McGregor smashes Bay

2015-04-21 00:00

MARATHON World Champion Hank McGregor provided a glimpse of his ominous form by blitzing the Bay Union Grading race that began the popular winter surfski series at Addington Beach on Sunday.

The Team Jeep/Epic Kayaks ace romped home to claim a lopsided win against a strong field as part of his base training for his assault on another Molokai Challenge title in Hawaii next month.

In a tricky massed start that is a hallmark of the season-starting grading race where every paddler starts together, McGregor was quick to stamp his ­authority on the race, putting water between himself and Wade Krieger and series boss Barry Lewin (Team Jeep) early on in the first triangular lap of the 12 km race.

He was soon racing alone on the benign ocean and set about working through the double ski field ahead of him and pacing himself in a fast paced training session for the Molokai ultra-marathon on 30th May.

“I had a solid paddle,” said McGregor. “I am thick into my training for the Molokai so a 12 km paddle feels like a warm up when you are preparing for a 50 km race.

“To be able to get away from everyone in a top quality field — which is what you get every time you race in Durban — is really encouraging.

“The start is always important in this race to make sure you are well clear of any casualties at the start or the first turn,” said McGregor.

“It was a pearler of a day for the series opener and it seemed that just about ­everyone that owns a surfski was down here,” said McGregor.

“It is such a great sign for the sport of surfski paddling,” he added. “So many other sports are really taking strain but the numbers in surfski paddling just seem to be growing.”

Surf lifesaving Iron Man Wade Krieger shrugged off Lewin to secure second place alone, while Lewin found himself in a six ski scrap for the last spot on the podium, eventually taken by Eastern Cape surfski icon Steve Woods, who looks set to be factor in all the surfski races in Durban this summer following his move up the coast.

McGregor outpaced the winning double ski crew of youngster Dewalt Hattingh and Irvin Dixon who took the double ski title by 30 seconds from Adam Nisbett and Nic Burden.

Dusi icon Sbonelo Khwela (Team Red Bull/Euro Steel) made a surprise appearance in the double ski lineup and was right in the mix for the title with youngster Banesti Nkhoesa (Computershare Change A Life) before they got stuck on the shark nets coming in on the final lap.

“We were going so nicely before we got stuck on the nets and the other guys all got away from us,” said Khwela. “We went forward and backwards but we couldn’t get off the nets. And there was no way I was going to get into the water.”

Michelle Burn (Fenn Kayaks) celebrated her return to the Bay Union Surfski Series by winning the women’s title in front of her daughter, but she needed some luck to get there.

Burn had been locked in a Titanic duel with the talented Nikki Russell and in the final short lap from the harbour wall to the finish Russell got away and onto a wave into the finish ahead of Burn.

“Suddenly I saw Nikki spinning out on the wave, and I realised that I just had to make sure I didn’t make any mistake on the small surf coming in and I was able to take it.

“It was lucky, but I am just loving my surfski paddling again,” said Burn, who will contest the entire series as well as the Mauritius international later in the year.

Defending series women’s champ and Team Fenn Kayaks team-mate Jenna Ward was the third woman home.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS

BAY UNION GRADING RACE

LONG COURSE

1 Hank McGregor 48:33.32

2 Dewald Hattingh/Irvin Dixon 48:37.88

3 Adam Nisbett/Nic Burden 49:06.10

4 Wade Krieger 50:35.59

5 Sbonelo Khwela/Banesti Nkhoesa 51:24.32

Women

1 Michelle Burn 55:50.71

2 Nikki Russell 55:58.99

3 Jenna Ward 57:09.93

4 Kyeta Purchase 57:39.04

5 Donna Tutton 58:15.84

SHORT COURSE

1 Thomas Lovemore 32:28.99

2 Craig Stuart 34:47.59

3 Mathew Pender-Smith/Bruce Pender-Smith 35:43.15

4 Hamish Lovemore 36:12.09

5 Mwelu Hlongwane 36:38.11

Women

1 Vanessa Mayhew 42:30.08

2 Jaqueline Fourie 44:47.00

3 Inge Petersen 46:16.00

4 Cara Landman 47:21.00

5 Angela Godwin 1:00:29.00

Stand Up Paddleboards

1 Justin Bing 47:07:38

2 Stephen Lawson 41:18:28

3 Shane Chipps 42:42:55.

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