WITH a tough overnight deficit to overturn the pair of Hank McGregor and Lee Furby paddled like men possessed as they stormed to overall victory on the second stage of the Gara Dolphin Coast Challenge from Salt Rock to Zinkwazi on Sunday.
The opening stage took paddlers 42kms from Suncoast Pirates Surf Lifesaving Club to Salt Rock and the mild conditions gave the pair of Matt Bouman and Wade Krieger the edge as they pipped Euro Steel/Epic Kayak’s McGregor and partner Furby to the opening day honours. The Epic Kayak’s pair of Bouman and Krieger were in the pound seats following the opening stanza and went into the second 32km leg of the race with a 40 second advantage over the chasing McGregor and Furby whilst Fenn Kayak's Luke Nisbet and REVO Kayak's/Bay Union's Gene Prato were three minutes back in third.
The opening day of the race was not without drama as the final sprint ended in a win for Bouman and Krieger after a mishap from McGregor and Furby which cost them the stage win.
"That error definitely made us more hungry to win the second stage and I am stoked that myself and Lee were able to put in the performance we did today to claim the Dolphin Coast title.
"Being part of the race from a sponsorship point of view just made it that much better to win - it was a great stage for us to be on and win on."
The race was an exciting one heading into final stage and all the contenders decided to take varying lines in the benign conditions on Sunday with McGregor and Furby's tactics proving to be the difference on the day.
"We decided to not go too deep today and rather remain in the shallower water whilst Matt and Wade went deep which made quite a big difference at the end of the race.
"Steve (Woods) and Bevan (Manson) used a similar tactic to us and they managed to get second on the stage today.
"The conditions were tough today with an off shore wind blowing and I think that the fitter pairs were able to benefit from it," added McGregor.
The 40 second deficit that McGregor and Furby had to overturn on the second day was going to be a tough ask however they made a push heading into the final half of the day and never looked back after that until they were over the line.
"We got to Blythdale and I told Lee that we needed to stretch the guys, and we did that.
"Making up the time was the first goal and then we pushed as hard as we could to Zinkwazi and we are just really happy to have got the win!" a satisfied McGregor commented.
Despite a barnstorming second day, which saw them finish second, the pair of Woods and Manson ended outside the top three with Nisbet and Prato taking the final podium spot.
One of the stand out results was the Carbonology mixed duo of Bailey de Fondaumiere and Hayley Nixon as they ended in tenth place overall while the Fenn Kayak's ladies pair of Nikki Russell and Jenna Ward, the only all-ladies pair in the race, came home in fourteenth place overall.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
1. Hank McGregor/Lee Furby 2:36:52 2:15:12 4:52:04
2. Matt Bouman/Wade Krieger 2:36:12 2:19:15 4:55:27
3. Luke Nisbet/Gene Prato 2:39:47 2:17:25 4:57:12
4. Steve Woods/Bevan Manson 2:44:35 2:16:58 5:01:34
5. Linton Hope/Zoog Heyns 2:48:48 2:28:06 5:16:55
6. Herman Chalupsky/Mark Perrow 2:50:45 2:29:19 5:20:05
7. Brett Hadiaris/Keagan Kruger 2:52:35 2:33:52 5:26:28
8. Michel de Rauville/Jason Ekstrand 2:57:40 2:28:55 5:26:35
9. Quinton Rutherford/Bryan Taylor 2:54:14 2:33:34 5:27:49
10. Bailey de Fondaumiere/Hayley Nixon (Mixed) 2:55:13 2:33:19 5:28:32
1. Nikki Russell/Jenna Ward 3:07:11 2:36:37 5:43:48