In what is shaping up to be one of the most competitive river races of the year, the world championships-bound crew of Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocké has entered the Breede River Canoe Marathon on 3 and 4 September.
The 2016 world championship combination returned to their top form at the SA Marathon Championships in June, where their close second-placed finish earned them a sought-after spot in the national team travelling to the ICF Marathon World Championships in Ponte de Lima in Portugal at the end of September.
For Capetonian Mocké and his Durban-based partner, the Breede will be a crucial final dress rehearsal for the world champs, particularly as they have identified a shift in the tactics used to decide the global titles.
“The Breede will give us two days of proper race training, and that racing is very hard to mimic in training,” said Mocké. “You have to line up and race and put yourself under pressure.
Mocké pointed out that a very strong field was assembling for the Breede, making it even more valuable as a precursor to the world championships.
“We hear that Clint Cook and Tom Lovemore, Kenny Rice, Uli Hart and some other very strong crews are entering that are world class.
Despite living on opposite ends of the country Mocké and McGregor have managed to keep up a regular training schedule.
“We are sitting nice and comfortably in the boat as always,” said Mocké.
“We have tweaked a few things with our equipment and changed our paddles, as we feel our bodies are a bit different from a few years ago,” said the Fish Hoek Team Euro Steel stalwart.
Mocké says the prospect of the front bunch containing a number of top elite crews makes the Breede outing appealing.
“Racing these guys flatout for two days will be very useful just before world champs.
Mocké pointed out that the recent world marathon champs had seen a shift in racing tactics and he wants the South African crews to be awake to these tactics.
“What Hank saw at the worlds last year was that the country boats were all working together. If we can help our boats to work together as far as possible through the race, then that would be great,” he said.