Umkomaas: McGregor, Van der Walt triumph in flawless run

2011-03-22 00:00

HANK McGregor swapped partners for this year’s Hansa Stihl Umkomaas, exchanging Grant van der Walt for his younger brother Brandon.

As is often the case with this tricky race, the crew with the least mistakes took the title, and these two had a flawless run on both days.

From Josephine’s Bridge to Riverside on day one, the pair were pursued throughout by 201 Dusi winner Andrew Birkett and Jason Graham, who finished only 10 seconds behind, and last year’s winners, Jacques Theron and Piers Cruikshanks, another two seconds further back.

An untimely swim for Ant Stott and Deon Bruss put them three-and-a-half minutes off the pace in fourth place, ahead of Dave Hamilton-Brown and Murray Burgess.

On day two, over the difficult Hella-Hella to Josephines Bridge course, McGregor and Van der Walt repeated their clean run, the only boat in the top five to survive the notorious No. 1 Rapid shortly after the start.

Third overall, Hamilton-Brown and Burgess posted the next best time for the day — a bit over three minutes behind — but not enough to catch Birkett and Graham, who hung onto their second place.

This gave Birkett the coveted Daily News Grand Slam Trophy for the best combined time for the Land Rover 50 Miler, the Unlimited Dusi and the Hansa Stihl Umkomaas in the 2010-2011 season.

Shaun Griffin and Mark Mulder also had a great day two, pulling up to fourth place ahead of Theron and Cruikshanks.

After damage to their boat required lengthy repairs, Stott and Bruss were relegated to 29th place overall behind winning K1 Master Rick Whitton.

Whitton was lying second after day one, behind another Master paddler, Hennie Roos, from the Eastern Cape.

Whitton managed a clean run on day two to win by just under two minutes.

Sub-Master Gerhard Nel from Gauteng was third, making it three out of three for the Master Class paddlers in a race where experience is king.

This was borne out by the performance of another crew, Sub-Veterans Graham Monteith and Robbie Hereveld, who finished sixth overall after a gap of 10 years since the pair won the race in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.

Donovan Wewege and Gavin Shuter claimed the junior crown with a comfortable win over Murray Haw and James Speed from Maritzburg College. Michaelhouse crew Mathew Heenan and Andrew Houston came in third place.

Abby Adie and Hillary Pitchford also had a near flawless race to win the women’s title from veterans Antje Manfroni and Anna Clifford-Arwidi. Patricia Stannard, the only single woman entrant, finished third in a plastic boat.


K2 overall

1. Hank McGregor and Brandon van der Walt KIN-UKN 3:47:35, 2. Andrew Birkett and Jason Graham UKN-NGW 3:51:57, 3. Dave Hamilton Brown and Murray Burgess DAB 3:54:33, 4. Sean Griffin and Mark Mulder MID-KIN 3:58:44, 5. Jacques Theron and Piers Cruikshanks(SV) DAB 4:01:52.


1.Donovan Wewege and Gavin Shuter NAT-DAB 4:05:35, 2. Murray Haw and James Speed MAR 4:32:01, 3. Mathew Heenan and Andrew Houston MIC 5:04:40.


1.Hillary Pitchford and Abby Adie NAT 4:15:39, 2. Antje Manfroni and Anna Clifford-Arwidi(V) DAB 5:54:13.

1st K1 Rick Whitton(M) UMZ 4:38:57, women – Patricia Stannard(V) FEZ 7:03:28.

1st Mixed Kirsty Fox and Michael Stewart ERK 4:33:18.

1st U21 Hannes Pienaar WAT 5:34:32

1st V Ken Reynolds and Greg Frizelle KIN 4:28:58

1st SM Rory Attridge and Mark Shuter DAB 4:19:37.

1st M Peter Duncan and Nigel Biggs STE-NAT 4:37:05

1st SGM Rob Davey(WW) KIN 5:15:15

1st GM Charles Mason KIN 6:27:13

1st K3 Jonathan, Shaun and Dave Biggs CAN 4:37:43 – father and two sons.

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