Well done to Victoria Lake Canoe Club for hosting not just a river race but a dual purpose double river race – lots of extra admin and effort, and a job well done.

While a few photos have been posted on Facebook / GautengCanoe Union, I would appreciate it if more can be sent to us at jenniedallas23@gmail.com……as I was paddling myself and didn’t get many good pics!

Results are available on the GCU Website under Race / Results…..or will be shortly…..

The short race served the novices, less fit and introduction to river paddlers while the A grade nearly 40km K1 race provided an opportunity for a long hard bum-numbing experience for those preparing for Berg or ready to move up to the next level of fitness – BOTH races provided excellent  fitness training!

The short race was only 18km from Sportsground past caravan park, but the sluggish currents below train bridge are hard work and some top strong paddlers pulled out early so well done to those novices and learners who dragged themselves to the finish……the 38km from Heidelberg Bridge in Daleside was a long hard slog with lots of flat water stretches to build stamina.

While the bottom section of the Klip meanders lazily around sharp corners, many unwary paddlers were taken by surprise when currents shoved them into overhanging branches or thorn trees and some important lessons were learned – even when tired keep alert on the river – there are sneaky currents to catch the unsuspecting!

It was also a superbly pleasant winter highveld day although the water was icy enough to cause cramp in feet prolonged in the puddles, the sun was warm and it was a lovely opportunity to be out on the water in nature enjoying life.

FLCC was the winning club in the short race with the top K1 and K2 finishers being Shaun Maphanga, recovering from a back injury after Dusi, winning the K1 event in a time of 1:24, as top Sub Veteran as well, while the top Under 23 team also won the K2 race – 13 year old Jaydon Hunt with Macdonald Nkosi – both adults assist with coaching and managing the junior and development programs at Florida Lake very successfully.  The young pair finished their race in 1:27.

In this K2 race however the first Sub Veteran K2 was Vaughn van der Merwe and Rowan Bryant (Dabs) in 1:29.  The Watuni K3 finished as a mixed double, in 1:30 with Kobus Filmalter, Natalie Coetzee and Mariette Zandbergh.  A second K3 also finished the event with Willem van der Merwe introducing novices to river racing (Dabs) including Michelle Haskins and Tyrone Anderson – in a time of 1:41.

Third finisher in this 18km enjoyable event were Ryan Simonato and Louise Pieterse (JCC) in 1:28 as first Mixed double as well, with Peter Chissano finishing as first Under 18 from same club, in a time of 1:37, while the first Veteran and Sub Master Finishers in 1:39 in the K2 event were also JCC finishers – Warren Ziervogel with Aidan de Vos and Anthony Phelp with Martin Sly.

The winning Grand masters were JCC/ERK combination of Keith Beeston and John Rowan in a time of 1:42 while Minnie Kretzschmar (FLCC) was the first Lady K1 finisher and Sub Grand master home in 1:56 and – take this – Bertie Baard and Jennie Dallas (FLCC) were actually the winning SGM K2 in this K2 event hobbling along to finish in 2:00…..!  VLC’s Gregory Morley-Jepson, and Claudio Gaspari finished as the first in 2:10.  Claude Graham returning to rivers after a nearly 20 year break was the last finisher coming in with the sweep as the Great Grand master finisher, in a time of 2:25.

Moving on to the long race, a Berg training and seeding event, and therefore a K1 category race, Siseko Ntondini won the race, followed by Piers Cruickshanks and Alex Roberts (SOW / Dabs / Dabs) with respective finishing times being 2:57 and 3 hours plus a second or two!) as first Under 23, as well as first Veteran, and first Senior.  They were followed by Gregory Smith (VLC) in 3:05 as the Sub Veteran champion of the day, while the Under 16 young athlete from JCC a couple of seconds later -Alex Masina once again proved his worth as a competitor in the top echelons of canoe racing.

With the first lady in the long race finishing in 3:17 with younger brother Ryan,  as the first Mixed Double, both from JCC, and the Masters race won by Glen Sinclair and Dave Ivy with their river racing comeback on track, in a time of 3:22, it was a good day for JCC all round!

Kirsty Fox and Clinton Fox found time in their busy schedules to get back on the river and do a worthwhile workout finishing in 3:25 as 2nd Mixed Double (ERK) .  A K3 with Richard Cele, Patrick Chappel and Josh Loots finished in 4:25 but they might have been sweeping……while the Great Grand master finisher, finisher of 18 Berg River marathon events, Mike Howard (JCC) finished in 4:40.

And thats a wrap of the day – with 61 paddlers on the water for the short race, and a further 34 finishing the long one,  nearly 100 paddlers having lots of good training as well as enjoyment and fun and even those with the occasional swims survived the breathtaking seconds of cold and quickly warmed up to chuckle at their experiences later! We are tough we canoeists!  no woesies us!  Well done VLC for organising BOTH races despite the challenges, and for the super prizes and giveaways!

Jennie Dallas