Photos: Roisin MacCarthy/Tri NZ

By Kent Gray/
If it’s endurance sport and Rachel Mayhew turns her mind to it, well, good luck to her rivals.  

Sunday’s Tri NZ Aquabike Championships proved another case in point with the 33-year-old Auckland cop winning the overall women’s title at the weather shortened swim-bike nationals at the Seven Oaks Kinloch Triathlon Festival.

Mayhew, a former NZ Surf Lifesaving rep who became world surf ski paddling No.1 in 2017, completed the 200m swim-40km bike in 1:23:34 to edge Juliet Harland by 15 seconds. Jessie Coxon, competing in the 16-19 age group like Harland, rounded out the overall podium in 1:24:25.

Manawatu Triathlon Club 18-year-old Tyler Mumby (1:10:28) won the men’s title by nearly three minutes to also punch his ticket to October’s World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Malaga, Spain. In a heartwarming family moment, Mumby’s father Warren scooped the 60-64 title in 1:28:37 and will join his son in Spain.

Blustery early morning conditions whipped up Lake Taupo and prompted Tri NZ Technical Officials to shorten the aquabike swim from 1500m to 200m and ban disc wheels on the bike course. That played against Mayhew’s watery strengths, especially when you consider last year’s Kinlock Festival was the first time she’d ridden competitively.

“When we arrived, it was pretty wild and windy. I was looking forward to the swim, I come from a swimming background, so when I heard it was shortened to 200m, that wasn’t the best for me but I still managaed to get out there and get a bit of a lead,” Mayhew told

“I’m happy with the bike improvement too given I’d never ridden until 15 months ago.”

Like Tyler Mumby, Mayhew’s victory means she is eligible for the Garth Barfoot Prize Offering for Malaga, a $3000 flights voucher from House of Travel and an accommodation subsidy. While the Mumbys father and son combo are a lock for Malaga, Mayhew’s busy role as a Constable in the NZ Police Protection Services means she is unsure of taking up the generous offer from Tri NZ’s legendary patron.

“It’s amazing Garth Barfoot does that, how incredible to support NZ Athletes that way. Unsure of I’ll be going but I would love to if work commitments allow.”

Mayhew represented the Black Fins at the 2010 World Surf Lifesaving Championships in Egypt and competed on the surf ski paddling world circuit, finishing third in 2019 to go with her world title two years earlier.

Last May she won her 11th NZ Ocean Ski Championship in Auckland after narrowly missing the five hour mark at the Tauranga Half in late January in what was her first half iron distance start and just her second ever half marathon.

“The goal I had this season was to do the Tauranga Half but I love these shorter, quick races. I did this event last year as my first ever event on the road so I’ve kind of been riding for a year now and it’s great to come back.”

Mayhew’s husband Sam is the Doctor for the Tri NZ Elite squad. Despite battling a painful back problem, he finished runner-up to Nick Hanly in the 30-34 age group aquabike after winning the NZ Aquathlon crown on Saturday.

Sam Mayhew was 6th across the line in the aquabike in 1:20:36, just under three minutes ahead of Rachel who was seventh overall.

Tyler Mumby (pictured above) won in 1:10:28 from two 40-44 age group competitors, Terry Jack (1:13:22) and Bram De (1:14:29).

“I was in the front pack of five or six coming out of the swim, then out on the bike I took the lead on the first lap,” Mumby Jnr said.

“I worked hard to open up a gap during the first three laps and on the last lap I knew I had a bit of time on the next rider so I didn’t take any risks. 

“It was a good race, loved the course. It sucked about the swim being shortened but the bike course was amazing, I loved it, heaps of nice turns to mix things up.”

Meanwhile, teens Mathis Chassagnard and Monique Spedding captured the 40th edition of the Erin Baker Standard Distance Triathlon which was run in tandem with the aquabike.

Chassagnard won in 1:43:00 from Clark Ellis (1:51:06) and Max Gordon (1:53:14).

Spedding won the women’s title just as comfortably, stopping the clock in 2:07:33 from Zara Fowell (2:13:53). Pernille Fletcher rounded out the podium and took line honours in the 45-49 age group in an impressive 2:20:17.

Local legend Ray Lichtwark captured the 75-79 title in 2:51:46 and now lays claim to having competed in all 40 editions of Tri-sport Taupo’s showcase race.

Full results from Sunday’s racing at the Seven Oaks Kinloch Triathlon Festival available here.

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