Photos: Alan Lee/Photosport

By Kent Gray/

Perhaps we shouldn’t be that surprised Bruce Jordan won the Suzuki Prize Draw with the very last key to open the resurrected Tri NZ Awards in such dramatic fashion.

The New Plymouth 50-year-old is, after all, a triathlete adept at beating long odds.

Jordan couldn’t quite believe his luck when he thumbed the 15th and last key fob left in the bowl during Saturday night’s live draw at AUT Millennium and the lights on the nearby Swift, a 1.2 GL automatic model, flashed bright in the darkness.

In an unbelievable repeat of last year’s Suzuki Prize Draw, when then 13-year-old Aucklander Mila Laarakkers won with the 13th and last key fob, Jordan had beaten the odds.

The raised arms encapsulated Jordan’s surprise and new-found (pride and) joy.

“It was awesome,” Jordan told of the magic moment.

“Obviously I had no choice in terms of everything, because I was last to pick, No.15, so I just had to sit and wait. And then, walking up there with that key, my biggest fear was that I wouldn’t actually open it and we’d have to start the process all over again. So, yeah, it was pretty special.”

Eldest son Arlo, 18, was on hand to share the excitement and couldn’t quite believe it either.

“Arlo was giving me a lot of grief about pulling number 15. I said, mate, it’s random, what choice do I have?

“So, we were just waiting for it to go off that whole time [as each of the other finalists choose key fobs], and then as it got lower and lower, and it was somewhere down to 50-50, it was like, oh, no, this is awesome…”

Long standing Tri NZ supporter Gary Collins, Suzuki NZ CEO & Executive General Manager Automobile, was at the draw to hand over the keys to the sporty red Swift.

The prize, valued at $24,990 plus on-road costs, includes Touchscreen infotainment system with reverse camera, Satellite Navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 16″ alloy wheels, Cruise control and a 5 star ANCAP safety rating. As with all Suzuki’s sold in New Zealand, Jordan’s new wheels also come with a 5 year/100,000km warranty package and 5 years roadside assistance. 

But the surprises didn’t end there.

Jordan, who had earned his entry into the draw by signing up for last November’s Tinman in Tauranga where he captured the Tri NZ Suzuki Series Para Sprint Triathlon title in a record time of 1:14:07, quickly promised the keys to his No.1 supporter.

“My wife Kerri has supported me for 10 years of triathlon and travelled around with me and put up with my training, 4am starts every morning, so that’s the least I can do.

“So, yeah, she is absolutely stoked.”

After floating through the rest of the Tri NZ Awards gala dinner on cloud 9, Jordan is now back to training.

The PTS5 classified triathlete will compete at the World Triathlon Multisport Championships in August and will definitely be back to defend his Para title at Tinman this coming November.

He just loves the sport, as challenging as swimming in particular proves after he was the victim on a truck on car hit and run in the mid 1990s that left him with a shattered arm from the elbow down.  

Through it all, Kerri and sons Arlo and Nico, 14, have been rocks as Bruce as ticked off 13 full Ironmans, the Tauranga Half, Challenge Wanaka and no less than five Kiwimans which quite literally passes by his back doorstep.

What would you say to anyone on the fence about signing up for a Tri NZ Suzuki Series event, given how much fun you’ve had and the bonus of a brand-new Swift?

“Oh, look, in terms of the series, Tinman was really the first one that I’ve been involved with because the rest [of his racing] has obviously fallen under Ironman or Kiwiman, but it was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. The atmosphere was great,” Jordan said.

“So absolutely, you’ve got so many different options in terms of what you’re actually competing in [in the Tri NZ Suzuki Series]. It’s not a full, full [distance] triathlon event, so anyone can do it.

“It’s just about going out there and doing it… it’s definitely a life-changer.”

So close and yet so far for other finalists…

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