L to R: Steve Pullen, Jordan Mercer, Candice Falzon and Josh Minogue test the waters at Noosa Heads.
The names Kenny and Mercer have been synonymous with Australian Surf Life Saving for more than five decades and those names will be on show again at this weekend’s Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Trials at Noosa Heads.
Grant Kennyand his father, original Ironman champion Hayden Kenny along with brothers Darren and Dean Mercer reached legendary status in Australian Ironman racing.
Now the next generation, Grant’s son Jett Kenny and Darren’s daughter Jordan Mercer are following in their famous father’s footsteps.
They are among more than 100 Ironmen and Ironwomen from all over Australia who will converge on Noosa Heads for two days of intensive trialling as they vie for seven men’s and seven women’s positions up for grabs in this year’s Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Ironman Series.
The successful qualifiers will join last year’s Top Ten in the 2011-12 Series.
And the next generation will be out in full force, keeping their peers and some of the golden oldies on their toes.
Jett Kenny, at 16, a budding young soccer star on the Sunshine Coast, will make his first foray into the elite world of Ironman racing while Jordan, 17, will be attempting to qualify for her second professional Series.
Teenage star Jordan Mercer speaks with reporters prior to tomorrow's KNG Series Trial
Darren Mercer, the Head Coach at Noosa Heads, is excited to have the likes of Jett and daughter Jordan, who recently won the World Paddleboard Championship across the Molokai Channel, in his squad.
“They are both great kids, who just love competing and it’s a pleasure to have them as part of our group,” said Mercer.
“It’s probably not easy being who they are but they both take it in their stride and they bounce off each other really well.”
Mercer admitted Jett was in two minds about entering the Trial because of his dedication to soccer but has entered to gain experience for the future.
“Jett is full on into his soccer at this time of the year and plays in his age group as well as in the seniors so he has not done as much training as the others but he knows we’re keeping things in perspective and it’s for the experience,” said Mercer.
“As for Jordan, she knows she will have to be on her game. It’s going to be a difficult task in a competitive field of women but she has done the work.”
Having experienced Ironmen for dads can have its advantages especially when you go ski paddling in big seas and howling 30 knot winds, like last week at Noosa.
“There was just the four of us and another paddler Nick Kirby and it really was a case of the ‘masters and the apprentices’ in a day they won’t forget in a hurry, it was wild and windy but they did well” said Mercer.
Grant Kenny, away in Western Australia on business this week, won’t miss Jett’s weekend for the world and travels home tonight and will join Darren on the beach tomorrow morning.
Saturday’s action gets under way at 8am with round one with the men’s heats followed by the women; with round two scheduled for 12 noon. The top 20 qualifiers (based on points) will go through to Sunday’s final at 8am with the women’s race first, followed by the men.
Find more information on the Kellogg's Nutri-Grain Series Trial here. Start lists and event schedule have now been added.
L to R: Josh Minogue, Steve Pullen, Candice Falzon and Jordan Mercer test the waters at Noosa Heads.