CAINE Eckstein claimed his maiden Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Ironman Series title with a dominant performance at Noosa Heads yesterday, when he won the sixth and final round of the summer.
The five-time Coolangatta Gold champion proved he is much more than an endurance specialist by winning the series, chalking up victories at Surfers Paradise, Perth and Noosa Heads.
He has followed in the footsteps of his brother Shannon, who has won six Ironman Series titles.
"I know how awesome these (ironman) competitors are so to beat them today and get the series victory is pretty special," the 26-year-old said after taking the title ahead of Mooloolaba contender Ali Day.
"I've got my head in the right space now. I love the sport, more than I have for the past few years.
"Usually I have put so much emphasis on the Gold and I've had the series as an afterthought but this year I really enjoyed the series."
Kurrawa's Eckstein went into yesterday's eliminator event trailing Day by five points.
But he won every one of the five knock-out races, including the final, where he beat Ky Hurst and defending champion Shannon Eckstein in a furious sprint on the sand.
"People said I had the determined Gold look in my eyes today and I think that was because I had realised that I could get the series win. (But) if I was in the same position last year I would have thought today's event was too short."
As A result of yesterday's victory, Eckstein finished on 115 points ahead of Day (108), who claimed eighth spot in the final round.
Shannon Eckstein was third overall, a further five points back.
Caine predicted Day, 21, would be a force to be reckoned with in seasons to come.
"Ali is so consistent now," he added.
"He hasn't won so many races so he doesn't know how to win like someone like Zane Holmes.
"In the next few years when Ali gets that determination in his eyes he'll be winning races left right and centre," he said.
Day may have held a lead coming into the final race but he was ultimately satisfied to finish second this campaign.
"It's a massive relief for the series just to be over," he said.
"It was such a good year for me. When I got seventh overall last year I never thought that I would get second overall this year.
"To get on the podium beside Caine and Shannon, two heroes of mine, I'm so happy."
"I think I did run out of puff today.
"Caine and Shannon were there from the word go.
"I should have probably raced a bit smarter."
OVERALL STANDINGS: C Eckstein 115 A Day 108 S Eckstein 103 K Hurst 98 Z Holmes 89 M Poole 83 H Dougherty 82 C Jones 82 W Berg 74 P Clayton 70. More in sport detail.
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