Jenkins-Bouman duo unstoppable at fisht river canoe marathon

2010-10-02 00:00

CRADOCK — “King of the Fish” Len Jenkins and partner Matt Bouman blitzed the first stage of the Hansa Powerade Fish River canoe marathon, setting a new stage record and reducing the highly competitive field to a scrap for the minor placing on the podium.

The duo raced to the finish of the 36 km stage from Grassridge dam to Knutsford almost two minutes clear of defending champions Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt, with the Germans Max Hoff and Stephan Stiefenhoefer finishing with the Czech Republic stars Robert Knebel and Tomáš Slovák, tussling for third place.

“Len is just in a class of his own on this river,” said an exhausted Bouman. “He has this ability to go flat-out for three hours at an absolutely flat-out pace. I just tucked in behind him, and tried my best to give him what he wanted from me. I was really just a passenger.”

They were locked in a close tussle with McGregor and Van der Walt just below Keith’s Flyover rapid, when they raced into a thick nest of willow trees.

“We held back at that stage because we had tripped the section of the river and we knew there was a channel that ran into a dead-end,” said Bouman.

The women’s race is in the firm control of the pre-race favourites Robyn Kime and Michele Eray, who worked hard for their eight-and-a-half minute lead over Jen Hodson and Tiffany Kruger, in a race strategy based on balancing risk and return.

They, like all of the other seeded women, opted to run around Keith’s Flyover, and saved their energy for the long flats where they ground out their cavernous lead.

Brandon van der Walt and Ivan Kruger completed the first stage in eleventh overall, and 10 minutes clear of the next junior boys, the Maritzburg College U16s Murray Haw and James Speed; while the Toti schoolgirls Jenna Ward and Kerry Seagal have nine minutes on their nearest challengers Brittany Petersen and Kerry Shuter.


Men: 1 Len Jenkins/ Matthew Bouman (KZN) 2:43:56 (New stage record); 2 Grant van der Walt/ Hank McGregor (KZN) 2:45:40; 3 Stephan Stiefenhoefer/ Max Hoff (GER) 2:49:34; 4 Robert Knebl/ Tomas Slovak (CZE) 2:49:35; 5 Pierre-Andre Rabie (WP)/ Andrew Birkett (KZN) (U21) 2:50:52; 6 Douglas Bird/ Nicholas Burden (KZN) 2:52:33

Women: 1 Michele Eray (EP)/ Robyn Kime (WP) 3:04:43; 2 Jen Hodson (GAU)/ Tiffany Kruger (KZN) 3:12:22; 3 Abby Adie (KZN)/ Lindi-May Harmsen (WP) 3:14:51; 4 Jenna Ward/ Kerry Segal (KZN) (U18) 3:21:26


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