Cape Town – Two top contenders for Windhoek Berg river canoe marathon titles successfully completed the second leg of a rare canoeing trifecta this past weekend with emphatic victories in the Dunlop Surfski World Cup in Durban, entrenching their status as the hot favourites to complete a cleansweep of three major paddling titles inside a month.
Seven times Windhoek Berg champ Hank McGregor and Eastern Cape Olympian Michéle Eray romped to lopsided victories in the men’s and women’s divisions of the surfski international against a very strong field in brutal flat conditions that required great determination and stamina, just a week after both won their races in the Swartland marathon that covers a third of the Windhoek Berg course.
The crammed paddling calendar now moves to the Mauritius Surfski world Cup, which both McGregor and Eray look set to skip as they start to up their mileage ahead of the Windhoek Berg that starts in Paarl on 13 July.
“It’s been a tough few weeks of racing but this coming week is going to be really tough,” said Eray after her win in Durban. “I’m planning to do around 250km in training during the coming week before starting to taper down for the Windhoek Berg.”
For both athletes the wins in Durban were affirmations that they are on track with their preparations for the tough 243km odyssey from Paarl to Port Owen, and the completion of their three major titles inside a month.
“Winning the World Cup means a lot to me but it is also great to feel that I am where I want to be in terms of my form,” said McGregor after his third Dunlop Surfski World Cup win in five outings.
The two surfski stars who filled the minor places on the podium in Durban, Matt Bouman and Dawid Mockè were both unanimous in their claim that McGregor is the best paddler in the world at the moment.
Wins in the Windhoek Berg will not only complete this rare hat-trick of major victories inside a month, but will also make McGregor and Eray true champions, ready to join the ranks of the Legends of the Windhoek Berg.
The Windhoek Berg River Canoe Marathon takes place from 13 to 16 July 2011, preceded by a time trial on 12 July.
More information can be found at www.windhoekberg.co.za
Not For Sale to Persons Under the Age of 18. Drink Responsibly.