AFTER a string of near misses in major events, Tim Berkel is celebrating his first win in more than a year.
Just in time too, with the Ironman World Championships at Hawaii only a month away.
The 31-year-old yesterday captured victory in Ironman 70.3 Sunshine Coast, clocking. 3hrs46min45sec to beat Luke McKenzie (3:46.45) and Terenzo Bozzone (3:47.13).
"I've had a few second placings so it's a massive relief," he said.
After winning the Busselton 70.3 last year, he amassed nine top-10 results from 10 events, five of those were top-five efforts and three of them were runner-up results.
"It's so frustrating to get seconds all the time so it's good to get he monkey off the back," he said.
Berkel will head to Kona in good form and eager to better his promising debut there last year, when he finished seventh.
On that occasion, he cramped in the last six kilometres to fade from fourth place.
"I think I'm mentally (ready) and a lot fitter this year," he said.
"I'm looking forward to getting back there and this was a good confidence-booster for it."
Ominously for his rivals, Berkel showed serious starch in the run leg yesterday, clocking 1hr13min11sec.
"The bike really hurt me but once we got runnning, about 5km in I settled into a nice pace and I felt really good," he said.