Pietermaritzburg - The past weekend was an important one for the country’s canoeing fraternity
as 2016 Dusi Canoe Marathon fever continues to intensify, leading to many
paddlers taking to Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal’s waters in the Euro Steel
Highveld Croc and Hi-Q Challenge respectively, two vital Dusi seeding races.
Many of 2016’s Dusi top contenders made the trip up to Johannesburg to take
part in the Highveld Croc and it was the experienced duo of Hank McGregor and
Jasper Mocké who overcame a day one deficit to win the overall race on Sunday.
Despite having a number of top crews to contend with, including Dusi favourites
and Euro Steel team-mates Andy Birkett and Lance Kime, the Euro Steel pair of
McGregor and Mocké dug deep on day two to secure a confidence-boosting
“We can look at the result from many different angles,” McGregor said.
isn’t on the Dusi route but, with that said, it is a Dusi-type race considering
the technicality of the river as well as the portages so it does give us a lot
of confidence going forward.”
In their first competitive Dusi together in 2014 the pair managed a second
place behind the runaway winners Birkett and Sbonelo Khwela however learning
from that race and growing their all-round repertoire has been the focus for
McGregor ahead of the 2016 edition.
“Although we have been partners during the flat-water marathon season, this
will only be our second shot at Dusi together.
“I think we managed to learn a lot from our 2014 race though and we know where
we have had to improve this time around.
“Our running is a lot stronger than it was in 2014 - one area that we knew we
had to improve on if we were going to challenge for the overall title this
“Having a strong Highveld Croc against some really good crews was a good sign
that our running has improved,” added the marathon superstar.
As El Nino grips the country and the atmospheric conditions suggest that
paddlers will be in for an ‘old-style’ Dusi, McGregor sees this an opportunity
for himself and Mocké to play to their strengths on the water.
“Personally I think that we will benefit from a low Dusi as flowing water gives
the runners a chance to get away if they manage to run away from us.
“There will be very little assistance from the river which could suit us.
“The paddling sections could be flat which gives strong paddlers the chance to
make up some time and catch guys that might get away on the portages.
“Dusi won’t be offering any free rides for paddlers, which could play into our
hands,” a cautious McGregor explained.
Being able to put together three full days of consistent, mistake-free paddling
will be the key going into Dusi however the current focus for McGregor and
Mocké is on remaining healthy up until the February 18 start.
“It is important that we stay injury free and avoid sickness in these crucial
weeks as we start getting closer to the race.
“We haven’t decided about our remaining pre-races, we’re just taking it a day
at a time,” he stated.
The Hi-Q Challenge was the weekend’s headline race in KwaZulu-Natal and despite
his previous outings with his 2014 Under-18 winning partner Mthobisi Cele,
Damon Stamp sewed up a sprint finish win with sprint star Louis Hattingh at
Albert Falls Dam.
The Under-23 pair had to fight off a spirited effort from brothers, and
potential Dusi top five candidates, Andrew and Alan Houston (USN) with the
experienced Jason Graham and Czech Republic paddling star Jakub Adam rounding
out the podium.
The ladies race was won by Abby Solms and Tamika Haw - both of whom eagerly
await the arrival of their respective Dusi partners; Anna Kosíková from Czech
Republic and Alex Adie from Cape Town - with the exciting duo of Jenna Ward and
Hungarian ace and Under-23 World Marathon champion Vanda Kiszli finishing second in
their first competitive river race as a combination.
The Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg to Blue
Lagoon, Durban from February 18-20, 2016.
More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za