Photos:  Facebook/GautengCanoeUnion    WEBSITE:  THE BULLETIN / SECUNDA  thanks to Jana Oosthuizen!

 It would be super to receive back from paddlers of their personal experiences on the river – please dont hesitate to send in your version of the feedback for this race!

The Sasol Dam to Dam proved itself an excellent MINI FISH as a preparation race for the Fish River Marathon.  The race took place on Saturday 16 July 2016 with a lap around the Trichardspruit Dam, followed by the climb up the dam wall carrying boats down to the river on the other side, across the veld and spruit to put in below the dam wall release for which water we were always very grateful.

Goodie bags with Sasol branded travel coffee mugs and caps were greatly appreciated as was the morning coffee and rusks!  A great way to start a super day of racing and exciting river and the weather was superb!

Certainly the sponsored prizemoney donated by SASOL attracted some of Gauteng top achievers, and the exhiliration of the superb piece of river ensured a decent sized field despite 5 boat withdrawals due to damage,  of some 26 K2 and 45 K1 – total of 58 boats that finished the race!

Within 200m the first bridge proved to be a challenging obstacle, as a number of boats were grounded on shallow rocks while a few boats were damaged by the sharp rocks and forced to withdraw.  Following that challenge was numerous tight sharp fast flowing twisting winding corners with drops, between trees, ducking under branches and some huge drops after bridges, as well as a good practice for the Fish Toastrack obstacle – did everybody make it without banging heads?  good stretches in the bath nose to knee will improve the ducking ability!  Helmets are highly recommended for rivers with trees and low level bridges.

First year canoeists certainly found the race a step up from the local KLIP River with the faster flow, tight corners, big drops, wave trains and boulders creating excellent challenges requiring fast reflexes to manage!

The slog across the very shallow muddy section of the second dam made for some excellent resistance training!

The race winner was Loveday Zondi in a time of 1 hour 11 minutes for the 18kms of furious racing with Zonele Nzuza also SOW club 9 seconds later while the third podium position as well as the First Under 23 award went to Siyabonga Tyiki also SOW, finished in 1 hour 11 and 59 seconds.

Morgan Ziervogel, (JCC) holding up the flag for the female canoeists crossed the finish line in 1 hour 34 minutes as the winner of the ladies’ race with Asanda Ndlovu (SOW) finishing in 2 hours 3 minutes, and Sneziwe Gxobole (SOW) in 2 hours 22 minutes – WELL DONE LADIES!

Alex Masina (JCC) was the first Under 18 finisher, and Alex Roberts (DABS) was the third senior age category paddler across the finish line in 1 hour 14 minutes.

The first Sub Veteran finisher was Raymond Rorich (CEN) in 1 hour 19 minutes, and Michael Stewart was first Sub Master in 1 hour 21 (ERK)., while the first K2 to finish was Vaughn Van der Merwe and Jason Brown (DABS) in 1 hour 23 minutes.

Chris Visser crossed the finish line in 1 hour 25 minutes as first Grand Master, with Antje Manfroni partnered with Jonathan Hoch (DABS) finishing as the first Mixed double (Male/Female combination) in 1 hour 28 minutes, while Jaydon Hunt (FLO) finished as the Under 14 champion in a time of 1 hour 29 minutes.  Frank Dabrowski finished as the first Great Grand Master in 1 hour 29 minutes.  Craig Johnston and Michael Merry (VIC / Dabs) were the first Master finishers in 1 hour 33 minutes, while the first Under 16 paddler crossed the finish line in 1 hour 34 minutes – Wongama Makhasi (SOW).

Top Veteran finisher was Kevin Hunt in 1 hour 41 minutes and first Sub Grand Master K2 finishers were Minnie Kretzschmar and Dennis Carlse (Dabs/FLO) in 1 hour 49 minutes, although the K1 top SGM finisher was Timothy Baker (VIC) in 1 hour 53 minutes.

Thanks to SASOL Canoe Club for providing this opportunity for Gauteng paddlers to learn new skills and hone their reflexes as they prepare for major A grade races – with Tugela, Lowveld Crocodile,  and other races being cancelled due to drought – we were holding our breath hoping for a water release which was HIGHLY appreciated and made a huge difference to the preparation and development of our newer canoeists for 2016!

Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

082 857 857 1