AMERICAN-based professional Paul Ambrose yesterday completed the Hunter triathlon double when he added the Sparke Helmore to the title he won at Maitland.
Ambrose powered home over the final two kilometres in the run leg to clock one hour, 56 minutes and 37 seconds to beat Danish and world longcourse champion Jimmy Johnson by 46 seconds. Sydney's Ben Hammond (1:59.08) was third.
Ambrose and Johnson cleared out early in the Olympic distance (1500-metre swim, 40-kilometre cycle, 10km run) event raced around Newcastle foreshore and King Edward Park.The win followed success in the mid-distance event at Morpeth in October and was the perfect warm-up for the ITU World Championship event in Sydney on April 10. Johnson only confirmed his place in the field on Saturday.
"For an event that does not have prizemoney we have attracted an unbelievable calibre of athlete," race director Paul Humphreys said.
"Jimmy Johnson is a world champion and Paul Ambrose is a regular on the professional tour."
In the women's Olympic distance event, Port Macquarie's Tara Prowse confirmed her ranking as one of Australia's best with a comfortable win in 2:07.32. Evette Fisher (2:10.56), from Canberra, was second ahead of Sydneysider Christelle van Niekerk (2:11.07). Most of the attention was on the elite field, but there were more than 1800 competitors in total ranging in age from 14 to 68. The community event, which also included team sections, raised more than $30,000 for Hunter Medical Research.