Friday 2 March 2012

Andrew Birkett smashes the Non-stop Dusi

Photo: Ray de Vries
He's in the way to become one of the biggests at only 21 years old. Andrew Birkett has added today to his impressive curriculum the Non-stop Dusi after an amazing performance along the 118 km. between Pietermartizburg and Durban, paddled today in just one single stage with such simple rules as there are only three control points, the rest of the course is free and everyone can plan his own route, either paddliong, either running the portages. At the control points, the organization also makes time cuts, to let continue only those who are not losing too much time with the leader, something which is also looking for the security of those who couldn't be surveilled properly if they stay "lost" on the course.

Facing down the valley after an early start at dawn from the Natal Canoe Club at Pietermaritzburg, three boats made a full Team Best 4 Kayak Centre leading bunch: Lance Kime/Kwanda Mhlope, Michael Mbanjwa/Sibonelo Zondi and the K1 of Andy Birkett, while Craig Turton/Jasper Mocke and Trautman brothers were left behind in a second group. The second K1, that one of the 2011 winner Mark Mulder, couldn't keep the pace of the top five.

Mbanjwa y Zondi suffered a break in their kayak that needed to repair quickly in one of the portages, but made them fall down to fourth place after a hard fight to keep it from the strong Trautman Bros. On the lead, Birkett managed to take a 45 secs. advantage at Kime /Mhlope at the entry to Inanda Dam, gap that made gorw up to three minutes at the dam wall after an amazing paddle on the flatwater. From that point it was a solo paddle down to Blue Lagoon in Durban, where he signed a dream victory stopping the clock in 8h11', 11 minutes ahead over Kime/Mhlope, first K2 and another young couple with a brilliant future.

Birkett adds in this way the Non-stop Dusi in his first appearance after winning the Unlimited Dusi for the last three years in a row. He is also the second K1 claiming an absolute victory  in this competition, after Hank McGregor in 2006.

You can check the full results here.

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