Caine Eckstein wins his first round of the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series yesterday.
Caine Eckstein wins his first round of the Nutri-Grain Ironman Series yesterday. Delly Carr

Eckstein silences his rivals

LIKE most lone wolves, Caine Eckstein likes to let his racing do the talking.

So it was no surprise he bit back at those willing to big note themselves after racking up his maiden Nutri-Grain Ironman Series win yesterday.

Five-time Coolangatta winner and endurance king Eckstein shook the monkey off his back to win his first round of the short-form series before using the opportunity to send a stinging rebuke to rival Ky Hurst.

Eckstein drew on all of his staying power to come home in front of Sunshine Coast duo Corey Jones and Ali Day.

Going into the race, some questioned whether five-time Coolangatta Gold winner and notorious introvert Eckstein could convert his long-form dominance into success in the short-form Nutri-Grain Series.

However, he said he was spurred on by comments made during the week by Olympic open water swimmer and fellow Gold Coast athlete Hurst directed at Eckstein's brother Shannon.

Hurst declared he had "bigger ticker" than all his fellow competitors and six-time Ironman Series champion Shannon Eckstein was a fading force.

After his win, Caine said Hurst should "shut up", described him as "stupid" and instructed him to stop courting media attention.

"I was so stoked because there was so much cocky talk going on and me and Shannon don't really like that," he said.

"We stick to racing and trying to get wins and a lot of the other guys try to talk themselves up and that sort of thing. So hopefully those guys will shut up over the Christmas holiday and come back at Portsea and race again."

Jones carried a 36-second lead over Caine Eckstein at the halfway mark of the race which consisted of two board, two swim and two ski legs.

By the end of the penultimate swim leg, Jones' lead had depleted and he was neck-and-neck with Caine Eckstein, Day, Kendrick Louis and 35-year-old Phil Clayton.

It was a bad day for the series' big guns with reigning champion Shannon Eckstein finishing ninth with last year's third-placegetter Zane Holmes in 11th. Hurst finished 10th.

Mooloolaba's Kendrick Louis produced a standout performance to finish fourth.

Mooloolaba competitor and 2010-11 runner-up Matt Poole came from far back in the field to finish sixth.

His clubmate Rhys Drury finished 18th but it was a wonder he was able to take the line after breaking his finger in the surf on Saturday.



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