FLCC Final River Race of 2015 in Gauteng – Race Report – a Dusi Training race – 29 November 2015

The Dusi training race hosted by Florida Lake Canoe Club on Sunday 29 November 2015 was highly enjoyed and appreciated by the 100 or so participants who sweated and strained in the heat of the Highveld summer.  The low water levels and tricky technical rapids as well as more portages than expected, as a result of the low levels and recent trees fallen into the water during past week’s strong winds, also added to the tough conditions of the race which were strangely enjoyed by those who love a good endurance challenge.

While the 32km river race started in at the Heidelberg bridge, behind the Engen Blockhouse in Daleside and finished in Meyerton at the Danie Maclean park,  additional mileage was added for the portages,  where paddlers take  boats out of water to walk or run short distances  which added to the tough training required to take on the FNB Dusi endurance marathon in February next year.

Kia/Hyundai Fourways provided a vehicle for paddlers who left their cars at the finish and were able to get a lift back to the start as well as braai wors lunches for the marshalls, organisers and workers while members of the Roodepoort Athletics Club managed a water point for the long portage which the hot dusty exhausted paddlers carrying their boats enjoyed tremendously – with ice blocks and chilled drinks including sponsored Lucozade!  The water point was mentioned by a number of paddlers as the highlight of the event!

The racers were given individual starts based on first entered, first to go, and as a result none of the paddlers knew whether their competition was behind them, or ahead of them, and for all age groups, the potential leaders had to put pedal to the metal and push themselves harder, to ensure a good finish in their category!

The cold Hansa beers supplied by SA Breweries at the finish of the hot day, with numerous damaged boats from variety of rocks in low level water, was highly appreciated as was the giveaway prizes from Tops Spar and Canoe Concepts which included lucky draws which included paddling equipment and even boats, which were  won by the participants in the FLCC River Race 2015 series!

The race report touches on the top finishers per age category  and congratulations go to the young junior paddlers took the top positions with Sowetans Siyabonga Tyiki and Thando Ngamlana from SCARC (Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club) finishing 1st overall , also as first Under 23, in a time of 2 hours 22 minutes, followed by Johannesburg Canoe Club’s Alex Masina and Peter Chissano as first Under 18’s in a time of 2 hours 30 minutes.

Father and son Michael and Liam Stewart team from Ekurhuleni Kayak Club in the East Rand finished 3rd in 2 hours 33 minutes as the first Senior category boat with Gavin Steyl and Ryan Simonato 2nd, from JCC, in 2 hours 36 minutes.  The 3rd Senior category finishers were Jarryd Breeds and Tommy Booth also from ERK in 2 hours 37 minutes.

It is always a pleasure when ladies compete among the males on river races, and the top 3 K1 ladies finishes were most impressive  with Western Province’s Jane Swarbreck who finished as the 6th senior  overall in a time of 2 hours 51 minutes, and as first Female, as well as 5th K1, while her sister Kate was 26th overall, in 3 hours 3 minutes representing Natal Canoe Club as 10th K1 and 2nd female finisher.  Callie Henderson (Sub Grand Master age category) was the 3rd female K1 finisher, as 11th K1 in 3 hours 4 minutes while it was the K2 ladies in 3 hours 40, as the 30th K2 from Watuni Canoe Club who won the honours at the FLCC K2 Dusi training race.

The first Under 16 across the finish line was Soweto’s Sibusiso Chwayi in 4 hours 41 minutes,  and Morgan and Ryan Ziervogel, sibling pair from JCC were the leading mixed double in a time of 2 hours 46 minutes – Under 23.

In 6th place overall the first Veteran position win went to Andre Zandbergh and Kobus Filmalter from Watuni (North West University campus in Vanderbijlpark) a few seconds later, and the first K1 finisher from Dabulamanzi Canoe Club finished 9th overall in a time of 2 hours 39 minutes – Kelvin Byres, first Sub Vet across the finish line although in the K2 race, the podium for Sub Veterans was won by Richard Tandy and Guy Carter from ERK and Dabs respectively, finishing in   2 hours 43 minutes.

With 3 Master category paddlers finishing in K1’s, the winning K2 Master boat win went to Zach Zacharopoulos and Timothy Baker in 3 hours 22 minutes from Victoria Lake Canoe Club, while in the Sub Master age group the paddlers opted for the K1 route and the first finisher in the age category was uwe Schmidthaus also from VLC in 3 hours 2 minutes as the 8th K1.

The first Grand master K2 in 3 hours 24 minutes were Keith Beeston and John Rowan (JCC/ERK) .

Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

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