A cold front swept through Gauteng on Friday night rattling the eaves and patio doors and Gautengers woke to an overcast windy cold day for the Gerhard Nel Memorial Race from Klip to Vaal River which inevitably has some wind in one’s face!


Only 21 boats finished the race, being  8 K1’s and 12 K2’s plus some marshalls / sweeps.


The participants gathered at the entrance to the Danie Maclean Park where the 26 km race started above the Caravan park rapid although a few opted to stay dry and ran past the weir to put in below – perhaps the wiser….


Although the race was planned as a Berg training race offering opportunity for good hard work and mileage on mostly flat water for Marathon trainees, it was a small motley crew of paddlers who took on the race, with few serious marathon training paddlers participating.


Watuni Canoe Club hosted the event, and the top finishers were SCARC paddlers – Siyabonga Tyiki and Thando Ngamlana in 1st, Under 23 in 1:59,  Zanenhlanhla Mbala with Wongama Makhasi in 2nd, Under 16 in 2:03,  Phineas Zulu in 3rd as first K1, and top Senior age category in 2:04,  with Sibusiso Chwayi 4th, as first Under 18 in 2:04.


Tommy Booth (ERK) was first Sub Veteran finisher in 2:04 as the 3rd K1 finisher, while the first Mixed Double, and 1st Veterans were Kobus and Caroline Filmalter (WAT) in 2:06.  Frank Dabrowski was the Great Grand Master finisher, 5th K1, in 2:19 and the only K3 finishers in 2 hours 22 minutes, consisted of Chad Andrews, Matthew Cruickshank and Gordon Malcolm.


JP Pienaar partnered with Sylvia Nel – the race was named after her husband who was a keen canoeist – and as the first Master team the Likkewaan pair finished in 2 hours 26, followed by the Dabs Sub Grand Master Carel Van Biljon in 2 :27, and the Grand Master winners who were JCC/ERK Keith Beeston and John Rowan, finishing in 2 hours 33.


Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

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