Stott and McGregor leave rest of the field 12 minutes behind in final dusi qualifier

2011-02-08 00:00

HANK McGregor and Ant Stott left the rest of the field looking for parking with a massive 12-minute gap at the end of the CMH Inanda Dam to Durban Race on Sunday.

Racing together for the whole 35 km, paddle for paddle and pace for pace, on and off the water, the issue was finally settled when McGregor took the end sprint by just two seconds.

The huge gap back to Brandon van der Walt in third place made it almost impossible for any of the rest of the field to improve their seeding percentages for the Unlimited Dusi next week. In fact, not one of the other 38 paddlers making up the first two seeded rows on day one will have taken their seeding percentage from this race.

Gavin Shuter won the boys’ race from Murray Haw and Andrew Adie. It should be noted that, as usual, a number of paddlers, including Michael Mbanjwa and top junior Mmeli Cele, opted to use the race as a recce for the Burma Road portage. This portage is not included in the racecourse and these paddlers all notified the organisers and withdrew before the finish.

In the absence of Robyn Kime, back at her studies at Stellenbosch, Abby Adie and Hillary Pitchford were first and second in the women’s race with sub-vet Debbie Germiquet in third place. Brittany Petersen won the girls’ race in fourth spot overall from Kate Arnott and Jenna Ward, after another thrilling sprint for the line with the leading U21 paddler, Jenna Starr.

A field of almost 600 paddlers turned out for the race in hot and windy conditions. The 19-cumec release from Inanda Dam courtesy of Umgeni Water gave them all a great look at this important section of the river under near Dusi race conditions.

It also gave the river a much needed flush after almost 10 months of minimal flow at under one cumec. The huge water hyacinth block below Mango Rapid, sprayed only a few weeks ago, was still in place, necessitating a two-kilometre portage along the bank above the N2 bridge.

Hopefully the situation will improve before the final day of the Dusi in two weeks’ time. The water release for the race was only confirmed early last week and hosts Kingfisher Canoe Club must be commended for putting together an excellent event at such short notice.

Overall K1: 1. Hank McGregor KIN 2:32:56, 2. Ant Stott NAT 2:32:58, 3. Brandon van der Walt(U21) 2:44:36, 4. Mark Mulder KIN 2:44:37, 5. Piers Cruikshanks(SV) DAB 2:44:38

Boys: 1. Gavin Shuter DAB 2:52:07, 2. Murray Haw MAR 2:54:27, 3. Andrew Adie KEA 2:56:28.

Women: 1. Abby Adie NAT 3:04:42, 2. Hillary Pitchford NAT 3:07:44, 3. Debbie Germiquet(SV) UMZ 3:13:00.

Girls: 1. Brittany Petersen EPW 3:24:47, 2. Kate Arnott NAT 3:36:31, 3. Jenna Ward AMA 3:38:55.

1st U16: Bruce Arnott MIC 2:57:44.

1st U21: Jenna Starr NAT 3:24:47.

1st V: Shane Millward NAT 2:48:51 – women, Kerry Ras UMZ 3:53:48

1st SM: Eric Hildebrandt KIN 2:53:29 - women, Sue Annandale NAT 5:19:28

1st M: Rick Whitton UMZ 2:59:51 – women, Lorna Holmes UMZ 4:39:31

1st SGM: Roy Tremearne NAT 3:20:47

1st GM: Roy Delhove KIN 3:21:26

1st K2: Julian and David Pearce NAT-MIC 2:54:19

1st Mixed: Mark and Natasha Stanton SOU 3:03:46

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