Kyle Buckingham of South Africa and Sarah Piampiano of the U.S. won top honors at the $50,000 Ironman Vineman.
Buckingham edged Chris McDonald of Australia by 2:51 on the swim, 2:18 on the bike leg and 1:49 on the run to finish in 8:27:58, with a 6:55 margin of victory over McDonald and 11:26 on 3rd-place finisher Jonathan Shearon of the U.S.
Barrett Brandon, also of the U.S., led the swim in 49:19 and closed with a 6th-fastest 3:06:53 run to take 4th, 16:19 back of the winner and 2:22 ahead of 5th place finisher Richie Cunningham of Australia.
Vineman was Buckingham’s second professional Ironman victory after his Ironman Lake Placid pro win in 2014. Buckingham’s career breakthrough was his overall amateur win at the Ironman World Championship in 2013.
In addition to his $10,000 winner’s check, Buckingham’s Vineman win provided a 2,000 point boost in his Kona qualifying KPR ranking and jumped him from 91st to 43rd on the list. Having missed the boat on the July 24 first cut, which included 40 top points getters plus 5 Ironman Regional Champions, Buckingham now is in a favorable points position to be one of the final 10 men to join the Kona qualifiers at the August 21 deadline.
Runner-up Chris McDonald also jump started his Kona chances. His added 1,600 points bumped his KPR total to 3,525 and from 89th to 52nd in the men's KPR ranking. With 47 total Kona qualifiers as of the the July 24 KPR cutoff, and 10 more slots available as of the August 21 final KPR cutoff, McDonald now ranks 6th in line - 300 points ahead of 10th in line Paul Matthews.
Piampiano overcame an 11:23 swim deficit to her top pro rivals with a 4:57:13 ride through the wine country that was 30 minutes faster than the next-best woman pro. Piampiano then coasted home with a 3:07:07 marathon that brought her to the finish in 9:19:05, with a 44:33 margin of victory over Ashley Paulson of the U.S. (3:15:48 run) and 58:12 over 3rd-place finisher Jessica Smith of the U.S. (3:45:28 run.)
Piampiano earned her second Ironman victory, following her win at the 2015 edition of Ironman Western Australia.
Piampiano already qualified for Kona with her 6th place points in the women’s KPR ranking at the July 24 cutoff. But the 2,000 points she earned for her Ironman Vineman win boosted her KPR total to 9,390 points and 3rd place in the rankings behind only Daniela Ryf and Susie Cheetham.
July 30, 2016
S 2.4 mi. / B 112 mi. / R 26.2 mi.
1. Kyle Buckingham (RSA) 8:27:58 - $10,000
2. Chris McDonald (AUS) 8:34:53 - $5,000
3. Jonathan Shearon (USA) 8:39:24 - $3,250
4. Barrett Brandon (USA) 8:44:17 - $2,500
5. Richie Cunningham (AUS) 8:46:39 - $1,750
6. Jim Lubinski (USA) 8:57:40 - $1,250
7. Jesse Vondracek (USA) 9:00:36 - $750
8. Doug MacLean (USA) 9:02:18 - $500
9. Colin Loughery (USA) 9:13:53
10. Nicholas Granet (FRA) 9:17:46
1. Sarah Piampiano (USA) 9:19:05 - $10,000
2. Ashley Paulson (USA) 10:03:38 - $5,000
3. Caroline Lea (USA) 10:14:47 * F30-34
4. Jessica Smith (USA) 10:17:17 - $3,250
5. Kyra Wiens (USA) 10:19:40 - $2,500
6. Rachel Tobey (USA) 10:18:56 * F40-44
7. Danielle Widenmann Mualchin (USA) 10:23:46 * F30-34
8. Kristin Lawhorn (USA) 10:34:09 * F30-34
9. Kayla Kielar (USA) 10:35:14 * F30-34
10. Melissa Camacho (CRI) 10:35:22 * F25-29