Cairns Airport IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship Cairns is raced on arguably the most spectacular bike course in the world with a stunning backdrop that simply takes your breath away. No wonder why the world’s best IRONMAN triathletes are flocking to Cairns on Sunday 11 June 2017, to do battle for the coveted IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship.
Defending IRONMAN Cairns champion Tim Van Berkel and last year’s runner up and current IRONMAN Australia champion David Dellow head up the aussie contingent but they will have their work cut out against the Kiwi raiders, legend Cameron Brown, his heir apparent Braden Currie and Canadian Jeffery Symonds.
Tim Van Berkel had a slow start to his year with a 6th at IRONMAN 70.3 Subic Bay, 5th at IRONMAN 70.3 Taiwan before he finally got his swim right and found form winning IRONMAN 70.3 Vietnam in early May. Cairns has always been a happy hunting ground for Aussie Tim van Berkel who is in form and keen to add the Asia-Pacific Championship to his resume.
“I love racing in Cairns and it has always been a great experience with a 3rd in 2011, 2nd in 2013 and 2014 and finally the win last year. That is not too bad,” he said with a smile. “The rolling hills and wind on the bike make it a tough course but the beautiful coastline and the spectacular view make it a stunning a place to hurt.”
“I was proud to have the IRONMAN Cairns title for the year but the race has even more prestige now it is IRONMAN Asia-Pacific Championship. It is one of two major races that I’m aiming for this year. Defending a title is hard and I need a top three to get back to Kona.”
Fresh from his victory at IRONMAN Australia, David Dellow is finding form at the perfect time to light it up in Cairns.
“On reflection I was pretty disappointed with my race in 2016, this year I will be aiming to go one better. I’ve place 3rd (Melbourne) and 2nd (Cairns) at previous Asia-Pacific championships so it’s a title I badly want this year. I only need a minor placing to qualify for Kona but I’ll be doing everything I can to win. Having the Australian and the Asia-Pacific titles at once would be nice,” Dellow said.
Kiwi IRONMAN legend Cameron Brown is living proof that you can get better with age and he will be calling on all his experience to knock off the aussies and regain his position as the #1 Kiwi.
“This will be my fifth appearance at Ironman Cairns, I always enjoying enjoy escaping the NZ winter and heading over to warm sunshine. The course is tough and the swim is always rough with the winds blowing into Palm Beach. The ride is a fast one but again the wind can prevail with a headwind all the way down the coast from Port Douglas to Cairns. If there is no wind then expect fast times, if not it will be a challenging end to the bike.”
“The run course is pretty straight forward and pretty quick as long as the heat stays away, Winning in 2014 and running with Tim Berkel for the first part of the race is still a great memory and one I’d love to repeat. I’d love to be up front again but it’s not going to be easy with a great field starting in 2017,” he said.
Three-time Coast to Coast champion Braden Currie is one of New Zealand’s most well-known multisport athletes but it is his recent win at IRONMAN New Zealand really set the tongues wagging. IRONMAN rookie Currie arrives in Cairns with nothing to lose and everything to gain.
“New Zealand was my first, so I am new to IRONMAN but I did race Cairns 70.3 many years ago. Someone accidentally took my shoes in the bike/run transition and it took me 15 minutes to track them down. I ended up sixth and while it wasn’t the best racing experience I loved the course and it was just unlucky about the shoes. I am looking forward to heading back to Cairns as I’ve spent many weeks/months training in the area and really enjoy the climate.”
“Ironman NZ was a great experience for me, but I didn’t have any expectations there. Mostly I’m looking forward to see if I can push my body a bit further at Cairns. I haven’t got a specific goal but I am looking to race the event from start to finish and see what I can do. It is pretty important for me because I need to earn extra points to guarantee I qualify for Kona and it is the only other IRONMAN event I have on my calendar,” Currie said.