Full river and strong field set for Breede Marathon  Robertson

Full river and strong field set for Breede Marathon Robertson

An impressive field and a full river awaits the paddlers for this weekend’s Breede River Canoe Marathon between Robertson and Swellendam, with an eleventh hour entry from Kenny Rice and Graeme Solomon adding spice to the race for the overall line honours.
 
The 2021 Western Cape K2 river marathon titles will being decided at this year’s race and Rice grabbed back-to-back victories on the Breede in 2017 and 2018, while the evergreen Solomon, who has won the race four times in the past 22 years, comes into the race off a solid showing at the recent Berg River Canoe Marathon.
 
The last-gasp entry sets up a fascinating duel at the front of the race with pre-race favourites Andy Birkett and Nicky Notten, with the season’s benchmark crew of Dan Jacobs and Bartho Visser sure to be right in the thick of the action as well. The class pairings of Carl Folscher and his young partner Sam Butcher, along with juniors Dyllan Farrell and Luke le Roux will be a constant source of pressure on the places on the podium.
 
Birkett and Notten start a racing block together and will be looking to the Breede as a chance to test themselves in the heat of competition, and settle their combination ahead of the Fish Marathon in early October and the Pete Marlin surfski race three weeks later.
 
Defending champion Greg Louw has signed up Eastern Cape star Richard von Mansberg for the race, while veterans Ernest van Riet and Heinrich Schloms and the crew of Daantjie Malan and Francois Meyer bring years of river racing experience and solid seasons into the race.
 
Rice won the doubles season-opener with Uli Hart, who will be starting the singles batch as he recovers from recent illness, sending Rice on the hunt for a replacement partner with just days to go before the region’s premier K2 race.
 
The women’s title will also provide compelling entertainment. The hungry Maties duo of Shannon Parker-Dennison and Tracey Oellerman have their sights set on the podium, but they will have the experienced Angie Austin and young rising surfski star Kira Bester, and the crew of Liz Hart and Romy Findlay to deal with.
 
Their entries surfaced as K1 entries, but the late confirmation that Bianca Beavitt and Robyn Henderson will paddle together, throws the cat amongst the pigeons in the women’s race.
 
With a full river likely the race will be ideal for the K3s that have entered, with more likely to follow suit as word of the good water in the Breede River spreads.
 
Just hours after the final pre-Breede race the river rose to a 200 cumec flood level, but forecasts suggest it will ease back to around 70 cumecs for the weekend.
 
The event will continue its pioneering Nurture-A-Novice programme that encourages experienced paddlers to partner a newcomer to the Breede in the back of a K2. This year fifteen K2s will shepherd Breede debutante as part of the programme, more than double the number taking up the offer of a free race entry in previous years.
 
Entries are being taken right up to Friday evening for the popular two-day race from Robertson to Swellendam.

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