Stott races away to 50 miler win

2008-12-08 00:00

Despite the necessity for last-minute course changes, the House of Paint 50 Miler 2008 will go down in the history books as “one of the best” in recent years.

Good water, coolish weather and smooth organisation on the days all contributed to an excellent event.

Ant Stott and Shaun Rubenstein raced together at the front for much of the first day from Mission Rapid to just below Marianne Foley Causeway. Stott finally broke clear to win the day by just under two minutes.

Michael Arthur and junior Andrew Birkett both took advantage of the paddling day with just one shortish portage at Second Saddle to keep clear of Michael Mbanjwa for third and fourth places.

However, on day two and while Stott raced away on his own to a seven-minute victory — with Rubenstein second — Mbanjwa used the long Ngumeni Hill portage to pull back into third place, which he held all the way to the finish at the Msinsi Resort on Inanda Dam.

Arthur and Birkett finished fourth and fifth, just one second apart, after an exciting sprint for the line. Nhlanhla Cele, a member of Martin Dreyer’s “Change a Life” project in the Umgeni valley, was second in the boys’ race, three minutes clear of third placed Lance Kime.

Junior Robyn Kime created something of an upset by beating race favourite Abby Miedema to the overnight stop. But Miedema reversed the standings on Sunday, taking the women’s race overall by seven minutes. U21 Abie Adie was third on both days.

A face to watch here is Lauren Symons, back in the women’s mix after a couple of seasons’ break. Battling with a damaged steering system on day one, she finished day two just 18 seconds behind Adie. A rising U16 star from Epworth, Lauren Canham, was second in the girls’ race and won the Lana Borginon trophy for the first female K1 novice in the race. Another Epworth paddler, Jenna Starr, took third place.

Loveday Zondi, eighth at the overnight stop, suffered another disastrous shoulder dislocation in the Gum Tree, Tombi, Hippo Rocks Hot Mile on Sunday and sadly looks sidelined again for several months.

Martin Dreyer’s men placed seven in the top 50 with 10th Nkosi Cele, 13th Zonele Nzuza, 17th Tom Ngcobo, 20th Nhlanhla Cele, 21st Lucas Mthalane, 35th Kwanda Mhlophe and 37th Richard Cele. This is a major step towards his target of 10 in the top 50 for Hansa Powerade Dusi in January.

The first K2 over the line in this predominantly K1 event was the winning mixed double of Kevin and Wendy White. Both past winners of the race and the Dusi, this was the couple’s last race in South Africa before they begin a new life in Australia in January.

“We will be back for some more Dusis, and try and bring some Aussies with us,” promised White.

The cool weather and a 12 cusec water release from Henley Dam courtesy of Umgeni Water meant ideal conditions for the almost 600 paddlers entered for the race. This and smooth organisation on the two race days by hosts Umzinyathi Canoe Club and their title sponsors, House of Paint, left most paddlers full of praise for the new format.

Results: K1 Men:

1. Ant Stott NAT 4:02:57, 2. Shaun Rubenstein ERK 4:09:56, 3. Michael Mbanjwa ERK 4:13:28, 4. Michael Arthur NAT 4:14:59, 5. Andrew Birkett(U18) MAR 4:15:00, 6.Mike Harris(SV) VIC 4:19:27, 7. Doug Bird MMS 4:19:28, 8. Nick Stubbs(U21) MMS 4:26:19, 9. Deon Bruss UMV 4:26:20, 10. Nkosi Cele(U21) LEM 4:26:23.

K1 Women: 1. Abbey Miedema PEN 4:50:23, 2. Robyn Kime(U18) UKN 4:57:20, 3. Abie Adie(U21) NAT 5:02:55, 4. Hillary Pitchford NAT 5:16:19, 5. Kate March UMF 5:21:56.

K1 Boys: 1. Andrew Birkett MAR 4:15:00, 2. Nhlanhla Cele LEM 4:33:17, 3. Lance Kime NAT 4:36:12.

K1 Girls: 1. Robyn Kime UKN 4:57:20, 2. Lauren Canham(U16) EPW 5:49:56, 3. Jenna Starr(U16) EPW 6:02:55.

1st U16 Boy: Gavin Shuter DAB 4:51:54

1st SV Woman: Mandy Austen-Smith NAT 5:52:54.

1st V Martin Dreyer: NAT 4:58:23, woman, Fiona MacCrimmon NAT 7:43:37

1st SM: Eric Hildebrandt KIN 4:42:45

1st M: Mark Lynn NAT 5:43:49

1st SGM: Phillip van Niekerk5:05:34

1st GM: Graeme Pope-Ellis KIN 5:00:52

1st GGM: Hugh Raw NAT 7:37:02

1st K2 and MD: Kevin and Wendy White(V) NAT 4:51:49

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