With the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships just a week away, paddling fever gripped the Camps Drift venue on Friday evening when another massive field took part on the series-ending race of the Euro Steel McGregor Paddle Series.
In a race that focussed on competitive K2 racing, McGregor himself raced in a K1 and finished a modest fifth in a contest that was dictated, appropriately, by some of the sports rising stars.
Juniors Hamish Lovemore and Callum Davis claimed the tense overall victory, edging out Tom Lovemore and Bryan le Roux, with teenagers Hamish Lovemore and David Evans right in the mix in third.
The on-form women’s crew of Michelle Burn and Hayley Nixon had the perfect dress rehearsal for their world title bid next Sunday by posting an emphatic win in the women’s race, with fellow Team SA racers Jenna Ward and Nikki Russell second, and making the most of the competitive outing on the Camps Drift course.
The popular short course option was also very well supported, despite the chilly and blustery conditions, where youngster Fanele Mkhunya posted an impressive victory, as did Jessica Erasmus in the girls division.
“It is just fantastic to paddle past the youngsters in their Guppies and to hear them call my name. I really believe that there is another world champion on the water amongst these guys and girls,” said McGregor.
“The series was all about putting something back into the sport, and creating opportunities to get more youngsters paddling and inspiring them to progress in the sport,” he added.
The race was supported by a number of international paddlers keen to test the Camps Drift layout before their races in the Masters Cup and the World Champs proper next week.
“It was surreal paddling with such a big field on the course that I will be racing the worlds in a few day’s time. There is such a great vibe at Camps Drift right now,” said McGregor.
More information can be found at www.mcgregorpaddleseries.co.za
RACE FIVE MCGREGOR PADDLE SERIES, The Euro Steel Camps Drift Race
1 Callam Davis/Hamish Lovemore 0:31:28.18
2 Thomas Lovemore/Bryan Leroux 0:31:31.98
3 Hamish Mackenzie/David Evans 0:31:45.10
4 Thulani Mbanjwa/Banesti Nkhoesa 0:32:18.96
5 Hank McGregor 0:32:53.98
1 Hayley Nixon/Michelle Burn 0:33:52.63
2 Jenna Ward/Nikki Russell 0:35:32.40
3 Christie Mackenzie/Sabina Lawrie 0:36:48.99
1 Fanele Mkhunya 23:54.36
2 Seluleko Gcwensa 24:02.69
3 Kevin Khanyile 24:06.34