Pluimers defeats Hancock at Coolum
DETERMINATION carried Courtney Hancock into second place in round three of the Kelloggs Nutri-Grain Ironwoman series at Coolum.
But it was a case of deja vu as she again chased home Liz Pluimers who continued her unbeaten run in the 2010-11 series.
In flat conditions and driving rain, Pluimers led from the start and was 50 metres in front of the older Hancock sister as they crossed the finish line with Tara Coleman rounding out the placings.
The win gives Pluimers a perfect 60 points in the overall pointscore to lead Hancock by five points with defending series champion Alicia Marriott, who finished sixth yesterday, a further five points adrift in third.
When Pluimers won the season opener at Currumbin she came from the clouds with the aid of a great wave in the final board leg, mowing down Marriott to claim victory but yesterday she needed no such assistance, leading from the starter’s gun.
She shared the front with Brodie Moir (ninth) in the opening board leg before dropping the field in the swim and maintaining her lead in the ski leg.
Hancock pushed her all the way in the ski leg but was too far back to make a race of it in the last run leg – something Pluimers said she was happy about.
“I knew I had to go hard off the board start and that’s how it panned out,” she said of her tactics.
“When I turned to come in for the last ski leg I thought ‘I hope Courtney’s not on my tail’ because I couldn’t do a sprint finish.”
Pluimers is riding a wave of confidence right now that comes from five consecutive wins in the series – three this summer and two at the end of last season – but the 24-year-old part-time accountant stopped short of saying she could clean sweep the series.
“I’d like to say yes it’s possible (to win all five rounds) but we’ve got Portsea next and there should be waves and anything can happen,” she said.
As dominant as Pluimers was and as consistent as number one challenger Hancock again proved to be it was the stunning performances of Coleman and Nurthen that was the story of the race.
Bonnie Hancock was again prominent in the run and eventually finished 12th in the field of 20 athletes.
Grafton’s Hugh Dougherty finally scored his maiden victory in the men’s race after more second placings than he’d care to remember.
The 27-year-old was never out of the lead group and now heads the series on 56 points.