Monday, 17 September 2012

Graeme Solomon and Sean Rice, new South African K2 River champions thanks to their victory at the Breede Marathon

Solomon and Rice negotiating one of the rapids at the Breede
Graeme Solomon and Sean Rice are the new South African K2 River Champions after their win last week at the Breede River Marathon.

Solomon, one of the South African river classics, joined this year with surfski specialist Sean Rice to try for a win at this competition (75 km. in two days)that last year, paddling with Ant Stott, faded away after a bad choice taking a slower path during the race.

From the first stage, three couples showed their strength and made a leading group that set the pace for almost the whole course: Solomon/Rice, former World Champions Stott/Schoeman and Schloms/White. But Heinrich Schloms and Gavin White had some trouble on Day 2 when Schloms arrived to compulsory portage at Drew Bridge with a dead leg due to a ciatic nerve problem.

That made them lose about 300 metres with the front duo and had to fight back for about have an hour to be reintegrated in the group. But their boost was oof for the final sprint, where Solomon and Rice pushed very hard for the last kilometre and Stott and Schoeman couldn’t manage to go ahead, getting finally second position.

Solomon could then breathe after last year’s disappointment and claim a third victory at Breede, after doing it for the first time in 1997 with Paul Marais.

Referring to Women’s competition, the fight was meant to be at first between two strong crews: Robyn Kime/Michele Eray and Nikki Mocke/Jen Theron (née Hodson), former Olympians at Beijing 2008, as she is Michele Eray. But a sudden chest infection just two days before made Eray refuse to compete and Kime had to look for a last muinute partner, that she found on Eloyse Horn (née van Gysen).

At Day 1, under Jonkeer low bridge, Kime and Horn capsized and had to fight back against the river to get again into the kayak. They had then to make an extra effort to come back to Mocke and Theron, something they couldn’t do before the end of the stage and the Beijing Olympians crew took the partial victory.

On Day 2, at Drew Bridge portage, Kime and Horn managed finally to close the gap and both K2s faced the last part of the race in a bunch of six kayaks. Finally, Mocke and Theron, after much suffering to keep on the wash, lost contact with the group, while Kime and Horn resisted and went straight for gold at this SA K2 River Championship.

MAIN RESULTS (you can check the full results at this link)

1 Graeme Solomon/Sean Rice 4:02:04
2 Ant Stott/Cam Schoeman 4:02:05
3 Gavin White/Heinrich Schloms 4:02:19
4 Greg Louw/Ryan Louw 4:05:17
5 Simon van Geysen/Jayden Alford-Loots 4:05:18
6 Ernest van Riet/Edgar Boehm Jnr 4:05:19
7 Jacques Theron/Piers Cruickshanks 4:07:40
8 Andrew Birkett/Dewald Hattingh 4:07:41
9 Joseph Williams/Ivan Kruger 4:07:54
10 Pierre-Andre Rabié/Ben Biggs 4:10:13

1 Robyn Kime/Eloise Horn 4:28:06
2 Jen Theron/Nikki Mocke 4:32:12
3 Kim van Geysen/Jenna Ward 4:36:42

Men U23
1 Andy Birkett/Dewald Hattingh 4:07:41
2. Joseph Williams/Ivan Kruger 4:07:54
3 Pierre-Andre Rabié/Ben Biggs 4:10:13

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