2016 FNB Dusi Canoe
Early Dusi shots fired by McGregor and Mocké at Highveld Croc
Pietermaritzburg – The past weekend was an important one for the
country’s canoeing fraternity as 2016 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon fever
continues to intensify, leading to many paddlers taking to Gauteng and
KwaZulu-Natal’s waters in the Euro Steel Highveld Croc and Hi-Q Challenge
respectively, two vital Dusi seeding races.
Many of 2016’s FNB Dusi top contenders made the trip up to Johannesburg to
take part in the Highveld Croc and it was the experienced duo of Hank
McGregor and Jasper Mocké who overcame a day one deficit to win the overall
race on Sunday.
Despite having a number of top crews to contend with, including Dusi
favourites and Euro Steel team mates Andy Birkett and Lance Kime, the Euro
Steel pair of McGregor and Mocké dug deep on day two to secure a
confidence-boosting come-from-behind victory.
“We can look at the result from many different angles,” McGregor said. “Yes,
it isn’t on the Dusi route but, with that said, it is a Dusi-type race
considering the technicality of the river as well as the portages so it does
give us a lot of confidence going forward.”
In their first competitive Dusi together in 2014 the pair managed a second
place behind the runaway winners Birkett and Sbonelo Khwela however learning
from that race and growing their all-round repertoire has been the focus for
McGregor ahead of the 2016 edition.
“Although we have been partners during the flat-water marathon season, this
will only be our second shot at Dusi together.
“I think we managed to learn a lot from our 2014 race though and we know
where we have had to improve this time around.
“Our running is a lot stronger than it was in 2014 – one area that we knew
we had to improve on if we were going to challenge for the overall title
“Having a strong Highveld Croc against some really good crews was a good
sign that our running has improved,” added the marathon superstar.
As El Nino grips the country and the atmospheric conditions suggest that
paddlers will be in for an ‘old-style’ FNB Dusi, McGregor sees this an
opportunity for himself and Mocké to play to their strengths on the water.
“Personally I think that we will benefit from a low Dusi as flowing water
gives the runners a chance to get away if they manage to run away from us.
“There will be very little assistance from the river which could suit us.
“The paddling sections could be flat which gives strong paddlers the chance
to make up some time and catch guys that might get away on the portages.
“Dusi won’t be offering any free rides for paddlers, which could play into
our hands,” a cautious McGregor explained.
Being able to put together three full days of consistent, mistake-free
paddling will be the key going into Dusi however the current focus for
McGregor and Mocké is on remaining healthy up until the February 18 start.
“It is important that we stay injury free and avoid sickness in these
crucial weeks as we start getting closer to the race.
“We haven’t decided about our remaining pre-races, we’re just taking it a
day at a time,” he stated.
The Hi-Q Challenge was the weekend’s headline race in KwaZulu-Natal and
despite his previous outings with his 2014 Under 18 winning partner Mthobisi
Cele, Damon Stamp sewed up a sprint finish win with sprint star Louis
Hattingh at Albert Falls Dam.
The Under-23 pair had to fight off a spirited effort from brothers, and
potential Dusi top five candidates, Andrew and Alan Houston (USN) with the
experienced Jason Graham and Czech Republic paddling star Jakub Adam
rounding out the podium.
The ladies race was won by Abby Solms and Tamika Haw – both of whom eagerly
await the arrival of their respective Dusi partners; Anna Kosíková from
Czech Republic and Alex Adie from Cape Town – with the exciting duo of Jenna
Ward and Hungarian ace and U23 World Marathon Champion Vanda Kiszli
finishing second in their first competitive river race as a combination.
The FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg
to Blue Lagoon, Durban from 18-20 February 2016. More
information can be found at www.dusi.co.za
Click to download the hi-res
FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon logo (Landscape) - GIF
FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon logo
(Portrait) - GIF
The explosive Euro Steel duo of
Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocké discovered some significant form when they
came from behind to take victory at the 2016 Euro Steel Highveld Croc ahead
of the fancied pair of Andy Birkett and Lance Kime on Sunday.
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