A Bonnie time in debut series

By GREG WHITE

ROOKIE Iron Woman Bonnie Hancock is still buzzing with excitement as her debut Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Series comes to an end.

Bonnie finished the summer in 12th position on 56 points, two points behind elder sister Courtney and reveals the qualification trials for the 2009 series can't come quickly enough.

"It was an awesome experience and I loved every minute of it," the 17 year-old said.

"Right from the beginning and because I was watching Courtney race last year, I knew it would be a big step up from age competition but with every event I learned more and more.

"Now I know what is expected I'll have more experience to help me get ready for next year."

One of the biggest surprises was the absence of gamesmanship and the lack of friction between competitors.

"Have to admit, I thought it would be tougher because once you get out there unless it's in a team situation, you're racing for nobody but yourself," the former Sawtell SLSC member said.

"I half expected that everybody would be doing their best to psyche you out but it was nothing like that at all.

"There's no love lost when you're racing but nobody tries to do the wrong thing by you and in fact, the older girls go out of their way to look after the girls starting out."

The Coogee event provided her biggest thrill but also provided a valuable lesson.

"We had three elimination races and I won the first event in perfect conditions to give me my first-ever victory," she said.

"I was over the moon but when we came out for the next event, conditions weren't the same and I came 12th.

"So when you go from the top to near the bottom in one start, it sort of helps keep your feet on the ground and be aware of what's really going on around you."

Elder sister Courtney finished one position above on 58 points and admits she was a little disappointed in the outcome.

"No, it didn't go as well as I would have liked but I know I gave it my best shot," she said.

"Some things went wrong but it's only made me more determined to come back refreshed for the trials at the end of the year."

If there's one thing that gave Bonnie particular pleasure it was finishing ahead of high profile athlete Candice Falzon.

"Who wouldn't love to beat a surf icon?" she added.



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