Dusi duo all fired up

2016-02-17 06:00
Andy Birkett’s Dusi victory in February 2015 was his fifth in the past six editions of the race. PHOTO: anthony grote/gameplan media

Andy Birkett’s Dusi victory in February 2015 was his fifth in the past six editions of the race. PHOTO: anthony grote/gameplan media

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

BETWEEN them, Andy Birkett and Lance Kime boast six FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon titles.

Last year, after his fifth win in six years, Birkett joined an elite group of athletes that have won five or more Dusis - Gordie Rowe, Graeme Pope-Ellis, Peter Peacock, and Martin Dreyer - while Kime claimed a K1 victory in 2013.

To no one’s surprise, the duo are regarded as one of the leading title threats in this year’s K2 race, but Birkett believes more boats than ever could be in the running for the prestigious title. “It is so great to see the level of the Dusi really picking up,” he said recently.

“In years gone by there would be two or three boats way ahead of the rest of the field in the top 10, and I think it is going to be a lot closer this year. There is a lot of depth and 15 guys who have been training as hard as they can just to get a top 10 finish.

“I think it will be a good Dusi in terms of competition, and also for the guys racing for the podium. It is not a one or two horse race. It’s anyone’s for the taking at the end of the day.”

Natal Canoe Club star Birkett and Kime, who is studying at the University of Stellenbosch, shared a training camp in Plettenberg Bay in December in an effort to work on their combination: “We had a nice camp two weeks before Christmas and that was our first solid block of training after the Staminogro 50-Miler, so it was good to jump in the boat and spend some time together,” Birkett said.

The camp was also where the positions in the boat were decided. Previously Kime had been the driver when the pair won the Ozzie Gladwin presented by Parklane SuperSpar, but in Plettenberg Bay Birkett took over at the front. “Until that point Lance was in the front. That’s when the mutiny happened. I was in a happier place being in the front and Lance doesn’t really mind what goes on, as long as he is still in the boat,” Birkett smiled.

After they participated in the Euro Steel Highveld Croc in January, the pair’s preparations suffered a setback when Kime was sidelined by illness for 12 days.

“Andy’s carried on with his training as per normal. I have had to sit out. Andy’s been lucky. I have been his designated driver for training sessions, so that has made his life easier,” Kime laughed.

“I am ready to give it stick again, for the last little push,” he added. “We are all worried about what is going to happen on the three days of Dusi. We just have to make sure that we feel good then, both of us.”

Preparing for this year’s race has been a little different and challenging, Birkett said: “This is my eleventh or twelfth Dusi now, and I have always been fortunate enough to spend lots of time on the river … but there hasn’t been a Dusi since I started racing it where I haven’t been able to go down the river at all, because there is no water.”

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.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/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.