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Louw-1

Historic Hansa Fish decides 2015 SA K2 titles

Cradock – Greg Louw has written his name into the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon record books by becoming the first Eastern Cape paddler in seventeen years to win the event that doubled as the 2015 South African K2 Championships after he and Andy Birkett maintained their overnight lead while Abby Solms and Anna Kožíšková successfully defended their women’s title in style on Saturday.

Louw (Knysna Racing/Merrell) takes over the mantle from Daniel Conradie who was the first across the line back in 1998 and the fairytale result carried even greater significance after Friday’s opening stage which saw Birkett celebrate his birthday before Saturday marked Louw’s father, Butch’s birthday.

“It’s nice to get a win on a river that I’ve been paddling on since I was nine years old and obviously to get the win with a good mate like Andy (Birkett) makes it even more special!” said Louw.

“Andy and I decided to try hold the guys off this morning and when we got to Baroda bridge we heard we’d pulled a bit of time and so we put our heads down and went for it and that extra motivation was great,” he added.

Louw and Birkett enjoyed a flawless opening stage that handed them an overnight lead of two and a half minutes over rivals Hank McGregor and Jasper Mocké and the pair called on all their experience as a combination as well as Louw’s local river knowledge to claim the memorable victory.

“This is a really special victory!” said Birkett (Euro Steel). “Greg and I have had a tough year; we’ve really put in a lot of effort and haven’t got some of the results we wanted so to pull off a win a Fish is a bit of a surprise but a really nice end to the season!”

McGregor (Jeep Team/Kayak Centre) and Mocké (Mocké Paddling) put in a brave effort throughout the two day clash but in the end the effect of the long haul back from the ICF Ocean Racing World Championships in Taihiti was just too great and the pair had to settle for a deserved second place.

Macsteel Maestros’ Brandon van der Walt and Stu Maclaren started the day side-by-side with ‘Fisher King’ Len Jenkins and Soweto Canoe and Recreation Club’s Siseko Ntondini and the two crews enjoyed a monumental tussle up until Jenkins and Ntondini edged ahead shortly before Chicken Run where Van der Walt and Maclaren ploughed into a rock and snapped their pedals.

As ADreach’s Jenkins and Ntondini surged on to claim a remarkable third while Van der Walt and Maclaren’s misfortunes opened the doorway for Czech Republic’s Jakub Adam and Michael Odvarko to cross the line in fourth ahead of the Cape youngsters.

“I was quite surprised by our third; out of everyone I think I was the most surprised!” chuckled Jenkins afterwards. “Hats off to Siseko, he had all the fitness in the boat and I think I just added the experience!”

The women’s race was the Solms and Kožíšková show from start to finish as the unstoppable duo added a further six minutes to their near nine minute overnight buffer (continues on page 8)

Someset East Name Change on the Cards

SOMERSET EAST

It seems that Somerset East’s name is also up for change according to the invitation we received from the Sarah Baartman District Municipality. The Eastern Cape Geographical Names Committee (ECGNC) has sent an invitation out to Stakeholders regarding a Consultative Meeting on Standardization of Geographical name of Somerset East on 21 October in the Town Hall at 17h30. The invitation reads that the name needs to be restored to the original name Nojoli! Residents are encouraged to attend this meeting and voice their opinion regarding the matter.

Similar meetings have already taken place in our neighbouring towns Cradock and Graaff-Reinet.  A name change like this will have significant financial costs for all concerned. Remember to attend the meeting on 21 October at 17h30 in the Town Hall.

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