Busselton man Matt Coutts won the weekend’s Eagle Bay Epic in a strong field, with local athletes competing alongside some of the country’s keenest adventure racers. Organisers Rapid Ascent said perfect conditions unfolded for the multi-part race starting and finishing at Eagle Bay Brewing Co and taking in Eagle Bay, Dunsborough, Meelup Regional Park and Geographe Bay. More than 1000 competitors took part in the growing annual event, with a shorter course and children’s adventure race also offered at the weekend. Coutts took line honours 10 minutes ahead of his nearest rivals in a total course time of 3hr 8min. 23sec. Andrew Mowlem came in second in 03:18:40 and Owen McKenna was third in 03:22:41. Coutts said the Epic was a skills-based adventure race. “Having my skills up to date was a huge advantage out there,” he said. Women’s winner Kristen Gardner clocked a time of 03:24:17 ahead of Phip Hughes (03:35:02) and Nicola Hayes (03:40:43) — both previous winners. Also taking to the podium were Margaret River teens Alana McGimpsey and Annie Barling. Racing as team Big Bananas, the pair won the under-15 junior teams category, with McGimpsey undertaking the run and paddle legs, and Barling the swimming and mountain biking legs to finish in a time of 5:01:28. McGimpsey told the Times she and her teammate had a blast. “It was seriously epic,” the 13-year-old said. “I loved it: big challenge, great place, good people. “It really pushed my boundaries and will be back next year with Annie to do better.” During the event, participants took on a 9km trail run, 1.5km ocean swim, 7.5km ocean paddle, and an 18km mountain bike ride.