PETER HUCZKOWSKI saved his best to last as he claimed his first Portsmouth Duathlon Series win.
Huczkowski had gone close in the two previous legs of the popular event which is in its very first year – claiming third and second-placed finishes in his earlier outings.
But determined not to be the nearly man yet again, he dug deep when it mattered to secure overall victory in the last race of this year’s series.
Crossing the finish line in a time of 1hr 39min 10sec, after a 10k run, 23.5k cycle and another 5k on foot, saw him clinch victory just ahead of second-placed George Little.
And with Little finishing just 42 seconds behind in 1.39.52 after a mighty tussle at the head of the field, it was the exciting climax to the series many had anticipated.
Huczkowski actually sat in third spot at the end of stage one, with Andrew Griggs – who finished third overall – leading the pack into the switch over to the bikes.
However, he made up the gap while tearing up the roads on two wheels and soared to the front to take a substantial lead before the athletes relied on their running skills to see them home in stage three.
Little and Griggs put up a terrific effort to rein Huczkowski in.
The gap was closing, but they ran out of time as competitor-of-the-series Huczkowski managed to stay in front until the finishing line.
The first female home over the longer of two distances on the day – competitors could choose 5k in stage one, if desired – was Dawn Forse in a creditable time of 2.09.35.
That was over five minutes faster than runner-up Claire Nunn (2.16.12), who had third-placed Diane Mattingly (2.16.52) hot on her heels the whole way round.
The short-course race proved just as intriguing, although men’s winner Jake Butterworth didn’t have to look over his shoulder as much as he finished the clear winner in 1.24.58.
That was nearly three-and-a-half minutes faster than nearest competitor Jeremy Watts (1.28.17), who led after run one, and more than 12 minutes faster than third-placed Scott Rose (1.37.16).
The women’s short-course title went to Nicola Seal (1.41.08), with Sarah Lucas second (1.41.41) and Lisa Lambeth third (1.42.04).
Race organiser Rob Piggott said: ‘It was an absolutely brilliant day.
‘The weather held up well and the feedback we got has been brilliant.’