FORMER Yamba-based ironwoman Alyce Bennett finished third in the latest round of the IronWoman series held at Newcastle Beach on Sunday.
The race was taken out by Kristyl Smith, who led from start to finish in the third and final race to claim victory ahead of fellow Northcliffe competitor Liz Pluimers and North Burleigh's Bennett.
The round started in disastrous fashion for series leader Courtney Hancock, who along with Candice Falzon, lost her ski in the second leg of the first race and was bundled out of contention after failing to make the top 14.
This paved the way for both Smith and Pluimers to take advantage of Hancock's misfortunes and dominate the rest of the field.
Liz Pluimers looked in top form in all three races, taking out the first two before Smith edged ahead in the final courtesy of a sublime opening swim.
Smith, who just scraped into the final eight, used her expertise and knowledge to the maximum to tame the choppy 1.5m surf and overpower her rivals.
Former Yamba resident and ironman Hugh Dougherty was not so fortunate in his race, finishing a disappointing 12th in an action-packed and controversial men's event.
Zane Holmes won the drama-filled Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Iron Man race at a packed Newcastle beach, coming from behind in the final swim and board legs of the day's last Eliminator race to claim victory.
Holmes stormed to the line to win from rising star Ali Day and 35-year-old Phil Clayton who climbed atop the podium for the first time since 2004.
On a day when last start winner and Olympian Ky Hurst was sensationally disqualified for accidentally cutting a turning can in the first race, a race that he won comfortably, the final result was in question until the last leg of the last race.
Hurst's untimely disqualification promoted series leader Kendrick Louis back into the field after he had originally been elimi- nated by one place in the same opening race when his own ski hit him in the face and knocked half of his front tooth out.
Dougherty is currently sitting in 11th position in the overall pointscore of the Kellogs Nutri-Grain Ironman series, while Bennett is in 10th place in the IronWoman series following her positive result at the weekend.