Top four at Croc race

2015-01-15 00:00

THE 2015 edition of the Dusi Canoe Marathon is just over a month away and promises to be a hard-fought affair with the “Fantastic Four” of Andy Birkett, Sbonelo Khwela, Thulani Mbanjwa and Lance Kime all making the journey up to Gauteng for the Euro Steel Highveld Croc this weekend. This will present fans with a golden opportunity to see how the top four weigh up against each other.

Johannesburg is currently experiencing some heavy rains and event organiser Malcolm Stothard is happy with the fact that there should be more water in the river than previous years, but is hoping that it does not become too much of an issue.

“The race is completely rain dependant and we are getting some good rains at the moment,” Stothard said. “We are expecting the river to be a lot fuller than previous years, which should be good for racing but we are hoping that there isn’t too much rain because then it can ­become a little tricky.”

The Highveld Croc is one of the last front-row seeding races in Gauteng ­before February’s Pietermaritzburg to Durban clash and is set to attract the ­Fantastic Four, adding extra spice to what should be a tightly contested affair with some good prize money on offer.

“Lance Kime came up and did the race last year with Thulani [Mbanjwa] and he said that it was one of the best rivers he has raced on, which was great for us to hear,” said Stothard.

“Thulani comes up and does the race every year so we are expecting him here as well so we hope that the race at the front of the field will be an exciting one.”

The Jukskei River will play host to the race this weekend and Stothard believes that it is the best river in the Gauteng area on which to prepare for the Dusi. He is hopeful that with the recent rains, the race will attract a sizable field.

“I have been told by a number of people, including Lance Kime, that the river is as close to the Dusi as you are going to get outside of KwaZulu-Natal,” said Stothard.

“I believe it is a better river to paddle on in terms of Dusi preparation than the Klip because it has more rapids.”

The two-day race from Heron Bridge School to Paddle Power should be a test for all with seven kilometres of running on day one and a four-and-a-half kilometre portage on the second day.

“When the river is flowing at between 40 and 50 cumecs it is beautiful and that is the ideal paddling level so we are hoping that it will be like that for the race,” said Stothard.

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