By Kent Gray/Triathlon.kiwi
Hayden Wilde has signed off 2023 with a record extending fifth victory at the EVES Surfbreaker Triathlon in Mount Maunganui as New Zealand team-mate Ainsley Thorpe finally found the top step of the women’s podium at the traditional festive season super sprint race.
Wilde made his break on the first run leg along Marine Parade to win in 54:56 from NZL team-mates Lachlan Haycock (55:17) and James Corbett (55:22).
The Kiwi No.1 and reigning World Triathlon Sprint champion’s predictable victory follows success in the 2x 375m swim, 10km bike, 2.5km run race in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. It comes after recent victories at the Noosa Triathlon and the Melbourne 70.3 and is a positive way to head into an Olympic year.
Fresh from his Tinman victory around the corner in Pilot Bay in November, Corbett was the first out of the Mount surf but saw his lead whittled down as his closest pursuers caught a breaking wave into the beach. Haycock then chipped away on the two remaining bike and run legs in sweltering 29 degree heat to edge his NZ teammate for silver.
Thorpe won the women’s race in 1:01:31 from NZ team-mate Eva Goodisson (1:02:14) and Belgium World Cupper Hanne De Vet (1:03:18). Defending champion Hannah Knighton (1:04:32) was 4th, impressively backing up her maiden half ironman race in Taupo earlier this month where she qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in December 2024.
Thorpe had previously finished 2nd to Nicole van der Kaay in 2018 and third behind the Kiwi No.1 in 2016, 2017 and 2020.
The EVES Surfbreaker has run since 1985 and has been used since its inception by New Zealand Olympic squad members as a perfect post-Christmas blowout/competitive training opportunity to lead into the new Oceania season.
Next up for most of the elite Kiwis is Oceania Cup Wanaka on February 16 before Napier hosts the opening round of the World Triathlon Cup and a World Triathlon Championship Series Mixed Relay on February 24-25.