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Hank, Grant team up for win

The final day’s racing at the Hansa SA Canoe Marathon Championships saw four seasons in one day — sunny one minute, with howling wind and rain the next, and then back to beautiful sunshine.

Unlike the climatic inconsistency, Hank McGregor and Grant van der Walt were consistently on top of their game throughout the weekend. McGregor claimed the SA K1 Marathon title on Saturday, with Van der Walt in second, and then together they powered home to take the SA K2 Marathon title on Sunday, five seconds ahead of second placed Ant Stott and Graeme Solomon.

Line honours aside, the story of the day must be that of Jacques Theron and Piers Cruickshanks who, in a heroic effort, clawed their way back to claim the final podium position and the SA Marathon Champs bronze after taking an unfortunate swim 200m into the race.

The senior women’s race once again had a disappointing two-boat turn out. The 2010 Hansa SA Canoe Marathon women’s champions, Lindi-May Harmsen and Abby Adie, raced away to finish three minutes ahead of the Maree sisters from the Eastern Cape.

In the Junior boys K2 racing, the K1 champion and K1 silver medallist, Brandon van der Walt and Ivan Kruger, raced the 21km course in a league of their own, finishing six minutes ahead of the second-placed boat of Joseph Williams and Diviona Pieterson.

The very promising Juniors girls category provided some much-needed excitement in the women’s competition, with Emma Horner and Jenna Ward just pipping K1 champion and silver medallist combination of Kerry Segal and Melanie van Niekerk to the post by a mere nine seconds over the 17km course.

Marathon organiser and representative of hosts Plett and Knysna Canoe clubs, Rob Hyde was very positive about the event, ÔÇ£It went very smoothly. It was fantastic to have a great sponsor, SAB Hansa, on board, John Oliver’s input was once again invaluable, and ultimately it was a fantastic event at a beautiful venue.ÔÇØ

The team to travel to the World Marathon Championship to be held in Spain in September, will be announced later this week.

Results

Senior Men
1    Grant van der Walt and Hank McGregor 2hr 09min
2    Ant Stott and Graeme Solomon 2:09:05
3    Jacques Theron and Piers Cruickshanks 2:10.19
Under-16 and Under-18 Boys
1    Ivan Kruger and Brandon van der Walt 1:34:42
2    Joseph Williams and Diviono Pieterson 1:40:49
3    Ruan Knobel and Vaughn Warren 1:40:55

Senior Women
1    Lindi-May Harmsen and Abby Adie 2:06:15
2    Suzette Maree and Hanre Maree 2:09:46
Under-16 and Under-18 Girls
1    Emma Horner and Jenna Ward 1:27:54
2    Melanie van Niekerk and Kerry Segal 1:28:03
3    Jenna Starr and Brittany Peterson 1:33.24


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