Sunday, 22 January 2012

McGregor wins GT Drak Challenge

Hank McGregor claimed victory this morning for the third time in a row in K1 at the Global Trader Drak Challenge, after a closed win over Len Jenkins, his K2 partner for the Dusi Unlimited 2012. Third position was for the U23 paddler Grant van der Walt after a superb second stage this morning, where he strated fifth and passed over Ant Stott and his brother Brandon to set the best time on Sunday. His brother was fourth and Stott finally arrived sixth after losing a sprint arrival with Greg Louw.

After a first stage on Saturday with a very low level of water, after one week of almost no raining at all, this morning the Umkimzulu River showed a much better view, thanks to the continuous rain since Saturday afternoon and during the whole night.

Already on Saturday's stage, the race seemed to be reserved for two contenders, McGregor and Jenkins, who finished a side-by-side paddle over the 25 km. in 1h39'. The second stage time of this leading couple was beated by Grant van der Walt in one minute, but not enough to catch them and fight for victory.

McGregor, after the compulsory portage at Mineshaft Weir, was able to let Jenkins behind during about half an hour, but Len managed to slowly make that gap smaller and got him, but it was not enough to passi Hank over and had to settle for the second step at the podium.

“It was just superb out there today! It’s always great to win the Drak, especially with it being the first major race of the season so I’m really chuffed with the good start to the year and to have become the first person ever to have won three titles in a row in a K1,” said McGregor.

“Len (Jenkins) and I had a great race and spent a lot of time together on the water. I always thought it would come down to an end sprint so I just tried to keep my nose front as much as I could today and then fortunately I managed to get the jump on him over last bit and get home first which I’m really chuffed about,” he added.

With the duo set to combine in the same boat in less than a month’s time when they look to tackle The Unlimited Dusi together, all bodes well judging by the form both paddlers displayed in Underberg this weekend.

“Len’s (Jenkins) a phenomenal competitor and it was great to be able to battle it out with him for the past two days. It was great to paddle through the valley with some company today and we definitely push each other throughout,” said McGregor.

“We’re both in great shape and this weekend just reinforced how strong our paddling is at the moment and it was a huge confidence for us to have finished first and second. It just shows how similar our standard is and hopefully that can lead to good things at Dusi.”

“I couldn’t have hoped for too much coming into this race. I’ve been doing loads of running recently and Hank (McGregor) just had a really good one today so I’m not too disappointed,” said Jenkins.

“Hank (McGregor) put in a little further down than I did after the portage and he managed to get ahead. I then managed to close the gap and tried to take it away at the end but I was in the wrong position coming into the end sprint,” he added. “We’re both feeling good at the moment though so hopefully now we can just have a good Dusi together,” he added."

In Women K1, Robyn Kime showed her power at this starting 2012 beating by almost 10 minutes her rivals, being second Abby Adie, Jen Hodson in third place and Kime's partner for Dusi, Abbey Ulansky finishing in fourth position.

These are the main results so far, waiting for an overall full list:

1.Hank McGregor 3:56.11
2.Len Jenkins 3:56.22
3.Grant van der Walt (U23) 3:58.21
4.Brandon van der Walt (U23) 3:59.26
5.Greg Louw 4:06.17
6.Ant Stott 4:06.18
7.Shaun Griffin 4:06.27
8.Jacques Theron 4:08.45
9.Jeffrey Smith 4:08.46
10.Andrew Birkett (U23) 4:11.06

U23 Men
1.Grant van der Walt 3:58.21
2.Brandon van der Walt 3:59.26
3.Andrew Birkett 4:11.06

U18 Men
1.Emile Theunissen 4:15.10
2.Murray Starr 4:19.19
3.Murray Haw 4:20.52

1.Robyn Kime (U23) 4:19.05
2.Abby Adie (U23) 4:28.40
3.Jen Hodson 4:30.30
4.Abbey Ulansky 4:36.13
5.Brittany Petersen (U18) 4:41.47

U23 Women
1.Robyn Kime 4:19.05
2.Abby Adie 4:28.40
3.Brittany Petersen (U18) 4:41.47

U18 Women
1.Brittany Petersen 4:41.47
2.Jordan Peek 4:44.29
3.Bianca Haw (U16) 4:49.14

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