Race Report: Centurion 9-Miler

26 July 2014

The cold front from the Cape missed us by a day and arrived on Sunday so the Centurion 9 Miler + flat water race at Rietvlei dam on Saturday 26 July was an amazingly and unusually pleasant warm day with flat calm water – very different from the expectations we have grown used to expecting at the race!

Over 80 paddlers enjoyed the 5 enormous laps with lots of company and much too much chit chat across the dam while keeping eyes peeled for the legendary and elusive hippo who was once again nowhere to be seen – although the motorboats provided for rescue and as spotters were certainly a comforting thought.    Seriously, its been a number of years since the hippo was spotted at the dam and then not by the local canoeists and sailors who train regularly at the dam as he preferred to live on the far end away from the noise.

As usual the vibe, music, food and entertainment at the race was most enjoyable and a great camaraderie exists with the paddlers after the finish as few rush off, and most stay to enjoy the prize-giving  with its numerous giveaways and lucky draws from Bosch equipment, to funky shorts, Canoe Concepts tops and an H20 paddle were among the numerous prizes presented apart from the category wins – and the paddling group even got to enjoy the first ever school league race which took place after the main race, and during the prize-giving which was somewhat distracting as the young ‘uns were most impressive and kept attracting attention!

The front bunch was very impressive as they lapped the back markers, with Siseko Ntondini and Thando Ngamlana (SOW) leading them across the finish line in first place and a time of 1 hour 20 minutes and 54 seconds, as the first Under 23’s.  Johan Ubbink and Gabriel van Wyk (CEN/ACD) settled for 2nd Under 23 and 2nd overall just 2 seconds later, while the Sub Master local duo and regular winners of the race, Wally Fisher and Theor Smit (CEN) were left with 3rd place as first Sub Masters.  Mark Feather and Ian Faller (Dabs/CEN) finished 4th in 1:24 as the first Veterans and poor Brad Fisher’s boat which should have been reflected in the top finishing bunch, was disqualified due to non wearing of lifejackets which were compulsory……

The next category finishers were in fact the Grand Masters, Brian Longley and Peter O Connor (DABS) in 1:26 as the 7th K2, followed by their club mates Sean and Sarah Evans bringing in the first mixed Double in 1:27, in 8th place and as 2nd Veterans.

Eduan Dippenaar (ERK) was the first K1 Finisher 10th overall, in 1:28 and Willem Landman and Elton Du Preez (CEN) finished as first Sub Veterans in 1:28, in 11th place.  Tiffany Kruger (ACD) finished as the first Female and only K1 female in 13th position overall, in a time of 1:28, and the first Under 16 team from Soweto, with an Under 14 in the boat, finished well in 1:33 as the 17th finishers and youngest participants.

Tony Purchase and David Ferguson (DABS) were first SGM a few seconds after the boys, and Bryan Slater with Clive Evans (DABS) a couple of seconds later finished as the first Masters in 19th position overall.

The winning ladies K2 consisted of Anya Botes and Anna Clifford Arwidi (CEN/DABS) as the 19th K2, in 25th place overall, and a time of 1 hour 36 minutes as the only ladies K1 competitors, and the only other junior finishers were Soweto’s Sibonakeliso Mpunzi and Ludidi Sinenhlanhla in 1:45 as the only Under 18 combination, in 36th position.

The Great Grand Master winners were John Rowan and John Lawson (ERK/LIK) in 1:47, 42nd overall, while Sylvia Nel (LIK) finished the race in 46th position, as 3rd female, and 2nd K1 female in a time of 1:51.

Well done Centurion for once again breaking the ice for the Fish training and excellent organization!

Jennie Dallas