Andy Birkett (left), and Dave Evans, 2022 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon champions.
Dusi Canoe Marathon superstar Andy Birkett and his young partner Dave Evans won the 2022 edition of the difficult river race in Durban on Saturday after three days of powerful paddling.
The two Maritzburg College alumni withstood a tough challenge from Thulani Mbanjwa and Msawenkosi Mtolo for Birkett to claim his ninth straight title from Dusi and his 12th overall, and Evans his first.
Birkett has now won the K2 (double) format of the 120km river marathon seven times, mostly with different partners, and the K1 (single) five times since 2010.
The format of the race changes every year.
The 31-year-old veteran and 21-year-old Evans finished eight minutes and six seconds ahead of second-placed Mbanjwa and Mtolo after an almost faultless three-day race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
Nqobile Makhanya and Sbonelo Khwela came third, 16 minutes and 52 seconds off the pace.
The third and final stage of Saturday’s ‘Adventure Sport’ took paddlers 36km from the Inanda Dam outside Hillcrest to the Blue Lagoon in Durban.
The women’s competition was won by Abby Solms and Bianca Haw ahead of pre-race favorites Jordan Peek and Christie Mackenzie.
Solms won the grueling competition for the third time, while Haw now has two titles to his name.
They finished 10 minutes and 32 seconds ahead of Peek and Mackenzie, while former Olympian Bridgitte Hartley and her relatively inexperienced partner Pippa McGregor were 50 minutes behind the third-place winning pair.
Hartley finished third in K1 last year behind Mackenzie and Peek respectively.
This was the 71st running of the Dusi, with food company MyLife as the race’s main sponsor for the second consecutive year.