McGregor takes lead at Fish River

2014-10-11 00:00

KNUTSFORD — Hank McGregor’s class shone through as the five-time Canoe Marathon World Champion won the first stage of the 2014 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon yesterday.

He holds a slender 54-second lead over Andy Birkett while Abby Adie and Michele Eray will fight for the women’s title on today’s second stage.

McGregor and Birkett traded blows throughout the 45 km stage despite McGregor narrowly avoiding a swim at the infamous Keith’s Flyover which claimed a number of victims on the opening day.

“I had a great race,” McGregor said. “I made a bit of a mistake at Keith’s where I spun out at the bottom but I recovered.”

The Team Jeep/Kayak Centre star pushed the pace at the front and it was only Birkett who could hold onto the leader’s tail.

“Everyone came off except for Andrew [Birkett] and then after Katkop Weir he had a bit of a bad patch and I stretched it but didn’t do anything crazy. I’m feeling good …,” McGregor said.

McGregor understands the position and the pressure that comes with being in the front going into the final day.

“I would love to win and pressure comes with the territory. I am leading at the moment and I would like to stay in the front but there is a lot of water between now and then.”

The women’s clash fast became a two-filly race as Abby Adie and Michelé Eray streaked ahead of the rest of the field as early as the Grassridge Dam wall portage with Adie eventually eking out a 29-second advantage.

“It was a cold and tough day out there,” said the Natal Canoe Club/Kayak Centre athlete. “I started the day with Michelé [Eray] and Jenna [Ward] on the dam before I managed to break away a little on the portage.”

Eray, formerly from Plettenberg Bay and now living in Oklahoma City in the U.S., relished the competitive return to her home province and was satisfied with her first stage effort.

“It’s so good to be back. Abby’s a lot stronger than me now so I just tried to avoid making any mistakes and sit close enough to her that I could capitalise on any mistakes she made,” she said.

Under-23 paddler Jenna Ward rounded out the women’s podium.

Men’s Top Three: Hank McGregor 2:54,24, Andy Birkett 2:55,10, Greg Louw 2:58,08

Women’s Top Three: Abby Adie 3:18,33, Michelé Eray 3:19,02, Jenna Ward (U23) 3:24,56.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.