Birkett and Evans the pair to beat at the Dusi Canoe Marathon

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Dusi favorites Andy Birkett (front) and Dave Evans.

The country’s most consistent river paddler, Andy Birkett, proved with his recent victory at the N3TC Drak Challenge that once again he and his partner David Evans will be the pair to beat at the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon from 17 to February 19.

Birkett clinched an unprecedented eighth consecutive Drak title over the weekend by edging out longtime rival Hank McGregor.

Gameplan Media reported that his ability to win races in all conditions confirms his status as one of the most successful river marathoners in South African canoeing history.

12 years of consecutive victories in K2

Although he is a person who does not chase records, Birkett’s Dusi 2022 could see him claim his ninth consecutive Dusi crown and with it a seventh K2 Dusi title with a different sixth partner. He has won every K2 edition of the Dusi since 2010.

The Euro Steel duo of Birkett and Evans got their Dusi prep off to an interesting start with a third-place finish in the 50 Miler, but in Sunday’s Inanda-Durban race Birkett sat in the front of the boat and they won .

“In practice we traded and we’re going both ways with me or Dave up front,” Birkett said.

“We decided to drive the Dusi because the feeling is different when you’re on a river, but we can swap easily which is a good thing for us.”

Pleasant Drak result

In what was a pleasing result for the pair, Evans finished fourth in the Drak Challenge, showing they are both in good shape for the epic three-day run from Pietermaritzburg to Durban in just over two weeks. .

Looking back on the previous weekend of racing on the Mngeni River, the atmosphere and action on the water was very competitive, Birkett knows it will carry over to the Dusi with crews all hoping to peak on the 17th February.

“I think at the Inanda Dam in Durban there were about six or seven crews that could have won the race and a lot of boats that were really pushing the pace at the front of the race.

“With just over two weeks until the Dusi there is not much else to do now and the hard work is over so we don’t want to think too much.

“The peloton looks super competitive and it’s going to make for a really exciting race,” added Birkett.

The pair from Maritzburg College will be favourites; however, Birkett is looking forward to taking on the Dusi with Evans because there’s more to the suit than just paddling.

“Dave is such a lekker guy so I really enjoy paddling and training with him. We’re fine in the boat and it’s great to have Dave’s power in the boat, but it’s also great fun paddling a race with a friend and I can’t wait to be there,” Birkett said. .

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