Johannesburg - Triple world champion Hank McGregor has his sights set on winning the Fish River Canoe Marathon K1 title on October 10 and 11.
The title has somehow eluded the most successful river paddler South Africa has ever produced.
McGregor will first have to fly to Oklahoma City for the defence of his K1 World crown before returning home to prepare for the Fish two weeks later.
"I am super excited for the Fish this year. This K1 title has been in the back of my mind for a while now," McGregor said.
"I have arranged a really competitive boat for the race, so this might be my year."
"You know what you are going to get at Marathon Worlds. Its like a bunch of gladiators being thrown into a pit together. But at the Fish, you never know what is going to happen which makes it really exciting."
McGregor has won five back-to-back Fish K2 titles - one with Len Jenkins and four with fellow K2 defending champion Grant van der Walt - but has yet to have his name engraved on the K1 trophy.
Two years ago McGregor was locked in a ferocious tussle with Jenkins and looked to be in a position to finally end his string of second places in the K1 race.
The pair shot through the daunting Cradock Weir dangerously side-by-side and Jenkins managed to get a slim lead to race away to claim the title.
"That was my best chance ever to win the K1 Fish, and it turned out to be my closest loss," McGregor said.
"I felt that I had it in the bag but a lapse in concentration cost me big time.
"It doesn't matter if the Hansa Fish is hosting SA River Champs or not, it is still the title that every paddler wants to win.
"I have been second in the K1 Fish too many times for my liking."
He will start as the hot favourite to end that run of bridesmaid placings in the K1 race, particularly as defending K1 champion Jenkins has taken time off from paddling and is unlikely to be a factor in the title race this year.
"I would prefer it if Len was there and in good shape, because you want to win the Fish against a field of all the best guys in the country," he said.
McGregor will spearhead the South African challenge at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in the United States on September 27 and 28.