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IMSA: Henry is back in town again
Posted by: Henry Budgett
Posted on: Friday 23rd April 2010


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A year passes quickly, very quickly! This time last year we were strolling the short stretch of road between Kings Beach and Hobie Beach, enjoying the odd beer and checking out the talent... ...Ironman talent, that is! A year on and I'm on my own here having just scraped out of the country after the airports opened on Wednesday while John is stuck back in the UK doing what he does best - looking afer all those statistics!

Stephen Bayliss, Raynard Tissink and Matthias Hecht ©Henry BudgettGB hopes for the Ironman on Sunday rest squarely on the shoulders of Bella and Stephen Bayliss. Both had the race of their lives here in 2008 but Bella was a DNF in 2009 while Stephen had to settle for a slightly disappointing fourth. This year they have both started their racing campaigns a little later and both are considerably wiser as 2009 brought home some hard truths; race as often as they do and you will have bad days... I chatted with both of them after the pro press conference this morning and they seemed relaxed, to the extent that they won't even confirm their race schedule for the second half of the year. Bella is a definite for Lanzarote, UK 70.3, Austria and UK but undecided after that while Stephen might have some other races planned in that mix - we even joked about him doing Windsor now that it doesn't clash with the UK 70.3!

Tine Deckers, Bella Bayliss, Lucie Zelenkova ©Henry BudgettThe other two GB pro athletes, Dion Harrison and Yvette Grice, have had mixed fortunes. I hear that Yvette was one of the 'ash cloud casualties' and wasn't able to get a re-booked flight that would enable her to race while rumours indicate that Dion may have broken a toe last week. He's definitely here, I was originally scheduled to do some photography with him for 220, and has collected his race pack so unless I hear otherwise I'm assuming he's definitely planning to start.

Those who have followed my ramblings over the past 15 years will be aware that I'm not averse to a bit of technology and the latest toy is a Sony 'bloggie' hi-def video camera. Apart from the one I'd ordered for the trip not turning up and having to get another at Terminal 5 on the way out it's proving to be a remarkable bit of kit. As for the name... Anyway, expect to see some snippets appearing soon.

As the weekend progresses I'll be back with more, if only to make John even more envious. Not that I feel too bad about it; he's already had a trip out here for the 70.3 and another one to Abu Dhabi so it's about time the older folk got their share!


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