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Aussie Tim Berkel and Kiwi Joanna Lawn took the victories at the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Busselton in Western Australia, formerly the Busselton Half Ironman. The race, which sold out to the 1400 individual participants in less than 48 hours, started under clear skies and in cool weather. Of the 28 pros racing, five of the men placed in the top 10 at last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Port Macquarie, and three of the women placed in the top five at the same race, including the women’s winner and seven-time Ironman New Zealand champion New Zealander Joanna Lawn. Berkel, who won the 2010 Challenge Copenhagen and 2008 Ironman Western Australia, and placed second at last week’s race in Port Macquarie, his home town, used a race-best run split of 1:13:48 to take the win.
In the men’s race, it was New Zealand’s Guy Crawford first out of the 1.2-mile swim in the waters of Geographe Bay in 23:22 with countryman Bryan “Rhodsey” Rhodes a second behind him and David Dellow 25 seconds back. Halfway through the bike, Crawford was still in the lead with Matty White and Rhodes in pursuit. Crawford held onto the lead through his race-best 2:08:40 bike, entering T2 about four minutes ahead of the chase pack that included Jamie Whyte, White, Tim Berkel and Leon Griffin. By the end of the second of three laps, Berkel had charged to the lead and was 30 seconds ahead of Tim Reed and 50 seconds ahead of White. He held onto his lead, breaking the tape in 3:51:27. Matty White took second place, just over a minute behind, and Reed came in third.
In the women’s race, Joanna Lawn was first out of the water in 26:20, with a 28-second lead over a group of women including Rebekah Keat, Belinda Granger and Madeleine Oldfield. During the bike, Granger and Elly Franks, who used a 2:17:30 and 2:17:20 bike split respectively, surged to the front, starting the run just seconds apart. Lawn and Keat exited T2 about three minutes down on the lead women. During the run Lawn pulled into the lead before the end of the second lap, with Keat less than a minute behind. Less than a week after her victory in Port Macquarie, Lawn took her second-ever 70.3 title in a time of 4:13:23. Western Australian and ITU pro Felicity Sheedy-Ryan took second in her first-ever half-Ironman, Keat took third and Granger finished in fourth.
Ironman 70.3 Busselton
Busselton, Western Australia – May 7, 2011
1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Tim Berkel (AUS) 3:51:27
2. Matty White (AUS) 3:52:50
3. Tim Reed (AUS) 3:53:59
4. Josh Rix (AUS) 3:56:05
5. Jamie Whyte (NZL) 3:57:10
1. Joanna Lawn (NZL) 4:13:23
2. Felicity Sheedy-Ryan (AUS) 4:15:21
3. Rebekah Keat 4:15:55
4. Belinda Granger (AUS) 4:16:35
5. Elly Franks 4:24:33