Wayne?s world titles thrust
By AARON KELLY THREE dollar Coronas ? every man's dream.
But for Rockhampton's Wayne Clifford and Grant Tidbury the taste was even sweeter yesterday after crossing one last hurdle at the world triathlon championships in Hawaii.
In hot, humid and trying conditions, the Rockhampton duo produced strong performances to complete the 1.5km swim, 40km cycle and 10km run at Honolulu.
Making his third appearance in Australian colours and chasing a top-20 finish, Clifford (40-44 years male) powered home to place 22nd in 2:08.23s.
After a tough swim leg, the CQ Frenchville Triathlon Club star was 45th out of the water and always playing catch-up. "The swim was horrific,'' Clifford said, enjoying the post-race Australian team celebrations and cheap beers.
"I had set myself an aim to get ahead of the trouble and we had 100-plus athletes crammed into 18 metres of starting line ? it was just bash and bash.''
He made up ground with the ride of his life, working the long trek on his own, before he was cheered home on the run leg by a strong Australian crowd.
"I performed to my best and had no more,'' Clifford said.
However, Clifford's greatest thrill was seeing good mate Tidbury realise his potential.
Racing in his first international event, Tidbury (25-29 years male) finished 12th in 1:59.51s.
He was the fifth best placed Australian competitor and after sitting in 40th position out of the water, led the field with a superb bike leg.
With another gruelling campaign over, Clifford and Tidbury will head to Kona this week to support Rockhampton's Peter Reaburn in this weekend's world ironman championships.