N3TC Drak Challenge
"King of the Drak" Ant Stott eager for Underberg reunion
Underberg - Six times N3TC Drak Challenge champion Ant Stott is relishing a
return to the Mzimklhulu River on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 January, sizing
up his sixteenth Drak medal on the race he rates so highly.
Stott's name has been noticeably absent from the results sheet over the last
two years, following a reign on the popular two-day 62km race that left many
calling him the "King of the Drak".
Last year he opted not to paddle as business interests, a new marriage and
his Dusi training with his mother kept him away from Underberg on the
weekend of the race, while the year before he was sidelined by a nasty ankle
injury, suffered running on the banks of Thrombi Gorge on the Mzimkhulu
Stott is now relishing the prospect of returning to the Drak this weekend,
and reuniting with a river that he has a special attachment to.
"My races on the Mzimkhulu have gone OK over the years and I really love
that section of river and the whole Underberg community," said Stott.
He said that he was reading the list of "Drak Trouts" on the race website
and considering that his total number of finishes would have been 17,
placing him joint sixth on the race's all time finishers list, had he not
missed the last two years.
Stott said that the 2016 race would be particularly interesting for him as
he would have to race against his Matelec/Popes Canoe Centre/Agrisales team
mate Carl Folscher with whom he is racing the K2 FNB Dusi with in a monthís
"Carl has been doing all the training, so it's going to be tough for me this
weekend," chuckled Stott.
"I have raced at a high level so I know what is required to do well, and I
reckon I am able to do about a quarter of that right now," said Stott. "So
itís a case of doing the best I can with what is available."
"I think of it as semi-competitive," he added.
Stott, who has several business interests, including a paddle-ski
manufacturing business that is thriving under his control, said he could
battle slightly with reading the lines of the rapids after a lengthy
sabbatical from the race.
"I like a technically demanding river and having to read the lines in every
rapid as you find them, but I might find my knowledge of the rapids and
their lines is a little rusty this weekend," said Stott.
The 37 year old has a long and colourful history on the river, with numerous
successes and a few lowlights, including breaking his ankle as a youngster
tubing on the Lower Mzimkhulu.
"My first exposure to canoeing as a competitive sport was on the Mzimkhulu
in Underberg when as a five year old tubing on the river I saw a canoeing
race being held there, and watched in awe as guys like Oscar Chalupsky came
past me," recalls Stott.
Stott had to sit out the Drak Challenge in 2004 when he arrived as defending
champion and hot favourite to win a fourth back-to-back title when he
reported feeling unwell, and on examination had an unexplained racing
resting heart-rate which forced him to sit out that race.
"I can't wait to get back onto the river," said Stott. "It has always been
one of my all time favourites, and while I don't think I will be making any
podiums, with a little luck a top ten will be brilliant."
The N3TC Drak Challenge takes place on Saturday 23 and
Sunday 24 January 2016.
information can be found at www.drak.co.za
Ant Stott victories on the N3TC Drak Challenge
1999 2 hrs 59 mins (Low Course)
2001 4 hrs 14 mins
2002 4 hrs 17 mins (with Deon Bruss K2)
2003 3 hrs 38 mins
2005 3 hrs 40 mins
2009 3 hrs 50 mins
All time N3TC Drak titles
6 - Ant Stott
3 - Len Jenkins, Hank McGregor
2 - Andy Birkett
Click to download the hi-res
The N3TC Drak Challenge 2016 Logo - JPeg
Six times champion Ant Stott has
confirmed his place in the starting line-up for the N3TC Drak Challenge this
weekend, marking a return to the popular two-day race in the Southern
Drakensberg after a two year absence.
Ant Stott is relishing a return
to the N3TC Drak Challenge, aiming for a sixteenth finishers medal.
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