Bruss, Thompson new KZN river champs

2007-12-04 00:00

“We went into Mission in front, came out about 50 metres clear and then, except for a glimpse every now and again, didn’t see another boat until we got to Blue Lagoon,” said Bruss. “Thursday was the first time in the boat together and the race was my first time driving a K2 in a major race, so that was quite difficult. But we didn’t make any major mistakes and it all went quite smoothly.”

The two represent half each of their combinations for the Hansa Powerade Dusi in January. Bruss will be paddling with Hank McGregor, away ski-racing in Dubai, and Thompson will be taking on the Dusi with Ant Stott.

The top three boats — Bruss and Thompson, Sven’s brother Deon Bruss with Nick Stubbs, and Martin Dreyer with Michael Mbanjwa— were close together until just after Finger Neck. But Dreyer and Mbanjwa had a short swim and, as the field was still quite compressed, they dropped back to 11th place. They worked their way back to third place by the end of Day One, mainly due to spills by other combinations.

Mike Harris and Jonathan Niemand had a big swim at Bell Rapid, while Jacques Theron and Piers Cruikshanks got in a tangle at Willem’s Shute.

On Day Two, a pre-run of the Dusi Day Three from the Msinsi camp on Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon in Durban, Bruss and Thompson started out one minute and 13 seconds ahead of Bruss and Stubbs, with Dreyer and Mbanjwa 38 seconds later. They worked hard and caught Bruss and Stubbs at Little John Rapid, but after negotiating the notorious Island one rapid, they made a mistake and ended up portaging the causeway and Bruss and Stubbs were away cleanly. They had the fastest time on Day Two, cutting five seconds off the lead of Bruss and Thompson.

Behind the top three, Shaun Biggs and Michael Arthur had an excellent Day Two in the big water around Burma Road and pulled up to fourth overall.

Jacques Theron and Piers Cruikshanks wrapped their boat at Island One and had to withdraw from the race. Despite an emergency repair to their steering gear seconds before the start, Laura Thompson and Robyn Kime won the women’s race easily. They extended their three-minute overnight lead over Hillary Pitchford and Debbie Germiquet to 12 minutes by the finish.

Kate Frost and Nicky Irvine were third after catching up by a minute on Day Two.

Ben Biggs and Andrew Birkett had an impressive win in the boys’ race, sixth overall and pulling up two places on Day Two. Nkosi Cele and Tom Ngcobe were a distant second followed by U16 winners Gregor Martin and Stuart MacLaren. Stuart Waterworth and Matt Cullen, second on Day One, continued their run of bad luck with a broken boat on Day Two putting them back to sixth place in the junior race.

The two-day race, which doubled as the KZN K2 river championships for 2007, started at 7 am on Saturday near Table Mountain at Mission Rapid on the Msunduzi River. Day one was raced over 33 km down to the confluence with the Umgeni and then on to the overnight stop at Ngumeni Hill.

The huge water from the storms earlier in the week had abated somewhat by Saturday leaving the rivers at a full but manageable level. On Sunday the Umgeni below Inanda Dam was flowing at a similar level, all coming over the wall as natural river flow. The new portage through the construction site at Pumphouse wiers was well marked and the almost 900 paddlers in the race passed through without incident.

Hosts Umzinyathi Canoe Club and their new title sponsors Chemspec definitely raised the standard of the event this year with smooth organisation and all the frills, including for the first time in a canoe race in SA, a live radio station, Chemspec 50 Miler Radio on 104.1FM.

Results

Overall

1. Sven Bruss and Wayne Thompson UMV-NAT 4:21:27, 2. Deon Bruss and Nick Stubbs UMV-MMS 4:22:35, 3. Martin Dreyer and Michael Mbanjwa WHR-ERK 4:25:37, 4. Shaun Biggs and Michael Arthur UKN-NAT 4:32:02, 5. Greg Louw and Craig Turton FIS-CAN 4:34:53.

Women

1. Laura Thompson and Robyn Kime NAT-EPW 5:06:52, 2. Hillary Pitchford and Debbie Germiquet NAT-UMZ 5:18:02, 3. Kate Frost and Nicky Irvine NAT-KIN 5:22:48, 4. Kirsty van der Merwe and Sarah Saunders GHR-SOW 5:42:01, 5. Sonja Bohnsack and Merrill King(Veterans) DAB-NAT 6:01:15.

Boys

1. Ben Biggs and Andrew Birkett NAT-MAR 4:34:54, 2. Nkosi Cele and Tom Ngcobo LEM 5:11:53, 3. Stuart MacLaren and Gregor Martin(U16) MIC 5:16:14, 4. Shaun Austen and Brett Dorman ZUL-MIL 5:28:15, 5. Matthew Gilson and Michael Hay MAR 5:30:24.

Girls - 1 entry

Kate Johnson and Lauren Hendrie(U16) EPW 7:28:59

Mixed

1. Mark and Angelique Mulder JCC-KIN 5:16:03, 2. Sandra Eardley and David Ngcobo VIC 5:18:10, 3. Glen and Tracy Hilliar(SV) KIN 5:23:04.

1st U21 Gareth Edmonds and Dean Oellermann NAT-UKN 5:09:39

1st SV Guy Collyer and Brett Frost NAT 4:48:03 - women Debbie Doig and Janet Bartlet DAB 7:25:46

1st V Eric Hildebrandt and James Tutton KIN 4:54:54 - women, Sonja Bohnsack and Merrill King DAB-NAT 6:01:15.

1st SM Shane Gouldie and Gavin Myburgh CEN-KIN 5:43:45

1st M Rick Whitton and Graeme Pope-Ellis UMZ-KIN 5:02:10

1st SGM Phillip van Niekerk and Roy Delhove KIN 5:27:51 - women Jane Bain and Linda Attwell NAT 7:34:56

1st GM Roy Swingewood and Willen Deyzel KIN 6:32:27

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