N3TC Drak Challenge
McGregor taking fresh approach to 2017 Drak Challenge
Underberg – Having withdrawn from the 2016 N3TC Drak Challenge with illness
halfway through, 2012 champion Hank McGregor feels that a different approach
to the race is in order as he prepares to take on the 2017 river marathon
season after a successful period in his surfski when the popular Drakensberg
showdown takes place from 21-22 January.
Having not won the race in four years the Euro Steel/Kayak Centre ace has
reassessed his approach to the race and with some strong competition coming
from three-time defending champion Andy Birkett he’ll hope his new approach
can break his long-standing Drak duck.
“Although I haven’t been in a river boat since the Hansa Fish I am currently
really race fit,” McGregor mentioned.
“It’s been a huge couple of months for me in my surfski but now that I am
home I am reassessing how I build up to Drak and am going to take a more
professional approach to the race later this month and really give it a good go.
“From my boat to my paddle to my training, I really want to be on top of my
game when I get to the start of the race. I took some time over the
Christmas period to get up to Underberg to do some tripping on the river as
well,” he added.
McGregor did the 60km FastDrak in a mixed double with his wife Pippa,
finishing third overall, and providing an excellent opportunity to scout the
river in a race situation.
McGregor, who finished second at the 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon with
long-time partner Jasper Mocké, threw the majority of his eggs into that
basket at the beginning of 2016 but feels he has been able to maintain
his levels that he reached back in the early part of last year.
“I am feeling really good after I had tough start to 2016 and have been
keeping up my running levels which is different to previous years.
“Having had such a busy schedule with 45 flights last year I still feel good
and after the Cape Point Challenge I will refocus my efforts on the river
with another big season ahead,” a relaxed but focused McGregor commented.
With drought conditions gripping most of the country the Drakensberg has
received a sprinkling of early Summer rain which has meant that the river is
at a level where it is paddleable however water level is not something that
McGregor is too concerned about.
“It would be nice to get a bit more water to make it easier for the rest of
the paddlers but for us as professionals we shouldn’t have to worry about
the amount of water in the river.
“The whole weekend is great for us as a family and just getting into the
Drakensberg for those few days is really special and to be able to race at
the same time is a bonus!” added McGregor.
With Birkett having established himself as the man to beat in the
KwaZulu-Natal river marathon season over the past few years, McGregor has
put the ball firmly in the court of the three-time defending champion
stating the pressure will be firmly on him going into the two-day showdown.
“Andy is really at the top of his game and is always such a tough paddler to
go up against.
“I do think that he has it all to lose at Drak next year,” McGregor said.
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
With a busy 2016 behind him,
Euro Steel/Kayak Centre's Hank McGregor has taken some time off to re-focus
his energy towards what is going to be another hugely competitive N3TC Drak
Challenge from 21-22 January 2017.
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