EVERGREEN ironman Rhys Drury has lauded changes to the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman Series, saying “the more racing the better”.
Announced yesterday, the 2011-12 series format incorporates an extra round as well as more of an emphasis on rewarding round winners, as revealed in the Daily last Saturday.
The series will return to Perth after a long hiatus, but a location for the New South Wales round has not been decided. Kurrawa has been dropped in favour of Surfers Paradise, and Coolum and Noosa will host the final two rounds on successive weekends.
Drury, who recently pledged his allegiance to Mooloolaba after racing for Dicky Beach since 2009, said the six-round series would test competitors.
“The more racing the better,” he said. We've been hanging out to get a longer series and the extra race will be welcomed for sure.”
The Perth race, a 22km Super Enduro, will be contested in blistering heat in late January and Drury believes it may be a pivotal race in the series.
“I've raced there a few times, but a lot of the younger guys haven't,” he said.
“I expect it to be flat and hot, but it can get windy sometimes. “It's a longer format and will go for about three hours, so it'll be tough.
“It's been years since we've had a series race there. It'll be exciting for everyone to get around the country.”
A different points system will be in place this year.
The winner of each round will be awarded 25 points, second will receive 22 and third 20. Points will be awarded on a diminishing scale for places fourth to 20th, starting at 17 points and finishing at one.
The changes are a response to the result of last year's series. Although Liz Pluimers won four of the five rounds, consistent performer Courtney Hancock won the overall title without winning a round.
The 2010-11 series offered $300,000 in prizemoney.
Officials have not come to a decision on the prizemoney for the upcoming series, but the Daily understands it will be in excess of $360,000.
Met Caloundra's Corey Jones, a noted big-swell specialist, said he was glad the series had extended to Perth, but admitted he would struggle in the normally flat conditions.
“I've been doing some long-distance training and I'm just happy to do what they give us,” he said.
Jones will be among more than 50 ironmen vying for just seven spots in the series at next weekend's trials at Noosa.
The trials are being hosted nearly four months before the opening round of the series at Surfers Paradise on December 18.
Jones said he was confident of qualifying for the series despite an expected lack of swell at Noosa.
“It's (training) been going all right,” he said.
“I'm just trying not to do too much. You don't want to be under prepared, but you don't want to do too much because you'll die and burn out for the rest of the year.”
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