Zane Holmes.
Zane Holmes.

Look who's leading now...

VETERAN Zane Holmes revelled in the explosive elimination format and choppy conditions to take out the third round of the national ironman series at Newcastle yesterday, as rising Mooloolaba star Ali Day moved to the top of the overall standings.

In a day of drama that saw one of the pre-event favourites Ky Hurst sensationally disqualified after he missed a turning buoy on the board leg of the first race, and six-time champion Shannon Eckstein miss the final, the wily Holmes showed why he has been a professional force for so long.

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Another seasoned campaigner, Phil Clayton, finished third.

Day's Mooloolaba teammate Kendrick Louis, the series leader going into yesterday's action at Newcastle Beach, finished fourth after leading for most of the final.

Louis, who dropped to second place on the points table, only made the final after Hurst's mishap.

The Sydney northern beaches product finished 17th in the opening race and would have been eliminated but for Hurst's disqualification.

Day, 21, who has a four-point series lead over Louis, believed he showed his detractors that he was a man of substance while also proving something to himself.

"I think a lot of people sort of target me as the young guy with all the fans and things," he said.

"At the end of the day I sort of wanted to prove, not just to everyone but mainly myself, that I was not just a kid with a lot of fans ... (but) a kid that had a bit of talent as well. To get a third, a fifth and now a second (in the first three rounds) ... it's hopefully starting to pay off."

But Day, who finished seventh overall last season and sixth the season before, was still surprised to finish second.

"Today's conditions and the luck I had in a few of the races, I didn't think I'd be coming away with second and then leading the series," he said.

"The goal today was to just go back to the basics in these conditions and just try and execute the small things, and I think I did that."

Hurst was not looking to blame anyone except himself, saying he did not pay enough attention during the pre-event briefing and as a result did not realise how many buoys needed to be turned.

The Kurrawa legend would have won the first of the four races, which included the eight-man final, but said "rules are rules".

Hurst led the race from start to finish and was comfortly ahead when he missed the buoy.

"It's purely just a mistake, and it's my mistake," the seven-time Australian ironman champion said.

"I'm not going to sit there and argue with them (the officials)."

Holmes, a five-time Nutri-Grain ironman champion, has moved to third place on the standings heading into the fourth round at Perth this weekend.

"This format just really suits me," the Northcliffe member said.

"It allows me to warm into it ... to get better as I go.

"To me it was more about proving to myself that I can still win."

Mooloolaba's Matt Poole and Corey Jones of Met Caloundra finished fifth and sixth respectively in the final.

Poole is in fifth place on the standings and Jones, who was in second place behind Louis going into the last leg of the final, is ninth.

IRONMAN SERIES

Round three: 1. Z Holmes, 2, A Day, 3. P Clayton, 4. K Louis, 5. M Poole, 6. C Jones, 7. W Berg, 8. C Eckstein.

Overall standings: 1. A Day (58 points), 2. K Louis (54), 3. Z Holmes (49), 4. P Clayton (49), 5. M Poole (48), 6. S Eckstein (46), 7. C Eckstein (45), 8. W Berg (43), 9. C Jones (40), 10. K Hurst (36).



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