Vachery Triathlon Festival review

Race report from the inaugural triathlon extravaganza


The first Vachery Triathlon Festival was blessed in more ways than one. The sun defied forecasters and shone brightly on a top class field of athletes and their huge following of supporters. What they created was a true sporting festival atmosphere, pumping music and commentary that just seemed to be the perfect backing track to the racing action.


The Standard Road Tri kicked off the proceedings on Vachery Pond. First out of the water was Deon Coatzee who clocked 23.28. A minute behind was Michael Evans and Keith Sanders. In the women’s race Emma Pallant had a two-minute lead on Kate Mapham.  The two lap bike course saw Dan Cole set the fastest pace with 1.05.26 with Sanders again not far off the pace. Mapham asserted her authority on the bike, but it was European U23 Cross Country Champion Emma Pallant who dominated the two lap trail run and set fastest time of the day with 35.25 to finish first and eighth overall. Coatzee & Evans closed the gap slightly on the run but it was Keith Sanders who took the honours in 2.13.58 Team Pure Vida were the Relay winners.

The Sprint Road Tri was a fast and furious affair with top Juniors Alex West, Euan Hockey and Pavan Rooprai battling it out. West set the quickest times for all disciplines to win in 56.45, just under a minute up on Hockey. Colette O’Neil, Tamsyn Clark and Kelly Jarvis fought out a hard girl’s race with O’Neil winning in 1.08.41 and finishing 10th overall.

The final events of the day were the Cross Triathlons. The course, designed by Sam Gardner and Vachery founder Mark Davis, has taken months to create but has been hailed a great success with big plans for the future.

In the Sprint race it was another youth, Bryn Davies, who stole the show. Davies is the current 16-19 British XCycle Triathlon Champion after a stunning performance in the Lake District. Gary Dressell was the faster swimmer completing the 750 swim in 10.52, but it was Davies who set the fastest cycle and run times to win in 1.05.45; 3mins ahead of Dressel and Neil Richmond in third. Amanda Morwood won the women’s race in 1.27.41, ahead of Jane Buxton and Francesca Clarke. Jenny Budgett opted for the Sprint course on the day and won the Supervet category.

The Standard Cross Tri was the only round of The Scott Xtri series in the South of England and it had a number of the UK’s top Elite MTB Triathletes compete on the course. Not surprisingly Richard Stannard was the fastest swimmer with 19.23 into the T1. As he set off on the technical course he was chased by current XTri Series leader Graham Wadsworth and eight times Xterra World Series round winning pro triathlete Sam Gardner.

Despite being 3mins down on Stannard, Gardner showed the rest of the field his bike handling skills with a 55min course record to exit T2 with Stannard. However, a recent injury forced Gardner out of the run, leaving Wadsworth and Rory Downie to lead the chase. Stannard remained in control though and strolled home in 1.58.00 to win the inaugural event. Supervet Nick Kinsey finished 6th overall. Rachel Clay was first female in 2.27.56, Debbie Cooper was second and Diane Lee third. Team Forrester won the Relay Cross Triathlon.

The race program was delivered by Raw Energy Pursuits. More info and results are at

For an Age-Grouper Tale from Vachery, look out for issue 278 (out 18 September).


Image: Mike Anton/