Kyle Buckingham did the home country proud by running his way to the Ironman African Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Afica.
April 15, 2018 | NEWS|
Kyle Buckingham became the second South African (Raynard Tissink being the first) to take Ironman South Africa, the Ironman African Championship, thanks to a solid run that moved him ahead of Australian bike leaders Cameron Wurf and Josh Amberger. As a regional championship winner, Buckingham has now guaranteed himself a spot on the start line for the Ironman World Championship in October.
Amberger's super swim
Amberger soloed away from the rest of the field in the swim, coming out of the water almost two minutes up on a pack of nine that included Peru Alfaro San Ildefonso (ESP), Buckingham, Maurice Clavel (GER), Giulio Molinari (ITA). Reece Barclay (GBR) and Eneko Llanos. Defending champ Ben Hoffman (USA) was almost three minutes down heading into T1.
Wurf's wild ride
Out on the bike course it didn't take long for super-biker Wurf, a former pro cyclist who set a new bike course record in Kona last October, to move to the front. By the halfway point of the ride Wurf was 2:23 up on Amberger, three minutes ahead of Molinari and almost 5:30 in front of a group that included Buckingham, Hoffman, Clavel, Llanos, Evert Scheltinga (NED) and Alessandro Degasperi (ITA).
By the end of the ride Buckingham had moved himself to third, with Clavel, Hoffman and Llanos right on his heels as he flew into T2 and began the chase of the two Australians - Wurf had opened up a gap of 9:44 on the South African, with Amberger about two minutes ahead of the group as they started the run.
Buckingham best on the run
It didn't take long to realize that Wurf's lead was precarious at best - 3 km into the run he'd lost a minute to Buckingham, who was pulling clear of Clavel and Llanos (and a walking Hoffman), while Amberger had made up about 50 seconds on his countryman.
The rest of the run was simply a matter of watching the lead dwindle. Buckingham caught Amberger shortly after the halfway point of the run, but still trailed Wurf by three minutes. The wheels started to fall off for Wurf at 27 km - his two minute lead over Buckingham was gone two km later as the South African moved to the front and never looked back. Amberger would also get passed Wurf, hanging tough to the runner-up spot. Clavel would be the third man passed the bike leader, taking the final spot on the podium. Wurf managed to hang on for fourth with Ronnie Schildknecht (SUI) rounding out the top five.
Ironman African Championship
April 15, 2018 | Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa
3.8 km Swim
180 km Bike
42 km Run