Stuart MacLaren successfully defended his K2 title at the Breede River Canoe Marathon with his Euro Steel team mate Jasper Mocké, finishing the race in emphatic style after refusing to rely on their overnight lead.
The pair decided to make a break right from start of the 33 kilometre stage from Bonnievale to Kam’bati Resort, and by the time they had reached the halfway point of the final stage at Drew Bridge they had expanded their overall lead to more than two minutes.
They kept their heads down on the low Breede River and ground on to the finish to record a three minute victory over Graeme Solomon (Bamboo Warehouse/Knysna Racing) and Greg Louw (Kynsna Racing/Merrell), with the Rice brothers Sean and Kenny wrapping up the last step on the podium.
MacLaren said that Mocké had made it clear that they weren’t going to relay on their overnight buffer and wanted to attack right from the outset.
“Jasper didn’t give me any choice!” said MacLaren. “He put the hammer down right from the start and asked me to go as hard as I can.
“It was really cool to be able to defend the title I won last year with Graeme (Solomon) and to paddle with Jasper (Mocké) was really special. He brings something interesting to every race.
“When we fell out at Secunda Weir on the first stage it really fired him up. He said he felt we were winning the race and it just inspired us to get back onto the front bunch again.
“At no point did he ever doubt that we could do it, even though we had a boat full of water, which made it much harder than the other two boats for about five kilometres.
“When he gets onto the water at a race, he is there for one reason and one reason only,” added MacLaren. “I think that is why he compliments (his World Marathon Championships winning partner) Hank McGregor so well.”
He said that the Breede had reinforced his belief that Team South Africa would excel at the upcoming World Marathon Championships in Brandenberg in Germany later this month.
“I honestly think that South Africa has a chance of coming first and second in the K1 and K2, which I am pretty sure no country has ever been able to do,” said MacLaren.
Tyrone Maher and Edgar Boehm were in impressive form on the final stage as they leapfrogged from sixth overnight to fourth overall, while Phillip Smith and Joseph Williams were also amongst the big movers on the final stage as they scaled the leaderboard, once Williams had dealt with a worrying stomach ailment.
The women’s race was wrapped up by the Pietermaritzburg duo of Abby Solms (Euro Steel) and Ronel Stevens, who raced away alone to extend their overnight and wrap up a thoroughly impressive win.
“We had another good, clean day, no swims or dramas,” said Solms. “The partnership worked really well together. Ronel was very strong in the back – I could feel her pulling all the time – and it think she trusted my driving.
“It started out as a training exercise but we got caught up in the racing, which was great and made it a great base training race for the Hansa Fish in October,” she added.
Century City/Pink Lady’s Bianca Beavitt completed what she had set up overnight, racing to second K1 overall and the second female boat home, with the determined Jane Swarbreck and Robyn Henderson left to rue their swim at Secunda Weir on Day One as they finished thirteen minutes further back.
The event doubled as they SA K3 Championships, providing a platform for the trio of Kyle Friedenstein, Bevan Manson and Andrew Carter to complete one of the most impressive K3 showing ever seen to claim the national gold medals ahead of the dogged locals Richard Kohler, Mike Schwan and Richard Allen.
More information can be found at www.breedemarathon.co.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS
BREEDE RIVER CANOE MARATHON
STAGE TWO (33km Bonnievale to Kambati Resort)
1.Jasper Mocké/Stu MacLaren 2:10:42 4:37:49
2.Graeme Solomon/Greg Louw 2:13:16 4:40:39
3.Sean Rice/Kenny Rice 2:20:30 4:48:44
4.Tyrone Maher/Edgar Boehm 2:17:18 4:51:27
5.PW Basson/Lance King 2:17:21 4:51:27
6.Phillip Smith/Joseph Williams 2:17:23 4:51:32
7.Brandon van der Walt/Hamish Mackenzie 2:17:35 4:51:43
8.Heinrich Schloms/John de Villiers 2:21:38 5:02:38
9.Peter Cole/Rob Hart 2:21:10 5:03:21
10.Daan du Toit/Hennie du Plooy 2:21:24 5:03:32
1.Abby Solms/Ronel Stevens 2:27:41 5:18:05
2.Bianca Beavitt 2:33:31 5:24:54
3.Robyn Henderson/Jane Swarbreck 2:39:53 5:37:46
1.Kyle Friedenstein/Andrew Carter/Bevan Manson 2:18:10 4:52:05
2.Richard Kohler/Mike Schwan/Richard Allen 2:18:34 4:58:05
3.Dale Lewis/Anthony Wolstenholm/Jan Venter 2:21:13 5:03:41