/ 27 November 2006

Duo break record in winning SA double-ski title

Hank McGregor and Clint Pretorius won the South African double-ski title in emphatic style at the weekend, breaking the record for the Hansa Knysna Sedgefield race and wrapping up a clean sweep of ski and river titles for McGregor.

The duo covered the course from Leisure Isle to Sedgefield in less than two hours, finishing three minutes ahead of the Cape Town crew of Dawid Mocke and Paul Marais, with the duo of Ian Trautmann and Peter Cole a further four minutes back.

The start of the race was delayed by 45 minutes because waves were breaking dangerously on the sand bar at the Knysna Heads.

”When we did get out there was a big swell running, and the trip out of the Heads was quite hair-raising,” said McGregor afterwards.

The pair broke away early on, but spent much of the race cautiously watching the other crews who were more familiar with the coastline. ”We shadowed them other top guys quite closely, from a lead of about 200m,” said McGregor.

McGregor and Pretorius made no mistakes and came home to break the record, which was set in very strong favourable winds several years ago, by a minute and a half.

The win completes the first-ever clean sweep of national river and ski titles in a calendar year, as McGregor added the SA S2 medals to those he won at the SA S1 champs in Durban, the SA K1 champs on the Tracker Highlands Challenge and the SA K2 champs on the Hansa Powerade Fish.

”As soon as people started talking about winning all the river and ski titles in one year it became a challenge to me,” said McGregor. ”In both the ski races and river races there are so many unknowns, so many risks and things that can go wrong, that it became a real challenge to me personally to try and win them all in one year.”

Rebecca Newson and Jackie Barns took home the women’s title after a comfortable 14-minute victory gap over Kirsty Wessels and Nicola Irvine, while Donia Kamstra partnered Craig Tilsley to victory in the mixed category, finishing in 15th place overall.

Joe Boy and Mark Lewin were equally emphatic winners in the master’s class, finishing five minutes ahead of Shaun Butler and Christo Smit. The race is part of the Men’s Health Discovery Cape summer series. — Sapa