U23 champion Evans to team up with Birkett for 2022 Dusi race

Dave Evans .PHOTO: anthony GROTE
Dave Evans .PHOTO: anthony GROTE

Under-23 Dusi Canoe Marathon champion David Evans will team up with 11-time winner Andy Birkett for the 2022 edition of the race next February.

It’s officially a K2 format this time, from Pietermaritzburg to Durban and the competition will take place on February 17 to 19.

Birkett goes into the 2022 race having won the past six K2 races at the Dusi with five different partners — showing his adaptability and skill.

Evans is looking forward to taking on the challenge with “the best in the game” and a fellow Maritzburg College old boy.

“It is an exciting opportunity for me to paddle with one of the best Dusi paddlers ever and I am really looking forward to it,” Evans said.

“Andy has done so well at the Dusi over a long period of time and is the best in the game, so I am looking forward to learning as much as I can from him and I’m excited to get going ...”

Thabani Msia and Msawenkosi Mtolo negotiate Missio
Thabani Msia (front) and Msawenkosi Mtolo negotiate Mission Rapid en route to winning the Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon on Friday.
Paddlers Andrew Birkett and Thulani Mbanjwa.
Andrew Birkett and Thulani Mbanjwa.

Evans explained how the two teamed up.

“We spoke about pairing up after the Dusi this year and we agreed that we were going to paddle together because combinations fill up very quickly ahead of a K2 Dusi.

“We have been in communication but we haven’t paddled together, given that I’m in Stellenbosch and he’s in East London, but I have been working hard.

“I have been training like I would for a K1 Dusi and have made sure that I am in the best shape that I can be in for when we do meet up and get in the boat together,” he added.

Tripping over the river

Evans recently returned to KwaZulu-Natal for the university holidays and the province is set to become their training base in the build-up to the Dusi Marathon.

“I think we will do most of our training here because we can get on the river and do some tripping.

“Tripping is really important because you never know how much the river would have changed over a year, and we will also be able to paddle in some of the pre-Dusi races as well.

“It’s going to be a really exciting Dusi and we will need to be as prepared as we can be with so many strong crews confirmed for the race.

“Msawenkosi [Mtolo] and Banji [Thulani Mbanjwa] will be really strong and have been doing well in the build-up races so far.

“A K2 year is always very competitive and next year is going to be no different,” an excited Evans said.

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