Hungarian star Adrian Boros wrote his name into Berg River Canoe Marathon history by becoming the first international paddler to win the four-day odyssey to the West Coast on Saturday.
And Western Cape’s Bianca Beavitt was equally impressive on her way to a third consecutive crown.
Boros had a 3min 20sec advantage going into the final stage, with the 57km stage standing between him and a historic win on Saturday, and he powered to yet another end-sprint win over Graeme Solomon to claim the overall victory.
As hard as Solomon attempted to shrug off the European marathon star, he matched him pound-for-pound to claim a deserving victory.
‘I am really tired,’ an elated Boros said after his win. ‘It is a long way from the start to here, but I am really happy that I made it to the finish.
’When Graeme (Solomon) made that one mistake on the second day I was able to capitalise and I managed to keep that advantage all the way to the end. I want to be back next year, but we will just have to wait and see.’
Despite his eighth second-place finish at this year’s Berg River Canoe Marathon, Bamboo Warehouse’s Graeme Solomon was philosophical in his reflection of the race.
‘I finished fifth in the last two Bergs so I thought my podium days might be over, but it’s great to be sharing the podium with guys like Adrian and Petr,’ the 44 year-old mentioned.
‘This year was really tough because of my weight, but every Berg has different difficulties and I feel good that I was able to compete with guys that are nearly half my age.’
The women’s race was never a contest, as Century City/Pink Lady’s Bianca Beavitt blitzed the chasing Kirsten Penderis and Robyn Henderson from the start in Paarl on Wednesday to the finish on Saturday.
She had a tough opening day by her high standards, however three flawless days followed allowed her to take her third consecutive Berg River Canoe Marathon title, and a hugely impressive 12th consecutive stage win on Saturday.
‘I don’t think the win has quite sunk in yet, but it is always glorious to get to the end,’ she said with a smile at the finish.
’I lost the bunch quite early today after getting caught on a sandbank, but then I got into a great bunch of four and it was a great day working together.
‘If you had asked me if I would do one Berg five years ago I would have said never. But I am here, I don’t think I learnt my lesson.’
The fight for second and third in the women’s race continued on the final day, with Robyn Henderson finishing ahead of Kirsten Penderis, but the latter’s advantage prior to the start on Saturday meant that she took second by four minutes over Henderson.
Another interesting battle was the fight for the Under-23 crown. Going into the final stage, Varsity College’s Tom Lovemore held the cards, however Mthobisi Cele and Alan Houston were also well in the mix.
Unfortunately for Lovemore, he withdrew during the final stage, which left Houston and Cele to fight it out for the U23 title and it was Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life star Cele who took the age group honours by 0.93 seconds.
Taking third in the Under-23 age category was Mpilo Zondi after four days of solid paddling. The Under-18 age category was a one-sided affair, with the up-and-coming Change a Life youngster Mvelo Ngidi finishing 10th overall.
Second Under-18 was Kelly Tarr, who finished 41 minutes behind Ngidi, while third Under-18 place went to the impressive Under-16 paddler Bartho Visser.
Pictures of the first three men (Mojzisek, Boros and Solomon) and Beavitt courtesy of John Hishin/Gameplan Media
RESULTS (Stage three/overall)
1 Adrián Boros (HUN) 4:42.35 16:53.11
2.Graeme Solomon 4:42.36 16:56.31
3 Petr Mojžíšek (CZE) 4:43.08 17:29.30
4 Mthobisi Cele (U23) 5:02.18 17:48.23
5 Alan Houston (U23) 5:02.17 17:48.23
6 Mpilo Zondi (U23) 5:03.10 17:55.15
7 Keith Moule (GBR) 4:44.04 17:56.26
8 Heinrich Schloms 5:02.21 18:05.13
9 Phillip Smith 5:02.19 18:16.08
10 Mvelo Ngidi (U18) 5:07.23 18:20.41
11 Luke Stowman (U23) 5:13.15 18:55.20
12 Roy Clegg 5:09.14 18:55.47
13 Richard Allen 5:12.25 18:56.43
14 Anders Hart (U23) 5:09.14 18:59.31
15. Kelly Tarr (U18) 5:12.26 19:01.34
1 Bianca Beavitt 5:25.32 19:20.48
2 Kirsten Penderis 5:42.03 20:33.24
3 Robyn Henderson 5:36.07 20:37.38
1 Mthobisi Cele 5:02.18 17:48.23
2 Alan Houston 5:02.17 17:48.23
3 Mpilo Zondi 5:03.10 17:55.15
4 Luke Stowman 5:13.15 18:55.20
5 Anders Hart 5:09.14 18:59.31
1 Mvelo Ngidi 5:07.23 18:20.41
2 Kelly Tarr 5:12.26 19:01.34
3 Bartho Visser (U16) 5:42.01 19:49.55