Zondi-Birkett: new Dusi dream team

2013-12-02 00:00

ANDY Birkett and Sbonelo Zondi fired a shot across the bows of serious Dusi title hopefuls yesterday with an emphatic victory in the 50 Miler Canoe Marathon, which covers two-thirds of the Dusi course, but with a strong emphasis on paddling instead of portaging.

The combination, first cobbled together for their victory in last year’s Non-Stop Dusi, are being widely billed as a Dusi Dream Team, but they had not showed all their cards in the current season until this weekend’s victory over a very strong Dusi field.

They took full advantage of a flurry of mishaps to befall the fancied crew of Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocké to post a three-minute victory over former world champion Cam Schoeman and his Czech Republic partner Jakub Adam, with 2013 K1 Dusi champ Lance Kime and Thulani Mbanjwa sealing the last spot on the podium.

“It was such a great race for us in terms of learning and building the partnership,” said Birkett. “On day one we were not that great in the river, but we got better and better, and on the final stage we were really much better in the boat. That really is what building a partnership is all about.

“Eric [Sbonelo Zondi] has a great sense of humour and we laugh and chirp each other a lot during the race, which I love,” he added.

The pair started the final day with a short lead over a chasing duo of McGregor and Mocké, and Kime and Mbanjwa, and managed to hold onto that lead on the technically demanding section of the uMngeni river below Inanda Dam, which was running at an exciting but unforgiving 22 cumecs level.

For chasers McGregor and Mocké, their race ended in Island One rapid where they wrapped their boat after a nightmarish turn of events.

“My splashcover popped from the pressure of the water,” McGregor described.

“The nose didn’t come up and it started filling with water fast. We tried to roll it over, but the boat got sucked under and wrapped around a big brick of a rock.

“Thank goodness neither myself nor Jasper got hurt. It took 25 minutes for us to get the boat off the rock, but it was wrecked.”

The thrilling women’s race was won by Abby Adie and Anna Adamová over the gutsy Hillary Bruss and Alex Adie, with the impressive juniors Jenna Ward and Kerry Segal in third. Adie and Adamová finished an impressive 16th overall.




1. Andy Birkett/Sbonelo Zondi 4:06:34

2. Cam Schoeman/Jakub Adam 4:10:20

3. Lance Kime/Thulani Mbanjwa 4:11:03

4. David Chaplin/Mark Mulder 4:20:15

5. Jacques Theron/Shaun Griffin 4:22:31

6. Siseko Ntondini/Thando Ngamlana 4:22:32

7. Murray Starr/Gavin Shuter 4:26:44

8. Ben Biggs/Karl Folscher 4:26:47

9. Josh Kippen/Andrew Adie 4:30:49

10. Kwanda Mhlope/Zonele Nzuza 4:32:55


1. Abby Adie/Anna Adamová 4:40:12

2. Hillary Bruss/Alex Adie 4:47:35

3. Jenna/Ward/Kerry Segal 5:02:38

4. Debbie Germiquet/Carmen Donald 5:03;19

5. Jordan Peek/Brittany Petersen 5:05:45

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