October 1st 2023 marked the official start of the WA State Series with the highly anticipated Austal Tiger Snake Triathlon on Garden Island. Hosted by HMAS Stirling, the event drew more than 400 eager athletes ready to tackle the race on the base. This now iconic event helped athletes to shake off the winter cobwebs and put that off-season training to the test.
Early risers were treated to a double rainbow on the drive down to Rockingham, its vibrant colours setting an optimistic tone for the day’s challenges. Passing through the checkpoint and driving over the bridge onto Garden Island was in itself a unique thrill – making athletes and spectators alike feel very privileged to be part of the experience.
The pre-race atmosphere at the Austal Tiger Snake Triathlon was electric. Triathletes, fuelled by both adrenaline and caffeine, were visibly charged up and eager to take on the challenges that lay ahead.
After a humorous briefing, the swim action kicked off. As triathletes plunged into the water for their swim leg, they found themselves in the company of impressive frigates and submarines. Watching the athletes swim against the backdrop of naval vessels tall on the horizon was a visually striking spectacle.
In the Open Men’s category, the leaders emerging from the water were Kurt Wesley (North Coast), Reece Harris (Mandurah), and Nick Thompson (UWA), but it was Harris who seized the lead after a swift T1 transition. Thompson and Matt Burton (Oceanic) showcased their remarkable cycling prowess, closing the gap after the swim with fast-paced cycle legs.
Nick Thompson, the recent Sunshine Coast 70.3 winner, secured the title of State Standard Champion with an impressive and decisive victory, crossing the finish line with a nearly two-minute lead ahead of Matt Burton in second.
Having battled a recent niggle, Kurt Wesley pushed through for a strong performance, ultimately finishing in third place.
Unfortunately, Harris endured a bike crash as he approached T2, dropping him down to 10th place and leaving him with some gnarly cuts and bruises. Undeterred, he displayed remarkable resilience during the run, aggressively closing the gap between himself and the front pack of athletes to finish fourth in the Open field.
Experienced athletes including Simon Billeau, James Lewin, Paul MacKay, and James Martin, along with young-guns Noah Tonkin and Rowan Kerr, rounded out the top 10 positions.
Aleisha Wesley of North Coast showcased incredible swimming prowess, earning her a substantial lead as she emerged from the water and transitioned into T1 ahead of her fellow elite competitors, including Sian Munks from UWA and Madison Toovey, also from North Coast.
With a sizeable lead, Aleisha Wesley was the first to embark on the bike course. Sian Munks and Madison Toovey followed a few minutes behind, with Khloe Healy (non-member) and Indie Arbuckle (XTR) in pursuit.
Similar to Harris, Toovey picked up a few battle scars from her war with the asphalt after a pretty serious crash during the bike leg. Despite being scraped up, she displayed incredible courage and determination, choosing to persevere through the race and outpacing Munks across the 40km 2 lap course.
In the final stretch and during the run, Aleisha Wesley maintained her impressive pace, securing the title of State Standard Champion with a finishing time of 02:04:00.91. She crossed the finish line with a lead of more than five minutes over her competitors. Adding a personal touch to her victory, Aleisha was greeted at the finish line by her brother and fellow finisher, Kurt Wesley. Their friendly competition for the title of the fastest Wesley on the course was decisively won by Kurt, while Aleisha graciously accepted the result with playful sportsmanship.
Sian Munks showcased a dominating performance during the run leg, propelling herself back into second place for a strong finish. Madison Toovey, just two minutes behind, delivered an inspiring performance, demonstrating remarkable determination and resilience to secure a well-deserved third place in the race on the base.
Khloe Healy crossed the line in fourth place, followed by young-gun Indie Arbuckle in fifth place.
James Martin shared his 8th place finish line moment hand in hand with his son, and Cid De Carvalho receiving motivational hi-fives from his daughters as he entered the finish chute. Even the littlest fans got in on the excitement, as “Baby Burton” ran around, spreading joy and making new friends.
Congratulations and thank you to HMAS Stirling volunteers, staff and event organisers for an excellent race. Thanks also to WA Technical Officials and all athletes that took part in the race on the base.
Three of our elite males also had their dads competing alongside them! Nick and Paul Thompson, Kurt and Dale Wesley, and Reece and Russell Harris. Two generations of athletes!
Huge shoutout to Esperance Triathlon Club making the journey to join in on the State Championships. That’s dedication – and a really long drive!
For Paul Smith, the day held a momentous achievement as he clinched his first State Championship medal.
Local legend Dale Wesley made a triumphant return after a 10-year break, landing in 3rd place for his age group. Talk about making a grand re-entrance!
It was Andrew Lockwood’s first race in the Open category, stepping up from age group.
AGE GROUP STATE STANDARD DISTANCE CHAMPIONS 2023/24
Congratulations to all athletes who competed in the Tiger Snake Classic Triathlon, and to our new State Champions.
|1||Open||Aleisha Wesley||Nick Thompson|
|2||Open||Sian Munks||Matt Burton|
|3||Open||Madison Toovey||Kurt Wesley|
|1||20-24||Ella Phelan||Oliver Terry|
|2||20-24||Caroline Wallis||Jaxon Bilchuris|
|1||25-29||Kristin Boyle||Aidan Clark|
|2||25-29||Kate Byrne||Josh Dallimore|
|3||25-29||Lisa Kleinhaus||Paul Smith|
|1||30-34||Jessica Kiekbosch-Fitt||Rhys Williams|
|2||30-34||Melanie Wade||Ben Stone|
|3||30-34||Jessica Papini||Ben Atter|
|1||35-39||Emma Moon||Loic Draoulec|
|2||35-39||Alexandra Meek||Duncan Kinnear|
|3||35-39||Floora De Wit||Jarryd Heldt|
|1||40-44||Danni Jones||Brett Johnson|
|2||40-44||Rebecca Lewis||Philipp Albert|
|3||40-44||Camilla Swenson||Phil Corrick|
|1||45-49||Fiona Yard||Barry Williams|
|2||45-49||Eve O’Hare||Matthew Moonen|
|3||45-49||Alison Thompson||Mat Genevieve|
|1||50-54||Fiona Hampton||Bart Hollemans|
|2||50-54||Alison Ramm||Russell Harris|
|3||50-54||Ann-Marie Potts||Jason Bonser|
|1||55-59||Caroline Anderson||Paul Thompson|
|2||55-59||Pip Laufmann||Martin Depiazzi|
|3||55-59||Jane Hardy||Anthony Wilson|
|1||60-64||Lise Ashton||Andrew Johns|
|2||60-64||Ruth Metcalf||Darryl Harris|
|3||60-64||Monica Borrill||Dale Wesley|
|1||65-69||Trish Vickery||Barry Silverlock|