Birkett and Kime shine in Ozzie victory

Birkett and Kime shine in Ozzie victory

Pietermaritzburg – Andy Birkett and Lance Kime outwitted and outsmarted a class field of canoeists to claim the key Ozzie Gladwin presented by Parklane Superspar laurels on the upper Mngeni River on Sunday.

Lance Kime (front) and Andy Birkett (Euro Steel) negotiate the Albert Falls weir en route to victory in the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Lance Kime (front) and Andy Birkett (Euro Steel) negotiate the Albert Falls weir en route to victory in the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

The Euro Steel duo were paddling together for only the second time, following a skittish outing at the NCC Dice on Thursday evening, but put it all together on the day to win their first race together, and sound an ominous warning at the start of the FNB Dusi season.

Racing in superb river conditions, thanks to a coordinated ten cumecs water transfer from Albert Falls Dam to Nagle Dam Birkett and Kime found themselves locked in a needle three boat tussle with the ADreach pairing of ten times Ozzie Gladwin winner Len Jenkins and young Siseko Ntondini, and the early season pacesetters Sbonelo Khwela (Euro Steel/Red Bull) and Banetse Nkhoesa (Euro Steel/Computershare Change a Life Academy).

Khwela and Nkhoesa finished second, satisfied with their showing and bowing to the superior knowledge of the intricacies of the lines in the closing stages of the race.

Sbonelo Khwela and Banetse Nkhoesa (Euro Steel/Red Bull) at the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Sbonelo Khwela and Banetse Nkhoesa (Euro Steel/Red Bull) at the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

The intriguing crew of World Champion Hank McGregor and former Dusi winner Jason Graham looked like they were going to be a significant factor in the race after leading the pack off Albert Falls Dam after the first three kilometres flatwater haul. However McGregor (Jeep Team/Euro Steel) struggled with his drinking system, which hamstrung their progress on the two kilometre portage around the dam wall, and by the time they put in on the Mngeni River they had been dropped by the lead trio.

Local Thulani Mbanjwa and Cape-based Shaun Rubenstein showed that their plans to cobble together a serious FNB Dusi challenge were to be taken seriously as they raced into the top five, edging out Ant Stott and Carl Folscher.

The women’s race quickly fell into the clutches of pre-race favourites Abby Solms and Jenna Ward (Euro Steel/MacSquad). After exiting the dam leg in a tightly packed group of strong female K2 crews, they ran their way into the lead on the portage and then paddled away to post a flawless day and a four and a half minute victory over Bridgitte Hartley and Donna Tutton. For Solms and Ward, they can look forward to extending their flourishing partnership into next weekend’s 50 Miler on the FNB Dusi course, before they pair up with their respective partners for the three day classic from Camps Drift to Blue Lagoon in February.

Women's race winners Abby Solms and Jenna Ward (Euro Steel/MacSquad) take the lead at the Albert Falls Weir during the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Women’s race winners Abby Solms and Jenna Ward (Euro Steel/MacSquad) take the lead at the Albert Falls Weir during the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Promising Team Euro Steel juniors Cana Peek and Kyeta Purchase rounded off the women’s podium, and might have been able to improve on their overall result had Peek not been battling with the after effects of having run the tough 21km Sani Stagger the day before.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
1. Andy Birkett/Lance Kime 1:51:35.18
2. Sbonelo Khwela/Banetse Nkhoesa 1:51:55.30
3. Len Jenkins/Siseko Ntondini 1:52:09.18
4. Hank McGregor/Jason Graham 1:55:.93 (1st sub-vets)
5. Shaun Rubenstein/Thulani Mbanjwa 1:55:41.48

WOMEN
1. Abby Solms/Jenna Ward 2:04:57.10
2. Bridgitte Hartley/Donna Tutton 2:09:14.13
3. Cana Peek/Kyeta Purchase 2:14:11.12
4. Christie MacKenzie/Caitlin MacKenzie 2:25:05.38
5. Kim Peek/Jordan Peek 2:26:49.31

Juniors Cana Peek and Kyeta Purchase (Euro Steel) raced onto the overall women's podium at the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Juniors Cana Peek and Kyeta Purchase (Euro Steel) raced onto the overall women’s podium at the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

MIXED
1. Thembinkosi Ngcobo/Nosipho Mthembu 2:16:41.20
2. Shaun Dias/Anke Malan 2:19:04.84
3. James Hackland/Jean Hackland 2:21:01.97

More info can be found at www.ozziegladwin.co.za

 

Determination is etched all over the face of this young paddler leading the Guppy Race that precedes the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media

Determination is etched all over the face of this young paddler leading the Guppy Race that precedes the Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, presented by Parklane Superspar, on Sunday 29 November. Anthony Grote/ Gameplan Media