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Showdown in the Shire

By Josh Minogue

With one round to go six men still have a mathematical chance of winning the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series, as they head into “Survival” at North Cronulla on January 19th.
Two men have a good chance, two men will need to have their best day and a few results to go their way; while two have just a hope, needing almost a perfect set of circumstances to take the title.

But if you’ve got a spot, you’ve got a shot.

Who wins the Nutri-Grain Ironman series? Your guess is as good as mine, but there is one thing I am certain of, whoever gets it done, is going to deserve it, because the other 19 men aren’t going down without a fight.

The overall series point score will be determined by the best results in four of the five races which are combined to ascertain the final overall series winner.

The format

“Survival” is certainly the toughest format you can do in Ironman racing and when there is cash, points and the overall Nutri-Grain Ironman Series title on the line, it makes for an exciting and pressure packed hour of racing.

The men and women will face three races each; after each race the bottom six will be eliminated. From 20 to 14, then the eight best will go head to head with first across the line taking the round and maximum points.

The men’s contenders

While six can mathematically win the overall Nutri-Grain Ironman Series Title, realistically it’ll come down to just 4 men – Tanyn Lyndon, Kendrick Louis, Matt Poole & Ben Carberry – it would be remis of me not to mention Jy Timperly and Matt Bevilacqua who are close enough but will need a lot of luck to go their way.

Tanyn Lyndon – Sits second on the ladder with 56 points BUT has only raced 3 rounds this season (after sitting out the Coolangatta Gold) meaning he is one of very few title contenders who is guaranteed to add points to his tally in round 5.
If he wins or finish’s second the title is his; after that he needs to finish one place behind Kendrick or three places behind Poole & Carberry (if they improve on their worst results).
He is having the year of his life, but up until now hasn’t had any expectation on him in terms of the overall title. He is the man most likely to win overall but there is still a hell of a lot of racing to go between now and then.

Kendrick Louis – Currently leads the overall series on 65 points. His worst result is a tenth so if he makes race 3 he will improve on the point-score.
He has built his way into this season while flying under the radar, he’s very experienced at this format and after coming so close for so long, could this be the year the man from Manly is the king of Ironman?

Matt Poole – Dropped from 1st to 3rd on the ladder after his courageous Surfers Paradise 16th place finish, that potentially derailed his title hopes. With his 55 points, as long as he makes race two, he will improve, but will need his rivals to falter early to take the title.
Has had a second surgery on his knee and some time to heal up, so he will be better than last round. Also, he did win his only Nutri-Grain Series Crown on North Cronulla beach in the final race of the Nutri-Grain Series in a sprint finish with Shannon Eckstein (talk about a tough task).
He’s been in this situation before, but is the task too big this time?

Ben Carberry – The wildcard of the big four – the Currumbin beast only has three scoring results to his name, after failing to finish the Coolangatta Gold, meaning he is guaranteed to improve, but the question is, by how much??
Carberry will need at least a top five finish and then to be far enough ahead of Lyndon, Louis and Poole to be any chance of taking the title, but stranger things have happened.
He has form on the board at North Cronulla as well, finishing 3rd here last summer and watch for him to potentially be the man who causes a big upset come January 19th.

My Prediction.

I won’t predict a winner, but I think whoever wins race one will win the round, there is no holding back in survival.