Non-stop action for Dusi’s best

2008-02-02 00:00

Most of the paddlers in the Hansa Powerade Dusi are having a well-deserved rest, but for some, the Stihl Non-Stop Dusi is just a week away.

The event takes place next Saturday from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and is literally “the Dusi in a day”.

Michael Mbanjwa, who made a massive impact in the Dusi Canoe Marathon by becoming the first black paddler to win, has announced that he will be paddling with multiple winner Martin Dreyer. The pairing won last week’s Dusi in record time and are the favourites to win next week’s event.

The rules of the race are that there are no rules, apart from paddlers having to beat the cut-off time at two checkpoints en route. The paddlers have to depend on their support teams and work out the fastest way to Durban.

Mbanjwa said in an interview yesterday: “[I] still have a smile on my face from our Dusi win”.

The popular paddler, who hails from Nagle Dam in the Valley of a Thousand Hills, said that there is a lot of excitement in the Valley.

“It’s amazing as everyone in the Valley wants to start paddling now. I am sure there will be many cheering us on when we come through the valley and I can’t wait to be racing again,” said Mbanjwa.

Martin Dreyer (39), who has threatened retirement from the Dusi, says that he and Michael are ready.

“I always come back home for this one no matter where I am in the world. It is a very special race,”said Dreyer.

Organisers of the world’s toughest canoe race changed the format in 2006 to allow K1s (singles) to enter.

Hank McGregor stunned the canoeing pundits when he won the race in a K1 (single) for the first time in the race’s history. The race is once again open to K1 boats as well as K2s (doubles).

The question on everyone’s minds is whether a K1 can do it again?

Organisers have capped entries at 100 K2 boats.

Dave Still, chairman of Dusi Umgeni Conservancy trust (Duct) — tasked with doing water quality reports for canoeing — said on Thursday that the water quality had greatly improved since the Dusi Canoe Marathon.

The E. Coli counts have dropped from 40 000/100 ml of water to just on 2 000/100 ml. He was confident that with the water release from Henley Dam that the water quality “should improve even further”.

“As long as we don’t have a big storm the day before the race we should be fine,” he said.

Entry forms are available at www.stihlnonstopdusi.co.za

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