It was a glorious sunny Autumn day as the river filled with nearly 60 boats including sweeps marshalls, 40 K1’s and 17 K2’s. Despite numerous swims among the novice learners they did not complain that they became unpleasantly cold throughout the 18km stretch of the novice race from Scout Hall (Henley on Klip) to Caravan Park in Meyerton, hosted by Victoria Lake Canoe Club.
The race ran smoothly although there were a number of swimmers at Broken Weir where new learners still need to master the confidence needed to tackle the turbulence below the rapid drop, and the winning novice was presented with one of Nicole’s famous cakes baked at the clubhouse restaurant at Germiston Lake…..Conrad Beukes a young canoeist at the North West University club based in Potchefstroom is thoroughly enjoying his introduction to river races having won the novice section of the race at each of the past 3 novice river races hosted on Klip since April, finishing 22nd in 1 hour 18 minutes.
Other achievers included the K1 race winner Kobus Filmalter (Wat) in 1 hour 3 minutes, as the first SubVet, with young Under 16 Alex Masina (JCC) taking the 2nd finishing spot less than a minute later and Skhumbuso Ngidi from Natal in 3rd one minute after that!
The first Under 23 was Donald Moncho (FLCC) to his surprise as Tukkies’ Danie Botes was expected to reserve that podium place and it was a tight competition between the two FLCC boys who raced each other from start to finish to finish within 3 seconds apart as the first two Under 23’s.
The top K2 finishers also had an exciting competition when they passed the previous K2 race winners, Henco and Rikus Scheepers (WAT) who had sustained boat damage on Pumphouse weir as well as Double Drop hitting rocks in both places becoming a submarine in order to finish. Raymond and Linda Rorich (CEN) and fellow K2 racers Kevin Hunt and Chris van der Merwe (FLCC) realized that the K2 race winners was likely to be one of them and so the race was on – finishing with a spectacular slide down caravan park as neither backed off, shooting the rapid together to the enjoyment of the spectators with the mixed double catching the right eddie current to swirl them past the finish line one second ahead of the two male paddlers in 1 hour 10 minutes and 4 seconds with the FLCC crew being the first Veteran finishers.
Anya Botes finished as the first female once again in 1 hour 13 minutes, as the 13th K1, and the first K3 was 23rd overall in 1 hour 19 minutes (Michael Stafford/Christopher Stafford and Joseph Freedman – JCC) while the first Grand Master finisher was Rodney Carpenter (ERK) in 1:19, and John Greeff (CEN) won the Sub Master category in 1:21.
Ha! We live in unpredictable times as the first Sub Grand Master finishers were mixed double Bertie Baard and Jennie Dallas (FLCC) most surprised to pass the Scheepers boys dragging their sinking boat to the finish, but the actual K1 SGM winner at this K1 race was in fact Clyde Foster (CEN) in 1 hour 34 minutes as 32nd K1.
Well done to Watuni, FLCC and Victoria Lake for hosting the introductory novice races which were an enjoyable introduction to the river – the Berg paddlers are now in full training and a few longer races will be in the line up – but we’re all a bit fitter, stronger and more experienced now so lets go for it!