Waterworth surprises specialist rival to win winter sprint

2010-07-27 00:00

STUART Waterworth, the current SA U21 Champion, won the inaugural KNCU 200 m Winter Sprints on Camps Drift Canal on Saturday from long-time rival and 200 m specialist Scott Humphry.

His time of 37,5 seconds was a shade faster than the 37,62 that also earned him fourth place in the Senior Men’s A Final at SA Sprint Champs in May.

The surprise of the day, however, was current Dusi champion Jason Graham, not well known as a sprinter at all, who grabbed the third spot ahead of the more fancied Stuart MacLaren with a 40,51.

Dewalt Hattingh, better known for his prowess at the Classic 1000 m distance, won the junior event in 39,08 from SA Junior Champion Blaine Beresford (40,29), who just managed to hold off Brett Wilson (41,01). All three boys paddle for Maritzburg College and Natal Canoe Club.

Brittany Petersen won the girls’ race in 48,87 from Epworth school-mate Jenna Starr (51,84). No senior women entered the regatta.

Shane Millward dominated the Master Classes with a 44,2 — 1,35 sec ahead of Colin Burden, with Rob Humphry 47,42 in third.

The K4 category was won by the senior boat of Waterworth, ­MacLaren, Humphry and Graham in an excellent 32,72. The junior crew of Hattingh, Beresford, Wilson and MacKittrick took second in 35,5. Third were Nagle Dam development juniors Shozi, Cele, Kirk and Gumede in 39,03 sec.

This first experimental event, part of a three regatta series, was held in front of the Dusi Pavilion at the Natal Canoe Club. It is part of KZN’s push to popularise sprint racing and, in particular, the new 200 m Olympic distance. The new six-lane portable course will be moved to Shongweni Dam for the second regatta on Saturday.

While the sprint paddlers were preparing to race the 200 m sprints on Camps Drift, the slalom enthusiasts were racing on the Ash River in Clarence.

The C1 race was won by Dihlabeng Slalom Club stalwart and Olympian Cyprian Ngidi, followed by team-mate and Olympic C1 paddler Master Cele.

KZN paddler Guy Collier was a doubtful starter due to illness, but he showed his years of experience by leading the K1 field home in his 15-year-old slalom boat, held together mostly by duct tape. In second was another Dihlabeng paddler, Success Mahlaba, followed closely by team-mate and second junior Thabo Moloi. These two are undoubtedly the stars of the future.

An unusually large field of almost 360 paddlers turned out on Sunday for the first river race of the KZN 2010/11 season.

The 16 km Alexander Caruth No. 1 from Albert Falls Weir to the Baynes Drift Bridge was won by Ant Stott. “That was so much fun,” said a delighted Stott, who has spent most of the winter either at ski races or marathon racing on flat water.

Second place went to the K2 of Shaun Griffin and Andrew Neal, with junior Brandon van der Walt in third place in a K1. Michaelhouse K2’s Andrew Houston/David Pearce and Matt Heenan/Luke Strachan took second and third among the juniors.

The large field of 28 women’s boats was led home by the K2 of Abby Adie and Emma Horner in an excellent 12th place overall. U16 junior Brittany Petersen took the second place ahead of the new K2 pairing of SA paddler reporter Claire Lindsay and Donna Winter.

The race calendar for 2010/11 looks quite different this year, mainly due to the move of KZN’s biggest race, the Hansa Powerade Dusi, from mid-January to mid-February. Of the province’s other two major races, the Land-Rover 50 Miler stays at the start of December, but the Global Trader Drak Challenge moves to the old Dusi slot in mid-January.

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