Australians Peter Kerr and Felicity Abram gatecrashed the Oceania Triathlon Championships in Wellington on Saturday.
Kiwis Ryan Sissons and Kate McIlroy were the pre-race favourites but Sissons cut his foot in the warmup and McIlroy was outgunned by Abram on the run.
It was an emotional win for Abram over the world No 10.
"I was racing for my uncle who is back home very sick with lung and brain cancer, and I said I would race and do my best to win for him today," Abram said.
"I said I would do anything to spur him on back home."
Wellington's McIlroy, who finished second, said she "almost had my wetsuit pulled down" on the swim and expended too much energy on the bike.
"I tried to go on the bike - it was a shame no-one went with me - so I sat up and rode with the group, which was a bit frustrating, but I gave it a shot," McIlroy said.
"On the run, I paid a price for going out on the bike as I did but I tweaked my ankle a few weeks ago and had missed some running in training. So, to be honest, I am happy with my race today."
World No 19 Sissons stood on glass as he left the water after his warmup and pulled out of the race and headed get stitches inserted.
Sissons faces at least a week off running, not ideal a month out from the opening world Tri Series race in Auckland.
Kerr made the most of Sissons' misfortune, running away from compatriot Aaron Royle and Wanaka's Tony Dodds over the final kilometre.
"I felt for Ryan not starting today, he is in great form and I know he will show that in Auckland," Dodds said.
New Zealand's former world champion, Sam Warriner, finished sixth in the women's race in her first appearance at elite level since the birth of her first child.
Abram was impressed with Warriner's organisational skills.
"Sam was playing Aunty Sam on the bike . . . keeping everyone in line and taking their turn."
- © Fairfax NZ News