Underberg - Former Under-23 world champ Grant van der Walt is targeting the Global Trader Drak Challenge next weekend as the ideal opportunity to stamp his authority on singles racing, and feels he has what it takes to stop double defending champion Hank McGregor over the tricky two days and 70km of the race.Having enjoyed great success in a K2 last year with fellow Team Best 4 Kayak Centre team-mate McGregor, Van der Walt believes he now has both the ability and is ready to take on the county’s top paddlers and start adding major K1 titles to his slew of doubles victories.“Obviously Hank (McGregor) and I combined really well last year and it was really awesome to win some big races with him but I would also like to start being a bit more competitive in a K1 this year and I would love to claim my first major domestic K1 river title,” said van der Walt.“I grew up doing river racing and the Drak has always been a very special race for me. I’ve had a few thirds there and the last Drak I did I came second so I would really like to try go one better this year.”“I’ve always absolutely loved the Drak and it would be such a cherry on the top for me if I could win my first K1 title up there,” he added.After enjoying a few weeks off in Mozambique just before Christmas and having missed last year’s race due sprint commitments, Van der Walt is well rested and looking forward to giving his race of choice his all next weekend.“There isn’t any running at all which is obviously a huge plus for me but in my eyes it is just the best paddling race in the country. The rapids are great fun, the water is so clean and paddling in the mountains is spectacular!” said van der Walt“The Drak is my favourite paddling venue in the entire world and a race I look forward to every year. I was extremely disappointed I couldn’t take part in it last year but I will most certainly be there this time round and giving it everything I have.” he added.With a star studded line-up on the cards this year victory certainly won’t come easy for Van der Walt, however, the rest of the field would be well advised to keep a beady eye on this paddling talent as he seeks to claim that elusive first K1 title.His silver medal in 2010 came off the back of a brilliant second stage where his solo charge from behind the leaders saw him post the fastest time of the final day.“You never know what could happen on the day but I definitely feel I have the speed, I have the endurance and I know I can do it,” said van der Walt.“Now it’s all about making sure I’m right ready for the race and then being prepared to do whatever it takes, even try out sprint the rest of the guys if it comes down to that, to try claim the win,” he added.The Global Trader Drak Challenge takes place in Underberg on 21 and 22 January 2012. More info can be found at www.drak.co.za.