Bridgetown – The second stage of the 2016 Berg River Canoe Marathon might be
one of the shortest but it dished up its fair share of drama throughout with
overnight leaders Hank McGregor and Bianca Beavitt consolidating their
respective advantages despite both coming unstuck at stages during the 46
kilometres on Friday.
McGregor’s major competition, Simon van Gysen and Adrian Boros, needed to make
up some significant time on the second stage in order to put the 10-time
champion under pressure however McGregor received a nasty gash on his forehead
after he connected with a tree branch which threatened to derail his pursuit
for an unprecedented eleventh title.
“That’s the Berg for you,” a diplomatic McGregor said. “I just didn’t duck and
the tree got the better of me and I looked down and I could just see blood on
my juice bottle so I knew it was going to hurt!
“A couple minutes later I could feel it throbbing and I drank blood for a while
but I had to remember that I was still in a race and focus on what is in front
of me and catch up to Simon (van Gysen) who had got away from me.”
Despite the drama of his head injury McGregor showed his class to claim another
stage win and extend his overall lead following a concerted effort to drop
international star and overall title threat Adrian Boros through the stage.
“Adrian tried his hardest to bridge the gap to myself and Simon on the front of
the group but I managed to keep the pace on a stretch him but after I took the
shot to the head Adrian was right behind us but I think he got caught up in the
trees as well.
“I knew in the last few kilometres that I had to put the hammer down and I got
a bit of a gap and I am happy with the result and another stage win,” the Euro
Steel/Kayak Centre star added.
Van Gysen and McGregor spent the majority of the second stage together as they
worked to keep the chasers at bay however the final few kilometres into the
finish proved to be the difference between the two.
“I just didn’t have anything left coming into the finish and Hank really made
it count. I was expecting it because I knew he was going to make a break
towards the end because it was flat and I have seen it before but I couldn’t
keep up,” van Gysen explained.
Hungarian ace Boros got a real taste of Western Cape paddling on Thursday when
he was left frustrated after making some critical errors that upended his
charge for a top two finish in Velddrif.
“There were about three or four occasions where I went the wrong way down a
channel and had to turn back which cost me a lot of time.
“With about three kilometres to go my rudder was stuck out of the water and I
could not shake it down which made the final stretch into the finish really
difficult,” Boros explained.
Defending ladies champion Bianca Beavitt continued to drill holes into the
chasing ladies’ charge as she continued her good form with another impressive
all-round performance that saw her extend her overall lead to 24 minutes and 15
seconds over 2013 champion Jenna Ward.
“I think I made just as many mistakes today as I did yesterday to be honest!”
Beavitt said after her stage victory.
“I was by myself for a lot of the day and was about 20 metres behind a group and
just in front of another group a lot and I got rubbed off one group but I
enjoyed the day and am happy with the lead that I have going into such a tough
Mac Squad’s Jenna Ward was in good form during the second stage of the race as
she raced back into the podium mix with a solid solo paddle on Thursday which
took her from fourth to second in the ladies race.
“I’m feeling really good and I had a great day on the river today. I most of
the day by myself but I enjoy that, it means that I can go at my own pace and
concentrate on my race without any distractions.
“Tomorrow is going to be really tough but I am looking forward to what it has
in store,” Ward said.
Third place in the women's race was snapped up by Nicole Russell who shrugged
off a few unfortunate swims during the second stage to finish alongside the
young Kyeta Purchase who drops off the podium into fourth place.
Friday's third stage of the Berg River Canoe Marathon is the longest with 75km from Bridgetown to Zoutkloof.
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – 2016 BERG RIVER CANOE MARATHON
DAY TWO (ZONQUASDRIFT - BRIDGETOWN)
1.Hank McGregor 3:26.16 7:55.16
2.Simon van Gysen 3:27.11 7:56.33
3.Adrian Boros (HUN) 3:42.21 8:12.02
4.Graeme Solomon 3:32.16 8:12.38
5.Brendon Rice (AUS) 3:39.58 8:13.02
6.Josh Kippin (AUS) 3:29.20 8:13.05
7.Stu Maclaren 3:35.39 8:16.39
8.Edgar Boehm Jnr. 3:37.40 8:19.49
9.Louw van Riet 3:42.37 8:27.19
10.Petr Mojžíšek (CZE) 3:42.20 8:27.20
11.Gavin White 3:45.34 8:39.46
12.Tyron Maher (U23) 3:45.14 8:39.48
13.Thomas Lovemore (U23) 3:45.35 8:41.45
14.Hamish Lovemore (U18) 3:45.33 8:41.49
15.Paul Marais 3:43.41 8:41.53
16.Jermaine Pietersen 3:54.06 8:51.50
17.Emanuel Zaloumis (U18) 3:56.39 8:53.23
18.Anders Hart (U23) 3:52.48 9:06.38
19.Banetse Nkhoesa (U23) 3:54.52 9:08.15
20.Bianca Beavitt 3:54.52 9:08.43
1.Bianca Beavitt 3:54.52 9:08.43
2.Jenna Ward (U23) 4:05.57 9:32.58
3.Nicole Russell 4:23.30 9:40.48
4.Kyeta Purchase (U18) 4:23.32 9:50.33
1.Tyron Maher 3:45.14 8:39.48
2.Thomas Lovemore 3:45.35 8:41.45
3.Anders Hart 3:52.48 9:06.38
1.Jenna Ward 4:05.57 9:32.58
1.Hamish Lovemore 3:45.33 8:41.49
2.Emanuel Zaloumis 3:56.39 8:53.23
1.Kyeta Purchase 4:23.32 9:50.33