Trevor Voyce capped a remarkable multisport progression by breaking through and winning the New Zealand championship in Rotorua today.
Three days after his 35th birthday, the Nelson athlete won the 50km feature race of the ThermaTech 3D Rotorua multisport festival, heading home Whakatane’s Sam Clark and two-time winner Richard Ussher.
Having finished fourth, third and second in previous editions of the race, it may have been preordained that Voyce should triumph this time around but he was taking nothing for granted.
“I guess you could say I’m consistent,” Voyce quipped. “It’s a really tough race right to the wire and you never know when someone’s going to put a burst in and overtake you like I experienced last year.
You’ve just got to go for it the whole way.”
Voyce crossed in 2hrs 43mins and 29secs, 2mins clear of Clark, with a strong 30km mountain biking leg through Whakarewarewa Forest proving crucial as he reeled in the runaway Whakatane star.
Last year, Voyce also had a chance to win before Australian Jarad Kohlar out-kicked him over the last kilometre but that wasn’t going to happen again today.
“Last year’s finish gave me plenty of motivation and also the nous that you’ve got to dig it in right to the end and you can’t be complacent at any stage. That definitely helped me this year – I got onto the run and just thought I’d give it death.”
Clark, who is focusing more on ironman racing this year, was philosophical about the result. The pair also fought it out at the Coast to Coast this year, with Clark finishing second and Voyce third.
“He’s obviously been putting some serious work into his mountain biking and he’s been chasing a win here for a long time so I’m pretty happy for him to take it out,” Clark said. “It’s also given me a bit more incentive to come back and win it as well though.”
It proved a vintage day for Nelson athletes, with Elina Ussher taking out her third title in the women’s division, beating 2013 winner Simone Maier (Wanaka) by 35secs.
“I had a pretty good paddle and was leading after the kayak and then I just went as hard as I could for as long as I could,” Ussher said. “I knew that the young, fast, pretty girls were chasing me pretty hard!”
Ussher crossed in 3:07:52, with Maier clocking 3:08:27 and Emily Wilson (Cambridge) third in 3:20:09.
Clark wasn’t the only Whakatane athlete to feature, meanwhile, with 17-year-old Hayden Wilde nearly claiming the biggest scalp of his fledgling career. He finished fourth in the men’s race – winning the under-19 division – and was just 20secs adrift of five-time Coast to Coast winner Richard Ussher.
3D Rotorua 50km race (9km kayak, 30km mtb, 11km run)
Men: Trevor Voyce (Nelson) 2hrs 43mins 29secs 1, Sam Clark (Whakatane) 2:45:37 2, Richard Ussher (Nelson) 2:51:03 3, Hayden Wilde (Whakatane) 2:51:23 4, Marcel Hagener (Ohakune) 2:53:02.
Women: Elina Ussher (Nelson) 3:07:52 1, Simone Maier (Wanaka) 3:08:27 2, Emily Wilson (Cambridge) 3:20:09 3.