On the second stage of Dusi Unlimited Canoe Marathon, raced today from Dusi Bridge to Inanda Dam, leaders Andrew Birkett and Jason Graham gave an important step forward to the final victory, arriving at today's finish line completely alone and making bigger the gap with their prosecutors.
On a cloudy and humid day, but no so hot as yesterday, the start was highly intense. Birkett/Graham and Mbanjwa/Zondi started with a 3 seconds difference, while McGregor/Jenkins were on the hunt a minute and a half behind. This last couple took a very strong pace trying to close the gap with the leaders as soon as possible, but Birkett/Graham showed today their determination and didn't give a break, until being succesful at leaving Mbanjwa/Zondi behind, who saw how McGregor/Jenkins approached, but still with a minute and a half gap with the leaders.Finally, they were fighting neck to neck in the second group, but drama visited Mbanjwa/Zondi's at Gauging Weir, where they had a swim and lost about two minutes. Water level was quite high today and carrying out the kayak to the side bank was not an easy task.
Around 4 minutes behind the top three, Lance Kime and Kwanda Mhlope started their comeback and managed to get and leave behind another strong couple, Turton/Mocke. However, Jasper still keeps highly competitive in his first time Dusi ever. Kime/Mhlope, first U23 couple, where solid in their paddle down the river, starting to be a true menace for their rivals. Meanwhile, at the Uqmeni Hill portage, Mbanjwa/Zondi took advantage of their athletic abilities to close the gap with McGregor/Jenkins, but getting back again into the water they paid the effort by losing contact and being caught by the impressive Kime/Mhlope.
Facing the flatwater of Inanda Dam, Birkett/Graham managed to keep the distance with McGregor/Jenkins around 4 minutes. This last section of the stage was supposed to be more favorable for McGregor/Jenkins, but finally the leaders got a 3'55" gap at the finish line, showing their strength and stopping the clock in an outstanding time of 2h50'49". In the final sprint for the third position, Kime/Mhlope signed a dream performance beating Mbanjwa/Zondi and leave in their own hands getting into the podium tomorrow at Blue Lagoon. More than five minutes behind started to drop into the finish the rest of the top ten couples, being the order as follows: Turton/Mocke(5), Rubenstein/Farrell (6), who suffered a bent rudder, Biggs/Biggs (7), after a great paddle after their not so good day 1, Cruickshanks/Stewart (8), Mthalane/Cele (9) and Mulder/Chaplin (10). In twelveth position overall arrived the first juniors, Murray Haw and James Speed, who almost guaranteed, unless breakdown, the final victory, because of a difficult day of swims and material problems for their prosecutors Starr/Wewege, losing 15 minutes and risking a second place that will need to defend tomorrow.
About the ladies race, new strong performance by Kime/Ulansky, although Adie sisters didn't loose that much today, after their physical breakdown of day 1. Anyway, the difference in the overall standings, over 16 minutes, point to an easy win by the defending champions.
Results after Day 2:
Day 2 (stage time, general time)
1.Andy Birkett/Jason Graham 2:50.49 5:27.45
2.Hank McGregor/Len Jenkins 2:53.27 5:31.55
3.Lance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope (U23) 2:54.31 5:37.58
4.Thulani Mbanjwa/Sbonelo Zondi 3:01.01 5:38.01
5.Craig Turton/Jasper Mocke 3:02.07 5:43.24
6.Shaun Rubenstein/Steve Farrell 3:00.41 5:45.15
7.Shaun Biggs/Ben Biggs 3:00.17 5:51.32
8.Piers Crucikshanks/Mike Stewart 3:04.31 5:51.33
9.Lucas Mthalane/Mmeli Cele 3:07.30 5:55.27
10.Mark Mulder/Dave Chaplin 3:02.23 5:55.55
1.Robyn Kime/Abbey Ulansky 3:09.24 6:08.57
2.Abby Adie/Alex Adie (U23) 3:14.52 6:25.36
3.Debbie Germiquet/Carmen Blakeney 3:27.48 6:50.19
4.Bianca Haw/Jordan Peek (U18) 3:31.58 6:57.56
5.Tamika Haw/Jen Hodson 3:34.56 7:07.27
1.Lance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope 2:54.31 5:37.58
2.Brandon van der Walt/Clint Cook 3:02.48 6:05.47
3.Skhumbuso Ngidi/Nkosi Cele 3:08.39 6:08.26
1.Abby Adie/Alex Adie (U23) 3:14.52 6:25.36
2.Bianca Haw/Jordan Peek (U18) 3:31.58 6:57.56
3.Brittany Petersen/Kerry Shuter (U18) 3:44.08 7:17.54
1.Murray Haw/James Speed 3:03.37 5:58.46
2.Donavan Wewege/Murray Starr 3:18.28 6:29.46
3.Banesti Nkhoesa/Sizwe Mhulo 3:17.11 6:30.56
1.Bianca Haw/Jordan Peek (U18) 3:31.58 6:57.56
2.Brittany Petersen/Kerry Shuter (U18) 3:44.08 7:17.54