The Gauteng Canoe Union K2 River Championships event was hosted by Dabulamanzi Canoe Club, at the VKB Liebensbergvlei Canoe Race, from Reitz to Tweeling on Saturday 16 September 2017, and from Tweeling to Frankfort on Sunday 17 September 2017 a distance of some 30/32km per day.


The race organisers pulled out all the stoppers to arrange a superb two day racing event with great organisation, fantastic sponsorship from VKB, as well as Standard Bank – there were superb giveaways including Boat Tie Downs and Mielie corn paddling shorts – great catering, marshalling, accommodation and just super race management – well done….it will take a lot to beat a race organised to this calibre.


The rapids on day 1 from the Reitz Waterworks were really fabulous fun with a good 27 cumecs flowing down the river and warm sunshine although the Vrystaat wind howled up the river with power.  Day 2 was a grind on flat water after a blustery night and surprising cold heralding possibility of rain, so was hard work although the river was flowing, and provided excellent training to strengthen muscles and improve stamina three weeks prior to the Hansa Fish.


There was an excellent turn out for a long drive to a river race, with 104 K2’s finishing, as well as 32 K1’s,  as well as 10 K3’s plus marshalls, and some paddlers who only did Day 1 and arent listed on the results.


The race attracted a number of high profile paddlers including the Bronze Medallist Bridgitte Hartley with an international visiting paddler, and Cyprian Ngidi (Central districts) also a former Olympic participant in the Slalom discipline.  A number of SA’s top paddlers also participated, some having competed at the recent  ICF World Marathon Champions hosted in Pietermaritzburg, while also drawing our paddlers from KZN, Lowveld, Witbank, Potchefstroom, Rustenburg, Parys!


The top three lady finishers in this K2 championship race were Bridgitte Hartley with Krisztina Bedoc (KZN/ INT) in 4:03 as 12th K2 in first place, with second place taken by Jenna Ward and Vanda Kiszli, (KZN/INT) in 4:11 as 17th K2.


Sonja Bohnsack (Dabs / Gauteng) and Merrill King (KZN) were our first South African lady finishers in 3rd place, and a time of 4:54, as the 65th K2 finishers.  Cally Henderson and Lisa Currell (Dabs) were the 4th lady finishers and the first fully Gauteng team finishing in a time of 5:06, as K2 81.


The winning men were Clinton Cook and Hamish Lovemore from KZN in a time of 3 hours 48 minutes over the two days setting a high standard for our Gauteng paddlers to match!


The second place finishers in 3:49, were Gauteng’s Sisko Ntondini (Soweto) with Kiko Vega (Int) , while Thulani Mbanjwa and Banesti Nkhoesa from KZN took the third podium position a bare second later.


The first Under 23 finishers crossed the finishing in 3:57, from KZN, Tyron Maher and Thomas Lovemore, while the Under 18 top finishers were also from KZN,  Callam Davis, and Emanuel Zaloumis, finishing in a time of 3:58.


The winning Mixed Double couple, crossed the finish line in 4:11, as 16th K2, from KZN – Benjamin and Natasha Bradford.   Gustav and Wickus Loots were the first Veterans to finish the race – from Lowveld, in 4:14, followed by the first Under 16 pair, Gustav Smook Jnr and Zanenhlanhla Mbala (LOW/SOW) in 4:15, while Alex Masina – previous JCC, Gauteng, now paddling in KZN, was the first K1 finisher to cross the finish line as well as the K1 Under 18 junior winner in a time of 4:15.


The Sub Master top finishers were Nick Warren with Andrew Cooper (DABS) in 4:23 while the first Sub Veterans to finish were Serge van Hee and Dekker Erasmus (FLO) in 4:24.  The winning Grand Master K2 in 4:26 was manned by Brian Longley and Graham Holm (DABS)in 4:26, and the top finishing K3 brought in Keith and Peter Flemmer and Brad Breetzke (DABS) some 40 seconds later.


Philip Claassens and Sylvia Nel (LIK) were the first Gauteng Mixed Double finishers in a time of 4:34.


The Sub Grand Master top finishers in 4:35 were Dabs crew of Carlo Natali, Andy Leith and Nigel Harvey, in a K3 while the K2 SGM winners were KZN’s Hugo Stewart and Stretch Struwig in 4:48.


While John Barrow (Dabs) was the first Master to cross the finish line in a K1 in a time of 4:37, the K2 winners were Graham Neate and Bryan Slater in 4:47.

The Great Grand Master winners were also from KZN – Mike Halliday and Mike Staphorst in 4:42.


It was a super weekend of training, great racing, excellent vibe with music / party and most enjoyable – well organised, well sponsored and much appreciated!


Jennie Dallas

for GCU PR

082 857 857 1