• Byron Tri Club

Trials and Tribulations

Updated: Feb 22

South West Rocks weekend race report by Huw Jones - 14th Feb 2021


A total of 28 club members and the ever-growing Byron Official Supporters Society (BOSS) made their merry way down the coast to the pretty seaside town of South West Rocks to compete in the 2021 Trial Bay Triathlon on Valentines Day. We had all been looking forward to this year’s event after 2020 was cancelled due to a wicked storm the night before that resulted in major damage to the course including whole trees floating where we would have been swimming.


On Friday we celebrated the Year of the Ox at the excellent local Chinese restaurant where some of more serious athletes followed the meal, including deep fried honey prawns, with deep fried ice-cream and caramel sauce. Saturday was taken up by cycling the course, preparing our gear and frequenting a local pub to support the local economy and drink some essential carb-rich beverages.


The rain overnight on Saturday flooded back bad memories and I am sure was a worry for the organisers, but thankfully we woke early on Sunday morning to clearing skies. Perfect weather for the triathlon.


The consensus was that it was a tough but beautiful course – a 600m swim in the bay, a 20km cycle through stunning rainforest and finishing with a 6km hilly run through Arakoon National Park. Everyone performed superbly and, in the age categories, we ended up with a 1st, three bridesmaid positions (2nds) and two 3rds. Those club members taking part in the triathlon swam/cycled/ran their hearts out and the BOSS shouted their lungs out in encouragement.


Of special note were:

Dani Costa, now known as Dani-girl, Little Dani (and forever known as Costa Daniela by Triathlon Australia due to an administration or typo error) who came first in her age group and was the fastest female in the club on the day.


Tom Phillips who was the fastest Byron athlete despite forgetting to bring his compass (an amateur mistake) and taking a slightly longer route than was intended to the finish line.

The unstoppable Nerida Clarke who did the whole event with a dodgy hamstring and still came 2nd in her age group and even had time to tell all the marshalls along the route about her injury.

Congratulations to Jess Schaffer who completed her first triathlon in over a year following an ankle injury early in 2020.


And to Brook Ferguson, a soon-to-be club member who came 2nd in her age group having not done a triathlon since she was a teenager and having not trained for this one! Tim Waller our latest rookie completed his 3rd triathlon and is the one to watch. Look out Tom and Huw.


There was much speculation about why Guilia was not competing especially after the sudden annoucement of her engagement to Tom Phillips however the rumours were unfounded after Guilia eventually revealed her neck brace.


As always, whilst the triathlon was important, the group was eagerly awaiting the ten-pin bowling on Sunday afternoon at the very friendly Country Club. Local rivalry between Tom Phillips and Huw Jones was hotting up. Youngish Tom had narrowly beaten Notsoyoung Huw in the triathlon and appeared confident about winning the bowling. Alas, that was not the case. Whilst Tom’s speed was as impressive as ever (he clocked the fastest bowl of the afternoon at 38.4 km/h), his accuracy (a bit like his sense of direction in the triathlon) was lacking. Meanwhile as Tom and Huw were slugging it out in the second game, John Killen (Chairman of the BOSS) quietly went about racking up a game -scoring 134 and winning overall – well done John. And it’s always great to see the different bowling techniques – from the elegant leg flick of Greg, the mini-skip of Daz, the “damn-busters” bouncing bowl of Nerida and the fascinating reverse backhand bowl from Dani-girl.


And what better way to end the day than a visit to another local drinking establishment, the Riverside Tavern. 18 of us sat outside at a long table overlooking the river watching the sun set with a beverage in our hands and a smile on our weary faces.


A big thanks to Deb, organiser-extraordinaire, for making the weekend such a success. The club would not function without you. And another big thank you to the wonderful organisers of the Trial Bay Triathlon. It was great to be part of such a wonderful event, especially after the disappointing cancellation of last year’s race. And lastly, thanks to all the South West Rocks residents and businesses and supporters on the course for making us feel so welcome in your town.

And lastly a huge thank you to the BOSS members, Becky, John, Darren, Sara, Indi and temporary members (due to injury) Sandra and Giulia.


1:17:49 30-34M Tom Phillips 3rd

1:18:20 55-59M Huw Jones 2nd

1:20:53 30-34M Tim Waller 4th

1:24:29 30-34F Daniela Costa 1st

1:24:37 30-34M Danny Rossi 6th

1:26:20 55-59F Deb Fuller 2nd

1:27:37 Mixed Team Andy Kean and Sally Schaffer 2nd

1:31:51 20-24F Brook Ferguson 2nd

1:32:43 55-59M Geoff Bensley 15th

1:33:04 30-34F Jess Schaffer 5th

1:33:09 55-59F Robyn Darke 5th

1:38:36 55-59M Greg O’Meara 18th

1:38:51 55-59F Claire O’Meara 6th

1:43:11 70-74M Peter Clarke 3rd

2:00:45 65-69F Nerida Clarke 2nd

Giulia Scurria DNS

Sandra Killen DNS










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