Paarl - Both defending champions signalled their intentions by winning the
traditional pre-Berg River Canoe Marathon time trial with Hank McGregor and
Bianca Beavitt leading the charge in their respective divisions before the four
day race-proper begins on Wednesday, July 13 from Paarl Canoe Club.
The 3.5km time-trial is set out to front row seeding for the first
stage on Wednesday and whilst local paddlers made up just over half of the top 10 paddlers in the race against the clock on a low Berg River, the four
international paddlers made their presence felt as they snapped up the other
four top 10 spots with Australian Josh Kippin claiming the final podium spot.
“I’ve always had the attitude that you put your head down and give the time
trial a real go, so I’m happy with another time trial win,” Euro Steel/Kayak
Centre’s McGregor said from a warm Paarl on Tuesday.
“It just gives me that little bit of extra confidence that I still have what it
takes to mix it up in the front but tomorrow is a whole new game and I’m just
going to have to keep my wits about me and not make any mistakes.”
The Western Cape’s traditional winter rainfall has brought something of a
reprieve from the tough paddling conditions created by the ongoing drought
plaguing South Africa however McGregor feels that there are a few significant
differences this year from 12 months ago.
“The conditions are a lot better this year than last year that is for sure.
Last year's time trial was pretty much the same distance but felt like it took
“The field is also very different this year with a strong international
contingent coming through and I don’t think there are many marathon races that
boast two current World Marathon champions (McGregor and Hungarian Adrian
Boros) in the K1 and in the K2,” added McGregor.
Although the ladies time trial does not affect their starting position for the
opening day of the race it does give an indication of who the contenders might
be and despite the absence of 2013 champion Jenna Ward from the time trial,
defending champion Bianca Beavitt fired an ominous warning shot to the other
“I have been going a lot harder and a lot faster than I did in previous years
in the build up to the race,” the Century City/Pink Lady star mentioned.
“My times have been a lot better and my time trial time was a lot faster than
last year which is encouraging for me,” Beavitt added.
The ladies time trial podium was rounded out by Mocké Paddling’s Nicole Russell
and Euro Steel/Mocké Paddling’s Under 18 sensation Kyeta Purchase.
Josh Kippin, the current Australian Marathon Champion, was the best placed of
the international contenders at the time trial but despite his strong start he
is slightly apprehensive about his debut outing.
“I’ve heard that the race is long, hard and cold but I am happy with how it
went today but a thirteen minute time trial is no indication of how the next
240km are going to go.
“I am definitely going to have to take it day by day and try and stay with the
front group but I’m not going to overcook myself early trying to stick with the
“To get through this I am going to have to stick to my race plan,” Kippin
Wednesday's first stage of the Berg River Canoe Marathon is a 62km stage from
Paarl to Zonquasdrift. More information can be found
Results: Berg River Canoe Marathon Time Trial
1. Hank McGregor 12.52
2. Simon van Gysen 13.12
3. Josh Kippin (AUS) 13.15
4. Petr Mojzisek (CZE) 13.19
5. Graeme Solomon 13.24
6. Brendan Rice (AUS) 13.27
7. Adrian Boros (HUN) 13.31
8. Edgar Boehm 13.33
9. Louv van Riet 13.39
10. Thomas Lovemore 13.46
1. Bianca Beavitt 14.54
2. Nicole Russell 15.13
3. Kyeta Purchase 15.32