Bennett fastest Coast rider

By Nicholas McBride

Hokitika rider Dillon Bennett was the fastest West Coast cyclist across the finish line in the Around Brunner Cycle Ride, amid blustery conditions on Saturday.
He came home in a time of 3h 32m 46s to take out fifth place, narrowly pipping Greymouth’s Jeremy Crestani, who finished sixth, with only a second separating the two.
The overall winner was Ben Robertson, of Christchurch (3h 30m 22s). The fastest woman home was Reefton’s Corina Wilson, who completed the course in a time of 4h 8m 40s. Stephanie Firth, of Greymouth, was also among the top 10 women to finish in seventh place (4h 25m 45s).
A field of 448 cyclists had to battle strong winds during the 130km race from Greymouth to Jacksons and back to Greymouth via Moana.
Bennett’s pedigree on the bike has been noticed, having recently signed a six-week deal to join the Firefighters Cycling team in the United States, in June.
Meanwhile, in the debut of the 30km race as part of Around Brunner, Greymouth’s Michael Thwaites managed to get back in under an hour with a time of 58m 57s, beating Christchurch’s Jason John Hepburn by one second. Greymouth’s Alec McLeod was not far off the hour mark as he took out third place in a time of 1h 26s.
The new shorter race attracted a field of 68, including West Coast-Tasman MP Damien O’Connor, who finished fourth in 1h 4m 47s.
Female 13-17: Kate Olsen 5h 47s; Female 20-39: Corina Wilson 4h 8m 40s, Stephanie Firth 4h 25m 45s, Gemma Finlay 4h 32h 12s; Female 40-49: Tui Summers 4h 10m 12s, Seonaigh Conchie 4h 15m39s, Mary Lambie 4h 24m 22s; Female 50-59: Debbi Bamfield 4h 23m 39s, Chris Henriksen 4h 25m 30s, Wendy Brenkley 5h 8m 26s; Female 60-69: Min Sarginson 4h 32m 12s, Jane Wells 6h 3m 29s, Linda le Sueur 6m 21m 51s; Male 13-17: Ethan Batt 3h 43m 51s, Sam Elstob 4h 1m 27s, Hugh Cornish 4h 27m 59s; Male 20-39: Ben Robertson 3h 30m 22s, Brad Tuhi 3h 30m 36s, Mike Smart 3h 30m 39s; Male 40-49: Geoff Searle 3h 41m 41s, Wayne Eyre 3h 48m 44s, Murray Irons 3h 48m 54s; Male 50-59: Vern Walker 3h 48m 46s, Trevor Cameron 3h 49m 17s, Nick Kyle 3h 58m 35s; Male 60-69: John Bell 4h 6m 36s, Brent Childs 4h 7m 21s, David Deakins 4h 10m 16s; Male 70+: Cyril Hibberd 4h 5m 2s, Duncan Mcfadyen 5h 2m 53s, Austin Prattley 5h 9m 27s.