McGregor stakes Dusi claim
Hank McGregor (Photo: John Hishin/Gameplan Media)
Pietermaritzburg - Hank McGregor underpinned the growing belief that he can win the Unlimited Dusi this year by romping to a lopsided victory in the Pope's Canoe Centre Alan Gardiner memorial race from Ibis Point to Dip Tank, covering much of the Dusi second day.
By the time McGregor crossed the line on the calm water of Inanda dam, there was more than a minute to the on-firm Lance Kime, while serious pretenders to the 2013 Dusi title Andy Birkett, Ant Stott, Cam Schoeman, Sbonelo Zondi and Thulani Mbanjwa were nowhere in sight.
"I took my chance just after Bad Rapid, after Andy Birkett had dropped out of the front three after taking a swim at Hippo rapid," said McGregor. "Lance (Kime) was with me and when I put the hammer down he wasn't able to stay with me so I kept up the pace all the way to the finish."
Defending Dusi champ Andy Birkett finished third, fronting home a big group that included Thulani Mbanjwa, former world marathon champ Cam Schoeman and former Dusi winner Jason Graham.
The women's race was won in emphatic style by Abby Adie, strengthening her position as a favourite for the Unlimited Dusi women's title. She won by seven minutes from impressive Epworth schoolgirl Jordan Peek, with Hilary Pitchford in third.
Damon Stamp of Maritzburg College won the under-18 Boys title in a race significant because all of last week's pacesetters in the junior ranks have now graduated into the Under 23 age group
The race, run by Stella Canoe Club, includes key sections of the Dusi including the Gauging weir, Nqumeni Hill portage and Gumtree. Thombi and Hippo rapids. It was raced on a low level uMngeni river in very hot conditions.
Competitors line up for the start of the Unlimited Dusi on February 14 at Camps Drift, and the race ends at Blue Lagoon in Durban on February 16.
Summary of results:Men:
1.Hank McGregor 1:54:14
2.Lance Kime 1:55:31
3.Andy Birkett 1:58:14
4.Cam Schoeman 1:58:18
5.Thulani Mbanjwa 1:58:21
6.Jason Graham 1:58:21
7.Ant Stott 2:01:58
8.Carl Folscher 2:01:59
9.Mmeli Cele 2:03:26
10.Sbonelo Zondi 2:03:35Women:
1.Abby Adie 2:12:19
2.Jordan Peek 2:19:53
3.Hilary Pitchford 2:20:53
4.Alex Adie 2:24:30
5.Bianca Haw 2:29:59