The Two Day Klip River race over the weekend of 30 and 31 January 2016, was the last river race in Gauteng prior to the FNB Dusi and was an important training opportunity providing tough challenging demanding and exhausting technical stretches, numerous obstacles to climb in and out or around, some awesome rapids with massive stopper waves and huge drops and holes that swallowed paddlers whole…….as well as long distance and flat gruelling slog.  A number of paddlers from Mpumalanga, Natal and the Cape participated in the event as their own rivers have been dry due to drought conditions.


The Lucozade caps came in handy as many paddlers lost theirs in huge waves on the first day, while the ice cold refreshing drinks were very welcome at the end of the long hardworking 36 kms each day in hot conditions.


Kia/Hyundai Fourways not only provided a bus for transport of the paddlers to the start after leaving their cars at the finish, but also assisted with marshalling / directional advice for the paddlers and runners through sections where the river was too dangerous due to fallen trees after recent storms and flooding.


Numerous marshalls were needed along the 72km stretch of river and weeks of tree clearing crews provided little relief as the trees blocked up rapids faster than the crews could clear them!


Once again the Gauteng transformation successes were highlighted as the top three podium positions were from previously disadvantaged backgrounds, and in the top 7 finishers, 5 boats were crewed by paddlers from the development programs.


The top 6 finishers on both days held their positions to the end.  In first place, Siyabonga Tyiki and Thando Ngamlana (SOW) – also 1st Under 23 team, in a time of 4:59 over the two days, and FLCC’s Shaun Maphanga with Under 23 Melusi Nxumalo took the second podium, finishing in a overall time of 5:04. The  third place podium position went to Soweto’s Sipho Qoko and Tshidiso Bobo in a time of 5:06 while Michael Stewart and son Liam finished 4th but only with seconds between them.


In the ladies race, there was only ONE female K2 team who finished as 34th K2 – Sonja Bohnsack and Merrill King (Dabs/Midlands) in 6 hours 55 minutes, while Sylvia Nel took on the challenge in a K1 finishing in a time of 8:23.


Alex Masina (JCC) was the first K1 finisher as well as only Under 18 racer, taking 7th position in a time of 5:24 followed by the Lowveld Croc team of Robin Bolton and Craig Lewis as first Veterans in 5:29.


Ian Walker from Natal partnered with Gavin Steyl (JCC) to finish as first Master age category, as 10th K2, in a time of 5:37, with the top finishing SubVeterans one minute behind them – Guy Carter and Richard Tandy (Dabs/ERK).


Next across the finish line of the two day race were the mixed doubles with a UCT / KZN combination finishing first n 5:42, while JCC’s Morgan Ziervogel and Peter Chissano had a terrific race finishing in 5:43 as 2nd Mixed Double, and 2nd Under 23 partnership.


Holly Spencer and Etienne Rawlinson (Tuks/Dabs) finished as 3rd Mixed Double in 5:49, in 18th position overall.


Moving on to the older experienced toppies who show no signs of slacking, the Sub master winners were Simon Treston and Brian Langton in 7:08, and with JP Pienaar (Wat) in a K1 leading the way for the Sub Grand Masters, the winning K2 – Bobby Damalis and Daniel Stevens crossed the finish line in 7:31.


Great Grand Masters John Rowan and Mike Howard (ERK) finished the race in 8:03.


Kudu’s must be given to the race organisers as this is a massive undertaking on a very tricky difficult river race to manage and marshall over two days,  with water levels moving from flooding to drop by two feet within the week, as well as the huge numbers of helpers required for various aspects of the race.


And thats it guys – no more official river races in Gauteng, but we wish you happy paddling on rivers for the next 2 weeks as you prepare for Dusi and with more rain predicted next week, it should be fun!


Jennie Dallas




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