Fournier, Ruschienski win 2016 BVI Steelman

By: BVI Tri Federation

Vincent Fournier and Natasha Ruschienski were the winners of the 2016 BVI Steelman. Photo: BVI Tri Federation

“The Steelman”, BVI’s toughest multi discipline event was switched from its traditional afternoon Winter slot to a new Spring date. On April 9, triathletes reveled in the flat, fast, traffic free conditions with some superb racing in both adult and junior divisions. Vincent Fournier and Natasha ‘Tash’ Ruschienski respectively took the 2016 BVI Steelman titles in the adult male and female categories.

The line up at the swim start featured Tortola’s five finest open water swimmers and they did not disappoint. Jaco Boss was quickest off the mark but was soon reeled in by top swimmer, Martin Trott and Aussie “Dangerman” Shane Donovan with Antony ‘the Chorpdeo” Spencer and Tash Ruscheinski covering every move.

After twenty four minutes of bumping, barging and bashing the five could not be separated each smashing the previous course record by over two minutes with Martin Trott eventually winning by a finger tip. With a slick transition the Chorpedo made an early move on the bike whilst Dangerman Donovan checked his tyre pressures and brakes before adjusting bicycle clips and bell. Tash Ruscheinski fresh from a personal best at the Puerto Rico Half Ironman set the pace in women’s competition and Philippe Leroy challenged himself with lapping the entire filed in the team bike leg.

Whilst the Chorpedo kept up a metronomic pace the new wonder boy Vincent Fournier slowly ate into his lead. Dan Mitchell rode hard proving its possible to do the event without intending to take part until the last minute, whilst Cayley Smit showed steely determination keeping Tash in sight. In the team event Leroy caught the field one by one whilst Grant Carroll had an unfortunate puncture, Barry D’Kane road a strong leg for team Ferrari and Justin Smit shook off some rust with a typically fierce effort. By the end of the bike leg Chorpedo retained a reduced lead from Fournier, whilst Tash increased her advantage over Cayley. Phillippe closed out the team bike leg with a strong 8 minute edge but failed in his bid to lap the field foiled by some inspired riding from grizzled veteran Alastair Abrehart .

Cheered on by a growing crowd of spectators, competitors donned running shoes and hit the trails and back roads of Beef Island for the final 6 mile run challenge. Fournier continued to reel in the Chorpedo, Tash slowly extended her lead over Cayley whilst in the team event ex-Triathlon President Simon Cookster Cook set his sights on a fuschia clad Kay Reddy. With 3 miles to go Chorpedo finally relinquished his lead to the new champion Fournier who ran a brilliant leg with the fastest run ever recorded in the men’s event. Tash won the women’s event beating brave Cayley whilst Kay Reddy kept the fast charging Cookster at bay by seconds with the closest ever team finish.

Following the adult event there was some excellent kids racing in Trellis Bay organized by Richard Morgan with competition at U6, U9 and U12 level. The spectators agreed it was great to see all the youngsters enjoying their sport.

The next event is the BVI National Triathlon Championships in May.

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