Canoeists battle it out at the Gauteng Canoe Union marathon

The pair won the 21km race in 01:38:51.

Wayne Jacobs and Bradley Boulle produced a tactical masterclass to win the men’s long course 21km K2 race during the Gauteng Canoe Union (GCU) marathon series four at Homestead Dam on May 11.

The pair were left in the front after the last portage, maintaining the lead after the last bouy to win the seven- and-a-half-lap race with an incredible sprint in 01:38:51.

Wayne Jacobs and Bradley Boulle in the lead on the portage.

“With the marathon, it’s always an advantage to take out first before the portage because it gives you a clear run.

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“If you can get back in and go away in the lead, it makes it a lot harder for the boats behind to get past you because they have to climb over your waves.

The GCU marathon series four took place at Homestead Dam.

“It was our strategy today, to try to get to that last portage first, put in first, and try to hold the lead until the finish,” Jacobs said.

At the start, it was clear it wasn’t going to be an easy race for the duo.

They found themselves pushed to the outside after the first bouy when their Dabulamanzi Canoe Club (Dabs) teammates, Michael-John Robb and Robert Crichton, and Benjamin Mntonintshi and Wongama Makasi wrestled for the lead.

Jacobs and Boulle allowed the leaders to dictate the pace and it remained so for much of the race, but their tactical intentions became clear in the penultimate lap when they pushed for the front.

Paddlers on the portage.

Going into the last lap, they stormed out of their boat the quickest and led the bunch into the portage.

They got back into the water first, maintained the lead, and after turning on the last bouy, effortlessly sprinted to the finish to grab the win.

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“It was an interesting race from start to finish. We did not take it for granted that we would be able to get to the finish first.

Robert Crichton and Michael-John Robb slightly ahead of Wayne Jacobs and Bradley Boulle.

“We had a good race. The tactics worked out well today. Luckily, we managed to come out on top,” added Jacobs.

Behind the duo was Mntonintshi and Makasi, who finished second in 01:38:52. Robb and Crichton clocked 01:38:53 to round off the podium.

Boulle credited the win to their good relationship, saying “We know each other well and it makes a great combo.

“It’s awesome. It started one afternoon when I asked Wayne if he’d be willing to paddle with me.

“We’ve spent close to 100 sessions since then. In the build-up to last year’s marathons, we seemed to get everything to work pretty well. We’ve just built up from that energy,” Boulle said.

Wayne Jacobs and Bradley Boulle ahead of Benjamin Mntonintshi and Wongama Makasi as they go into the last portage.

The paddler added that the next five weeks are crucial because they hope to qualify for the world championships in September in Croatia at the national marathon championships at Roodeplaat Dam from June 14 to 16.

Helen Jansen van Vuuren and Caitlyn Odell won the women’s race in 01:57:19. Jessica Lee and Elandre Zietsman (01:57:57) were second and Lesedi Bobo and Sibongile Rengoe (02:19:22) completed the top three.

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Theo Dreyer (01:47:25) won the men’s K1 race. Daniel van Eeden (01:48:38) was second, while Graham Montieth (01:52:27) was third.

Wayne Jacobs and Bradley Boulle lead the front bunch on the last lap.

Johan Grabe, Phanus Olivier and Chris Martin (01:58:57) grabbed the K3 spoils, while Shellee Nel (02:05:54) and Anton Nel won the mixed K2 race.

Ruoxi Hao won the guppy K1 race. Phamna Mpambani and Cayden Wilson were second and third, respectively.

Robert Crichton and Michael-John Robb.

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