Roxburgh escapes rivals to win as race for Portsmouth Duathlon Series glory hots up
The battle to land the Portsmouth Duathlon Series title looks set to go to the wire after Rob Arkell and Neil Collins again locked horns in an exciting second race.
It was great weather again for the second event and a different vibe to the opener last month.
People who raced the first one last month had an idea of where they stood and a marker had been set down by defending series champion Arkell after he got clear of Collins to win in what was an exciting finish.
Others competing throughout the field were looking at improving on power output, times and positions, although with the distance increased for race two it was also a case of judging how they felt on the two runs and the bike leg in between.
Chris Roxburgh, who hadn’t taken part in the opening race and therefore isn’t part of the overall series race, managed to get clear of the field early on with a fast pace in the opening 7.5k run.
The chasing pack were to a certain extent marking each other out early on but were also unaware of what the man in front’s capacity to maintain his advantage would be.
As it turned out he was also quickest on the 17.5k bike leg before wrapping up his victory on the final 5k run.
After getting away from the gun he never looked back and maintained his strong advantage to win by one minute and 40 seconds with a total time of 1hr 12min 47sec.
Arkell and Collins moved away from the rest of the pack on the bike leg and then battled it out on the final run. They really pushed each other again along the seafront and finished with 5k splits of 17.34 and 17.37 respectively.
It was Arkell who just edged their battle to strengthen the defence of his title with second position in 1.14.27 and Collins finished third in 1.14.28.
The margin between them on race one was six seconds so it is still all to play for.
Arkell said: ‘It was another battle to the end, with a closer sprint finish.
‘We should have definitely pushed run one harder. Chris won it on run one as we were all in a group and let him go. But he did race well and led from the gun.’
Kelly Stokes put herself in a commanding position in the ladies’ series as she won race two with a strong performance.
She completed the race with a time of 1.24.44 and was 26th overall out of 209 finishers.
Esther Wiley is currently in second position in the series after she was second in race two with a time of 1.27.16 and was 34 seconds behind Stokes in the opener.
The defending champion Victoria Ayriss was third in 1.27.56 as she raced strongly and showed she is getting back towards her top form after battling back from an injury ahead of the series.
Her result on Sunday has put her right back into contention for a podium place which would be a great achievement again after being out of action.
The event is hosted by Rob Piggott and his Believe & Achieve team. The finale takes place on Sunday, April 21 at 8am. It starts from Speakers’ Corner in Southsea where the transition area is.