Birkett Solms cruise to gruelling FNB Dusi titles

2017-03-07 06:00
Euro Steel's Andy Birkett eased to his seventh title on what was one of the most challenging final stages in the recent history of the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon. Photo: Gameplan Media

Euro Steel's Andy Birkett eased to his seventh title on what was one of the most challenging final stages in the recent history of the FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon. Photo: Gameplan Media

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THREE flawless days from Andy Birkett and Abby Solms in the toughest conditions in over a decade saw the pair march convincingly to their respective men’s and women’s titles at the 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon finishing at Blue Lagoon recently.

Andy Birkett’s three day performance was one of class and experience as he didn’t put a foot wrong on his 120km trip to the sea. Birkett has now tied with the ‘Dusi Duke’ Martin Dreyer with seven Dusi victories with Birkett finishing first in four consecutive races from 2014 to 2017.

“I am not surprised we didn’t have a water release on day three with the drought that we are experiencing but this stage today was definitely the toughest stage of Dusi racing I have experienced,” Birkett said.

“It was a tough day and everyone really deserves their medals!”

“This year’s win has been quite special with the conditions and I can really appreciate sitting back and putting my feet up for a bit – maybe a bit of kite surfing!”

Solm’s performance was unrivalled as she led the ladies race from the first portage on the opening day to the finish at the mouth to the Indian Ocean. It was a sublime way for the 27 year-old to wrap up her first FNB Dusi title.

“I think I feel more relief than anything at the moment!” Solms mentioned with a smile.

“It was such a tough race, we had all the elements against us throughout but I came into the race wanting to win and I managed to achieve exactly what I wanted!”

With 120km to navigate from start to finish the margins for error become smaller and smaller as the race progresses and despite a slight mishap on the second stage of the race Solms believes she was as close to her best as she could get.

“You are never going to have a flawless race but I was happy that I managed to put three really good days of paddling.

“I have put so much into this so it is satisfying to get a good result,” a chuffed Solms added.

More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za -Supplied

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