The Dabs Eurosteel Liebensbergvlei race was absolutely awesome fun and excellent Fish training for good mileage and some exhilirating wave trains which were icy cold as the water is pumped from the Highlands Lesotho Ash Water Project to the Vaal dam……


Views of wild life while on the roads between Tweeling and Reitz or on the river, included Emu, deer, silver backed fox, meerkat, Eagle, Lilac breasted rollers, and what may be the Free State version of a Rabbit foot, or could it be a Cloven Hoof?  Whatever….we got a photo of that one so you can decide!

We also had to take care not to run over sheep, cows and a pig in the little town of Tweeling!


Paddlers enjoyed the hospitality of Zorgvliet  – Oom Pietse Plaas, Poelanie’s Guest house and other B & B’s, as well as the local drivers from the Municipality and Water works crews,  as well as a SKIP SKOP at the local B & B with live band and music making it a truly awesome fun weekend away!


Eurosteel as well as Gara Paddles were on board for prizes / sponsorship highly appreciated and we welcomed a few celebrity paddlers who honoured our Gauteng race with their participation including Bridgitte Hartley 2012 and 2016 Olympic participant and bronze medallist, as well as Cyprian Ngidi 2008 Slalom Olympic participant,  from Bethlehem!


While a few paddlers only raced Day 1, others only Day 2 the majority  of more than 100 boats enjoyed the +- 64 km training opportunity in perfect weather conditions compared to previous years in the Free State.


Always a pleasure to have brave ladies on the rivers in Gauteng, our guest of honour Bridgitte Hartley (NAT)  crossed the finish lines in a combined time over the two days, of 4 hours 19 minutes,  with Under 23 Holly Spencer (DABS) finishing in 4 hours 51 minutes as 2nd K1 lady, and Sneziwe Gxobole also Under 23 Scarc paddler, finished 3rd in 5 hours 25 minutes.   Sylvia Nel was the 4th lady finisher (LIK) in 5 hours 32 minutes, in the Master age category,  and Under 14 Scarc girl Ayanda Chwai finished in a time of 5 hours 44 minutes.   Under 23 Daleen Prinsloo from North West University in Potchefstroom enjoyed her race and finished as the 6th lady paddler in 6 hours 2 minutes.


Siseko Ntondini (SCARC) once again proved his exceptionally good paddling ability winning the race and as first Under 23 in a time over two days of 3 hours 59 minutes and 17 seconds, while Thulani Mbanjwa (LEM) conceded defeat to the younger stronger paddler by only split seconds on both days.  Famed as the first black paddler to cross the finish line of the Dusi River Race in the winning boat kick starting our transformation and integration programs which rocketed off resulting in overwhelming excellent race results from the programs at all races with this one being no exception.


Zonele Nzuza (SCARC) was the third place finisher in 3 hours 59 and 55 seconds,  while the first Under 18 in 4 hours 2 minutes was Mpilo Zondi (LEM).


Keith Flemmer and Kelvin Byres (DABS) were the first double finishers, and Top Veterans of the day finishing in a time of 4 hours 4 minutes,  although Gordon Malcom (DABS) was the K1 Veteran winner, in a time of 5 hours 15 minutes.


The first K3 was also the first Sub Master boat across the finish line over both days, and also first Mixed boat with Antje Manfroni, Anna Clifford Arwidi and Nigel Harvey (DABS) in 4 hours 13 minutes, while the K1 winner of the Sub Master age category in this K1 race, was Michael Stewart (ERK) in a time of 4 hours 13 minutes over the two days.  The Sub Veteran first boat to finish was also a K2 with Phil de Graaf and Joe Penn, (DABS) in 4 hours 13 minutes, although Mark Garden (DABS) was the K1 winner of that age category in a time of 4 hours 27 minutes.


The first K2 Mixed Double boat included Paolo Magni and Lisa Currell (DABS) in 4 hours 17 minutes.


Sibusiso Chwayi was the Under 16 winner of the two day race (SCARC) in 4 hours 13 minutes,  and while Bryan Slater and Graham Neate (DABS) were the first finishing Masters in 4 hours 18 minutes, the K1 Master champion of the race was John Barrow (DABS) in 4 hours 32 minutes.


The Sub Grand Master first finishers were K2 Joe Torlage with Tony Purchase (DABS) in 4 hours 24, minutes, while the K1 winner of the age category was Gerhard Steyn (LOW) in 4 hours 26 minutes.


Jaydon Hunt was the Under 14 age category winner of the race in 4 hours 55 minutes and from youngest to one of the oldest paddlers in the race, Gavin Taylor finished as Grand master top finisher (DABS) in a time of 5 hours 25 minutes.


The river is extremely enjoyable with fast flowing water, immense rolling wave trains and beautiful scenery – well worth the 2.5 / 3 hour drive to enjoy it, with a fun filled enjoyable weekend away from the city rush!


Thanks to the organisers for a superb race, as well as the sponsors, and those who travelled from Natal / Cape / Bethlehem, Mpumalanga to enjoy it.


Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

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