Thulani Mbanjwa (front) and Msawenkosi Mtolo took first stage honors
Stage two of the Dusi Canoe Marathon promises plenty of intrigue and excitement on Friday as the chase crews are ready to battle to catch the leaders from Thursday.
The three-day Dusi K2 event kicked off at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday morning and will end at Durban’s Blue Lagoon on Saturday.
The first day of the race, which included a lot of racing, produced some upsets after Thulani Mbanjwa and Msawenkosi Mtolo won the men’s stage, while Bianca Haw and Abby Solms dominated the women’s category that day.
Mbanjwa and Mtolo reached the finish line at Dusi Bridge in the Valley of a Thousand Hills in a time of 2h 39min 48sec, just ahead of title favorites Andy Birkett and David Evans (2:40:21).
Nqobile Makhanya and Sibonelo Khwela finished third in 2:42:29.
Mbanjwa, who won the Dusi K2 title in 2008, said he was confident of breaking Birkett’s eight-game winning streak.
“Our plan was to finish day one as number one and we’re happy we were able to achieve that. I think we paddled and raced really well. Our team is really balanced and I think we’ll do well on day two. day too.
Thulani Mbanjwa, veteran canoeist
Mtolo said the basic plan for stage two is to “hold Birkett back and, although the gap is not too big, we will try to push ourselves as hard as we can again.”
Birkett and Evans, who led until Campbell’s Farm, made some costly mistakes but are determined to come back on Friday.
“I’ve been in the situation many times before where I didn’t win on day one, but I was able to bounce back,” Birkett said. “We felt good in our race and good in our paddle, I think a few mistakes on my part helped them get away a few times, but they were also strong and they didn’t make any mistakes. Dave was strong in the back of the boat. We felt comfortable together and can’t wait to race again tomorrow.
In the women’s section, Haw and Solms will start day two with a solid lead after finishing in 3:05:52 on Thursday, ahead of Jordan Peek and Christie Mackenzie who finished the stage in 3:13:58. Bridgitte Hartley and Pippa McGregor took third place for the first leg in 3:21:18.
Abby Solms (front) and Bianca Haw won the first stage of the 2022 MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon yesterday. PHOTOS: Anthony Grote/gameplan media
“We had a good race, beautiful and clean. No major mistakes and I stayed strong until the end of day one,” said the very experienced Solms.
“We thought we weren’t the strongest paddlers, but we were putting in the time on the paddles. I think the runs were just long enough for the strong paddlers to get really tired from getting back in the water. But tomorrow there is a long race at the end, which is not normal, so it could be another day for the runners.
Ha insisted they weren’t going to take it easy despite their solid lead. “Anything can happen in the Dusi. I had this gap before where I was number two and we were able to catch up. We’ll just try to keep it as smooth as possible and have a great day. We really have to be consistent tomorrow, that’s our plan of action,” Haw said.
SELECTED RESULTS FROM THE FIRST STAGE
1. Thulani Mbanjwa/Msawenkosi Mtolo 2:39:48
2. Andy Birkett/Dave Evans 2:40:21
3. Nqobile Makhanya/Sbonelo Khwela 2:42:29
1. Abby Solms/Bianca Haw 3:05:52
2. Jordan Peek/Christie Mackenzie 3:13:58
3. Bridgitte Hartley/Pippa McGregor 3:21:18