.

Smyth held her lead into the run to take out the overall win, crossing the line under the 4 hour mark with a time of 3:59:59. Cassandra Heaslip outdid Healy in the run securing her second place across the line. Healy followed in third place with a time of 4:05:05. We crowned Rachael Smyth State Long Course Champion with Kate Bevilaqua as runner up for the State Series event.

Brett Johnson (non-club) maintained his title of first Male Age Group athlete across the line with an impressive time of 3:35:10.20. Returning to defend the crown after a win in 2022, Fiona Whelan kept her title as fastest female Age Group Athlete, crossing the line with a time of 4:03:29.71.

We congratulate Nathalie Laurendeau (Stadium) on her swansong race, retiring as a Long Course Legend after completing her 20th Busselton Festival of Triathlon event with a time of 4:38:45! What an amazing achievement. A huge congratulations to Nicola Lenane (Oceanic) for completing her 20th Festival of Triathlon race.

We also saw some healthy sibling rivalry with Darren Pesich (Fremantle) who completed his first race as a Long Course Legend and raced alongside brother Glenn Pesich (Rockingham) out on the B100 course. Sarah Nisbet and Barry Williamson are both having an amazing season with a second place in their respective age group to add to the collection.

Our oldest athlete on course, 75-year-old Brian Bennett, completed the course in a very impressive time of just 06:05:01. Did you know, Brian completed his first ever triathlon at 62 years of age – and his first ever triathlon was IM Taupo! What a legend.

We congratulate all Elite and Age Group athletes who participated in the race. Thank you so much for being a part of our event.


Day 3, Sunday 30 April 2023, began with an impressive sunrise over the iconic Busselton Jetty, and water conditions were pristine and glassy. The Southwest region certainly treated us to perfect weather with low winds, barely any waves, and lots of sunshine. The 2023 Oceania Para Cup kicked off our morning with a mix of veterans and debutants out on the Barnard Park course, as we crowned nine new Australian Oceania Champions. WA Locals David Bryant (PTS5) and Sally Pilbeam (PTS4) both took home gold on home turf whilst we saw the return of Brant Garvey (PTS2) who crossed the line with silver for his class. Nige Young (PTWC), Thomas Goodman (PTS2), Liam Twomey (PTS4), Sam Harding (PTVI), Sara Tait (PTWC), Grace Brimelow (PTS2), Maggie Sandles (PTVI) who all took home gold in their respective categories.


Shortly after the completion of the Oceania Para Cup and a cheeky visit from two pods of dolphins, 250 enthusiastic little athletes aged between 7-15 years set off to take part in the SunSmart Kids Triathlon. The young athletes completed shortened versions of the adult triathlon (Short course: 100m swim, 2km cycle, 500m run & long course: 200m swim, 4km cycle, 1km run), with all athletes showing tenacity, bravery and sportsmanship as they made their way through the course.  The finish chute filled with cheers and energy as they all crossed the line, with many young athletes waiting for friends or siblings on the finish line to congratulate each other and share their experiences of the race.


The weather remained absolutely perfect into the late morning and afternoon for our Foreshore athletes, with aquamarine flat water and blue skies. Enticer athletes were first off the beach with more than 120 athletes tackling a 200m Swim, 8km Bike, and 2km Run. Jude Brimelow (brother of Oceania Para athlete Grace Brimelow) and Isabella Neervort (Fremantle) were the first male and female across the line, both from the 12-13 age group. We saw some inspiring performances across the field with our oldest athlete in the distance, 72-year-old Keith Purse, completing the course in just 00:42:01.65.

Sprint athletes were next, with more than 350 athletes taking on the 750m Swim, 16km Bike, and 4km Run course. Ivan Nagel (EFS, 00:51:33.04) and Will Cramsie (North Coast, 00:52:49.77) battled it out on course to cross the finish line within a minute of one another and be the first two males across the finish line. Junior athlete Ava Henville (Exceed, 00:55:57.16) was the first female across the line, followed by Erin Driscoll (North Coast, 01:00:19.84). There were plenty of incredible sprint finishes as the crowd charged athletes up down the final 500m and toward the finish line. We also saw some heart-warming moments from our 12 sprint teams with hi-fives and hugs abundant in recovery.

We look forward next years event scheduled for 3 – 5th May 2024!


Triathlon WA would like to thank the City of Busselton, SunSmart, Healthway, Tourism Western Australia, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries, Scody, Koda Nutrition, Keep on Running, KC Australia Uniform and Branding Solutions, KDK Family Law, Hit FM, Outside the Locker Room, the Margaret River Region, Clip Media, Finisher Pix, MiTime, the Ludlow Tuart Forest Restoration Group, Cancer Council, spectators and supporters, Event Matrix, the medical team, road closure team, staff and of course the incredible volunteers for their contribution to such a successful event.

A special thank you to the athletes, event medical team and emergency services who provided immediate medical support during the medical emergency on the bike leg of the course. The safety and well-being of our Triathlon community is of the utmost importance to us, and we are grateful for the swift and effective response of nearby athletes, safety and medical personnel, and emergency services.