‘Battle for Dash ’n Crash victory is sure to be extremely hard fought’

2015-01-29 00:00

A HEALTHY turnout is expected for the TWK Agri Dash ’n Crash that takes place on Saturday.

The leading contenders for this year’s Dusi Canoe Marathon men’s singles title will be among those in action, while the event also offers paddlers who have not yet qualified for the Dusi an ideal ­opportunity to do so.

The battle for victory on Saturday is sure to be extremely hard fought. Last year’s Dusi K2 winners Andy Birkett and Sbonelo Khwela will face one another, while Lance Kime, the winner of the last K1 Dusi in 2013, will also be in the ­running, along with former K2 champion Thulani Mbanjwa.

Marathon world champion Hank McGregor has teamed up with his wife, Pippa, to take part in the K2 mixed category of the Dusi, so the aforementioned quartet are expected to battle it out for both the Dash ’n Crash and Dusi Mixed Doubles titles.

Natal Canoe Club’s (NCC) Birkett is in good form, having recorded victories in the Euro Steel Highveld Croc and Drak Challenge this month.

In the Highveld Croc, he finished almost 10 minutes ahead of Kwela, who was, in turn, almost two-and-a-half minutes ahead of third-placed Kime.

Last weekend, Birkett won the Drak Challenge by five-and-a-half minutes over Kime, with Hank McGregor taking third almost 10 minutes behind the four-time Dusi champion. Thulani Mbanjwa placed fifth.

The Dash ’n Crash features two separate events: the K1 (singles) race that starts at 10 am and the K2 (doubles) race that starts at 1 pm. It is about eight kilometres in length, which means that any paddlers willing to take on both races will be able to do so.

The races start above the NCC ­clubhouse at Camps Drift and finish at the Low Level Bridge. Parking will be available on the left-hand bank.

“It’s a great opportunity to see the first section of the Dusi with a bit of water in it, so you shoot the first four or five Dusi rapids,” NCC general manager Brett Austen Smith said.

Prize giving for both events will be at Natal Canoe Club at 3.30 pm.

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