The Vachery Estate in Cranleigh, Surrey, provided the stunning backdrop to what was a great day of racing at theVachery Triathlon Festival 2013. Over 800 competitors took on the challenge of either the Middle, Standard or Sprint distance races on offer on what was one of the hottest race weekends of the year.

With the lake temperature measured at just over 23 degrees, and the sun due to break through the cloud during the early part of the morning, racers were treated to conditions more akin to those seen on the continent than in South-East England and the weather would prove to be a further challenge that the participants would have to overcome in addition to the tough course.

The marquee Middle Distance race, covering a 1.9km swim, 80km bike and 21km run attracted one of the strongest domestic fields in this country this year. The ladies race was very strong, led by the 2x European Long Distance Duathlon champion Lucy Gossage, who had to contend with a strong threat from the in-form Holly Lawrence, the fast running Susie Hignett and former European champion Amy Forshaw.

With the water temperature rising Holly Lawrence blasted the rest of the field and opened up a four minute lead in 25:05. Claire Shea-Simmonds was next out the water and had a great swim of 29:22, but such was the swim dominance of Lawrence out the water, Shea-Simmonds and the rest of the field including Lucy Gossage, Amy Forshaw and Susie Hignett would have a lot of work to do over the tough bike course.

Lucy Gossage caught Holly Lawrence on the bike and the pair had a real duel over the course. Coming into T2 together, most would have had their money on Gossage to assert her dominance over Lawrence early on and claim a clear victory….most would be proved wrong. Susie Hignett was next into T2 after the bike and despite having 90 seconds to make up, she is a marvellous runner and was capable of catching
The race was also turning into a thrilling finale as after the first lap it became obvious that Holly Lawrence wouldn't be cracking under the relentless pressure from Lucy Gossage and the pair were running neck and neck together through the course. Susie Hignett was running well, but not well enough for the catch to come and it looked to be a battle between the aforementioned pair for the title. The close race continued until the final 800m and it wasn't until they reached the long finishing straight that Lawrence gave some ground to Gossage and the Cambridge-based pre-race favourite moved past her and took the win by just a small eight second margin. Susie Hignett crossed the line soon after for third place.

Full report and article taken from Tri247