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One Tough Customer

Sam Clark, the Suzuki-sponsored MultiSport racer, stormed home to win this year’s Coast to Coast. Sam finished the ‘Longest Day’ event (where elite competitors take on the entire 243km of torture themselves) in a time of just 11:02:43.

The Coast to Coast is an iconic (and epic) multisport event based in the South Island. Held every February, it starts on the West Coast, at Kumara Beach and traverses the width of the South Island. The course crosses the main divide and finishes on the East Coast at the Pier on New Brighton Beach in Christchurch. It’s a gruelling race that requires endurance, skill, and a fair dose of mental fortitude. Some would say, you need to be crazy. As well as multiple running and cycling legs, there’s a 33km rock running section with frigid river crossings and a wild 70km kayak paddle down the mighty Waimakariri River.

This year’s race was particularly exciting. In defending his title, Sam Clark was one of nine riders that broke away on the first 55km cycle leg. The leaders split up over the mountain with 3-time champion Braden Currie building what seemed like an unassailable 11 minute lead. But, as Clark screamed at the finish line; "Never stop fighting. It's not over until it's over!"

His comeback was nothing short of incredible. A renowned paddler, Clark clawed back time on the water, reducing the gap to four minutes. For the final 70km cycle leg to New Brighton beach he cranked along in a massive gear, passing Currie with just under 25km to go. "I just dug deeper than I've ever dug before. I just absolutely buried myself" says Clark. He ended up finishing almost eight minutes in front of Currie and was justifiably jubilant. "Two years ago he beat me just by the skin of my teeth. I can't even begin to describe just how happy I am to finally do this.”

With Suzuki's long history of supporting Triathlon New Zealand, Nicholson Whakatane saw the sponsorship of our number one multi-sport racer as a great fit. Sam Clark drives a Suzuki Vitara Turbo which is loaded with accessories to help take his tools of the trade all over the country.