Friday 23 March 2012

Umkomaas River Marathon results

Jennie Dallas - ©
The couple of the Team Best 4 Kayak Centre Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt were the winners last weekend at the Umkomaas River Marathon, in South Africa. They dominated the race from start to end, despite a paddle broken by van der Walt on day 1. Nevertheless, all the rest contestants suffered the tough conditions in this river, although this year it was competed in low water and the rapids were not so scary as they use to be... but still not easy to shoot, as stones substituted the big waves as the main obstacles in the paddlers way.

On day 1, the young Gavin Shuter and his partner for this race, the czech Jakub Adam, managed to arrive in second place only two minutes behind the leaders, after a superb descent. In the fight for the third place, Brandon van der Walt and the surfski specialist Matthew Bouman managed to leave off the podium the Dusi winners, Andrew Birkett and Jason Graham.

But the day everybody waits for at the Umko is day 2, with the worlwide famous rapid #1, which gives the kick off to a tough section of river linking numbered rapids down to #8.  McGregor and van der Walt didn't give a chance to their rivals, but Shuter and Adam suffered the strong push of their prosecutors and couldn't avoid Birkett and Graham to surpass them and claim second place. Behind, a meteoric K2 by Shaun Bigss and Ant Stott (happily recovered for top competition after his Achilles injury) set the best time of day 2 and managed to get the third position overall, which left Shuter and Adam out of the final podium.

Concerning the ladies, Abby Adie and Bianca Haw got the title ahead by two minutes of Hilary Pitchford and Jenna Venter, second, meanwhile the third position went to Debbie Germiquet and Carmen Blakeney.

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