Adventure Sport

Hank headlines Dusi qualifier

2012-01-09 21:41
Hank McGregor (File)
Centurion - With just a month to go to the Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon, world marathon champion Hank McGregor will head up a powerful entry for Gauteng's major Dusi qualifier, the Best 4 Healthcare Rietvlei Rumble, now the regions richest one-day paddling race.

As Dusi fever begins to sweep into every corner of the country, some of the country's best paddlers have entered the Best 4 Healthcare Rietvlei Rumble which will be staged in a unique format that intersperses fast dam racing with some tough portages through the pristine grasslands on the banks of the dam.

For the first time, the much talked about pairing of Hank McGregor and Len Jenkins will be seen in action, combining the current world champion and double Dusi title holder with the enigmatic Jenkins, who still holds two Dusi stage records.

Also on the start line will be fellow team-mates in the new pro outfit Team Best 4 Kayak Centre, Dusi defending champions Andy Birkett and Jason Graham, the livewire Under 23 giant-killers Kwanda Mhlope and Lance Kime and former Under 23 world champ Brandon van der Walt with his partner Clinton Cook, and the local rising star Gavin Shuter with his Gauteng colleague Alex Roberts.

Topping the women's field will be season-pacesetters from Howick, the twins Abby and Alex Adie who are being touted as hot favourites to scoop the Dusi title in February, despite pressure from the recently announced pairing of Robyn Kime and Abbey Ulansky.

The 30km race starts at 7am on Saturday morning and will consist of three fast laps totalling 10km, followed by a 6,3km portage through the Rietvlei reserve on road and mountainbike trails, then two laps covering 6,6km on the dam that leads to the second 3,5km portage that climbs to the top of the nearby hill before returning to Rietvlei dam for the final 3,3km paddle to the finish.

The organisers at Centurion Canoe Club have committed to a cut-off of 130 paddlers, ensuring compliance with the agreement for the use of the ecologically sensitive Rietvlei Reserve area. In addition, participants will be obliged to ensure that there is no waste from discarded drinking bottles and energy gel sachets.

This race is one of three races designed to give Gauteng Dusi hopefuls plenty of opportunity to secure a good seeding for the three day race that starts in Pietermaritzburg on 16 February.

The influx of Dusi stars this week will have added spin-offs for the local Dusi hopefuls, as they will hold a special pre-Dusi seminar and question-and-answer session at the Rietvlei clubhouse after their weekly Thursday time trial, which is open to all registered paddlers. Participation in the time trial requires paddlers to wear lifejackets.

Read more on:    hank mcgregor

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