Kime and Mbanjwa set for tough K2 challenge
Defending singles champion Lance Kime is quietly confident of adding a K2 title to the K1 he won 12 months ago when the Dusi canoe marathon gets underway in Pietermaritzburg on Thursday.
FILE PICTURE: General view of a large crowd watching the padddlers as they paddle through Mission Rapid during day 1 of The Unlimited Duzi 2013 from Camps Drift to Duzi Bridge on February 14, 2013 in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Picture: Anthony Grote / Gallo Images
The 2014 river marathon has a singles (K1) and doubles (K2) classification with Kime being partnered by Thulani Mbanjwa, the 2008 K2 winner with Dusi legend Martin Dreyer.
The pair are among the leading contender for the three-day race between Camps Drift and Blue Lagoon in Durban, although the big favourites appear to be three-time ex-champion Andy Birkett and Sbonelo Zondi.
Kime has also thrown two-time victor Hank McGregor and his Cape partner Jasper Mocke into the mix as the clock ticks down to the start of the 63rd edition of the world-famous race.
“From seeing how they’ve done together in the build-up, Andy and Sbonelo are definitely the favourites. They are looking very, very strong at the moment,” Kime said on Wednesday.
“Also Hank and Jasper have done very well together pre-race. We saw them in a few other races earlier in the year and they dominated both of us. I think they’re going to surprise many people because we don’t quite know where they are fitness-wise.”
Kime, who won the 2013 race in record time, is hopeful his maiden victory last year, together with Mbanjwa’s experience, will count in their favour. He expects the pair which makes the fewest mistakes to cross the line first on Saturday.
“I think there’s so much that can happen in a Dusi, so I’d like to think we’re in with a chance,” Kime said.
“I don’t think we’re quite as strong as Andy and Sbonelo judging by how the pre-races have gone … but, as in the past, the boat that makes the fewest mistakes wins.
“Anyone can make mistakes. We’ll try and keep them to a minimum and that will hopefully leave us in contention come day three.”
Birkett, who dominated the race for three years prior to the arrival of Kime, agreed cutting out errors was key.
“We’ll be keeping to our own game plan, which is always the right tactic to have in the Dusi,” he said.
“It is a very tough race and it’s going to be very competitive.
“It’s a three day race, so you have to be consistent and be one of the fastest boats without making mistakes.”
In the women’s race, 2012 K2 winners Robyn Kime and “Dusi Queen” Abbey Ulansky, are back to defend their title.
Kime has won the race for the past four years, while Ulansky had won it during the six years prior to 2010.
Their closest challenge is expected to come from Ana Adamova and Abby Adie or Hilary Pitchford and Alex Adie.