Following an exciting showdown for the South African K1 river title, the racing on the Orange Descent was just as enthralling as the Johannesburg pair of Clinton Cook and Wayne Jacobs snuck home to take the national K2 crown.
The 28km second stage from Upington to Oranjerus has a larger percentage of flatwater, which made for some exciting racing and the race went right to the line as Cook and Jacobs managed to just hold off Saturday’s K1 winner Hank McGregor and Riccardo Talevi.
The final spot on the podium went to the young pair of Alan Houston and Stew Little who were just seven seconds behind the top two boats.
The result for Houston and Little meant that they were crowned as the Under-23 national K2 champions just ahead of the Lovemore brothers Hamish and Tom who came home in fourth place overall.
It was a first national title for Cook and Jacobs in a boat together and it was a good way for them to round off the year.
‘I was the first loser when Clint won his first national title so to be in the boat with him for this one was a great feeling,’ Jacobs said. ‘Coming after the disappointment of the SA Marathon Championships in St Francis it’s really satisfying getting this result.’
It was a battle of attrition throughout with a number of boats in the running right up to the line but Cook believed that their tactics were close to spot on.
‘We had a few issues because it was our first time on the river,’ Cook said. ‘I always knew that we were going to have a chance in the K2 race and with about 2km to go I decided that we needed to take up the pull.
‘We picked up the pace from there and Hank and Ricci were really strong but we were really happy that we had enough to win the end sprint and take the title.’
In the mixed category Melanie van Niekerk made it two wins from two when she came across the line in first with Scheepers Schoeman.
Photo: Peter Kirk/Gameplan Media