FORMER Yamba surf life saving star Alyce Bennett winning her first Nutri Grain ironwoman race.
FORMER Yamba surf life saving star Alyce Bennett winning her first Nutri Grain ironwoman race.

Wave of success may end with a dumper

QUEENSLAND'S shoreline served up the appetiser, and now it is on to Coogee in Sydney and the main course tomorrow for Alyce Bennett and Hugh Dougherty as the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman and Ironwoman series conclude.

With only the top six contenders guaranteed a starting berth in next year's series, the fight to the finish line on the beaches of the Harbour City should be fast and furious.

Former Clarence Valley products Bennett and Dougherty are both well placed to make a final charge for re-qualification, but with the Coogee event worth double points, anything can happen.

“Any of the top 11 girls can make it into the top five after this event,” Bennett said.

“Obviously I'm happy to be in fifth position ... but every place is worth two places.

“Last year Shannon Eckstein had a four-point lead over Zane Holmes, but Shannon ended up fourth and Zane won it overall.”

To add extra spice to the series, the final round is an eliminator event, where the last six contenders in each race are culled and rest periods between races are nothing but a moment to catch one's breath for the lowest-placed contenders.

“It's really tricky because you don't know to go all-out at the start or save your energy and not have much rest between breaks,” Bennett said. “Not only is it double points, but you are really made to work for them.”

Bennet was in fourth position last year before an errant surf ski crashed into her back, aggravating a minor injury, and knocking her out of contention.

However, Bennett, injury-free and with a maiden victory under her belt, will be looking to finish the season in style.

“I'm going to take one step at a time to reach my goal,” she said.

“It will be on for young and old ... and whoever is the last standing will deserve the win.”

The Coogee event will also conclude the teams' event with Bennett's Southern NSW Blue Fins one point off Dougherty's Northern NSW Hammers.

“I'll be trying to smash Hughie's girls,” Bennet said.

Racing begins at 1pm, with live coverage on Prime.



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