N3TC Drak Challenge
Abby Solms set to become utlimate Drak champ
Pietermaritzburg ace paddler Abby Solms will become the most successful
paddler of all time at the competitive and popular N3TC Drak Challenge Canoe
Marathon on 21 and 22 January if she completes her seventh win in the
The 27 year old Team Euro Steel star has five back-to-back wins in the 72
kilometre Southern Drakensberg classic, which she clearly prioritises as one
of her favourite races on the national calendar. She shares the race record
of six wins with Ant Stott.
She also prizes the technical demands that the race throws at its
participants as it tests the river skillset ahead of the FNB Dusi Canoe
Marathon which is less than a month later.
“I probably ending up racing the Drak a bit too hard. I just get caught up
in it and I love it so much!” said Solms.
“The women’s field on the Dusi is usually quite small so if you have
overcooked it on the Drak us girls are lucky that it might not affects us
that much on the Dusi. That’s my thinking anyway!”
She also said that, while the shorter, more technical Drak Challenge was a
prized title in its own right, she also sees it as an important benchmark in
her preparations for the FNB Dusi.
“There isn’t a lot of time before Dusi but it is important get the distance
in, in a racing environment, and to come away with some confidence in your
river paddling ability,” she added.
Solms said she was planning to spend time on the uMzimkhulu River section
that hosts the N3TC Drak Challenge during the end-of-year holidays.
If there is water in the river, then I will definitely go and paddle there!”
“In a K1 year it is important to be comfortable in your boat, and I haven’t
done too much in my K1 and you want to get your skills up,” she said.
Her six win run is interrupted by the 2012 win by Robyn (Kime) Owen in a
race that had her on the back foot right from the get-go after a momentary
lapse in concentration saw her take a swim at the start, after which she
never saw Owen again.
Her river skills have improved significantly in recent years, and this
season she is hoping to finally add the one title that has somehow eluded
her - the K1 women’s crown.
Most title at the N3TC Drak
6 – Ant Stott, Abby Solms
3 – Hank McGregor, Andy Birkett, Len Jenkins, Mark Perrow, Lorna Oliver
2- Graham Bird, Abbey Ulansky, Jeanette Walder, Antje Malherbe, Alexa Cole
The 2017 N3TC Drak Challenge Canoe Marathon takes place in the Southern
Drakensberg on 21 and 22 January 2017.
More information can be found at
Click to download the hi-res
The N3TC Drak Challenge 2017 Logo - JPeg
Abby Solms will be looking to
defend her title in the N3TC Drak Challenge, and in the process will become
the most successive Drak Challenge paddler of all time.
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