In conditions not experienced for years, the Kindo Inanda Dam to Durban race saw veteran Hank McGregor win a sprint finish over David Evans while Jordan Peek continued her impressive pre-Dusi Canoe Marathon form with another victory among the women.
Healthy rains have seen Inanda Dam been spilling over for the first time in seven years, giving eager Dusi paddlers an opportunity to scout lines and tactics for the final stretch of MyLife Dusi route from Inanda Dam into the finish at Blue Lagoon.
McGregor, who pulled off a first win of the Dusi season, was made to work hard for his victory as the young Dave Evans continues to show why he should be classified as a Dusi contender. It was a second showdown between the two after McGregor edged the Under-23 star at the FastDrak in December.
‘I don’t think it’s a case of Dave (Evans) giving me a run for my money, I think it’s the other way around!’ Euro Steel’s McGregor said. ‘There are some really exciting young paddlers coming through and it’s fantastic to see the sport of canoeing in such a good place.
‘With lockdown, people now don’t take racing for granted anymore and it’s awesome to see so many pages of results after each race.’
Looking at the conditions McGregor knows that more water will play into his hands come Dusi day three, however he also knows that the rest of the field will be well prepared no-matter what conditions they find on race day.
‘With my paddling background I do think that the higher water levels do help me and with more paddling on the cards on day three, without the Burma Road portage, it will be better for me.
‘The water level that we paddled on really brought back memories of what it used to be like and I had to dig deep into my memory to remember some of the lines! It was an awesome race and it was great to see the river in such a healthy state and it just makes racing far more enjoyable in those conditions.’
Hamish Lovemore snuck home in third ahead of Thulani Mbanjwa in fourth while Under 18 star Matthew Millward rounded out the top five.
The women’s race on Sunday saw Jordan Peek pick up her second victory in consecutive weekends to signal her good form. Peek twon by over two minutes ahead of Bridgitte Hartley and Christie Mackenzie.
The 2021 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from 18-20 March.
Photo: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media