Upset on day one of the Fish
AFTER an action-packed day one at the Hansa Fish Marathon, two boats will set off for the title today.
Winning the first stage by the smallest of margins over defending champs Greg Louw and Andy Birkett were the crew of Stu MacLaren and Cyrille Carre (France).
MacLaren is having a great season, having recently won the Breede River Marathon.
“I have never been in this position in my life before [leading the Fish River Canoe Marathon],” MacLaren said after their stage win.
“Cyrille was incredible in the back of the boat and despite this being his first big river race he was so strong.”
Louw had the misfortune of losing his juice after a malfunction with his drinking sys- tem early which hampered his plans for the last 15km.
“It was a good day for us today despite the fact that I didn’t have juice until we got to Katkop,” Louw said.
“Fortunately I’ve got such a strong partner so he managed to get us to Katkop with the rest of the group.”
Today’s stage is 10km shorter and is a lot less technical and therefore will see the two crews going hammer and tongs for the just on two hours it takes for the top boats to finish day two.
Having grown up on the banks of the Fish River, Louw and Birkett will have a slight advantage going into the crucial final obstacle – the famous Cradock Weir.
A 2m drop with only 5km left to the finish line, the weir is the focal point of the marathon.
Huge crowds gather to witness the chaos of the fish-and-chips entrants giving it their all.
A reverse starting order ensures that the back markers can witness the top crews dicing for glory. Surprise package from day one were the team of Hank McGregor and Lee Furby coming home fourth.
McGregor and Furby decided to enter the Fish on a social basis as the pair are friends and business partners.
Furby, racing on the adrenaline of paddling with a sporting icon, would dearly love to move into a podium result today.
Leading the women’s race are Bridgette Hartley and Serbian Krisztina Bedec over Jenna Ward and Anna Kozikova.
With only a minute buffer between the two crews, a thrilling cat-and-mouse chase will decide who lifts the ladies’ crown.
Next week sees the kick-off of the Seagull Surfski Series from Pollok Beach, Summerstrand, comprising an 8km long-course and 4km shortcourse paddle.
OVERALL HONOURS: In a surprise result, the pairing of Stuart MacLaren, front, and Cyrille Carre claimed the end sprint to take the overall honours after the first stage of the 2017 Fish River Canoe Marathon yesterday