Sydney University Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder James Nipperess literally burnt up the road to win the 2011 Skilled Burnie Ten in Tasmania on Sunday.

The former Sydney University Blues Association Scholarship holder won the Burnie Ten in 28min 58.9sec, with his final sprint edging Stephen Thurston into second place.

Sydney University Athletics Club’s other competitor Russell Dessaix-Chin, a former Burnie Ten winner, finished sixth.

The Burnie Ten, widely regarded by the distance running elite as one of the most competitive road races on the Australian circuit, attracted a quality field, including this year’s City to Surf winner Liam Adams.

Competitors had a difficult warm-up for the event, when a hailstorm hit Burnie 20 minutes before the start.

But the weather cleared in time for a very competitive race and Nipperess, fresh from the recent World University Games in Shenzhen, China, kicked away with a sprint finish to claim the biggest road race win of his career.

“Coming into the final turn I thought I’d go for broke and I’m really happy with the win,” he said.

Nipperess was unlucky to miss out on a spot in the final of the 5000m at the World University Games. He finished eighth (3:47.24) in the third and final heat, but despite running faster than the winners of the first two heats, he missed the final by two spots.

Nipperess’s next assignment will be in November in Chiba Japan, where he will compete in the 5km race as part of the Ekiden Relays.