By Nick Tatham | Gameplan Media – Photography: John Hishin
Hungarian star Adrian Boros wrote his name into Berg River Canoe Marathon history when he became the first international paddler to win the four-day odyssey to the West Coast while Bianca Beavitt was equally impressive on her way to a third consecutive crown on Saturday.
Boros had a 3 minute 20 second advantage going into the final stage with the 57km stage standing between him and a historic win on Saturday, and he powered to yet another end-sprint win over Graeme Solomon to claim the overall victory.
As hard as Solomon attempted to shrug off the European marathon star, he matched him pound-for-pound to claim a deserving victory.
“I am really tired,” an elated Boros said after his win.
“It is a long way from the start to here but I am really happy that I made it to the finish.
“When Graeme (Solomon) made that one mistake on the second day I was able to capitalise and I managed to keep that advantage all the way to the end.
“I want to be back next year but we will just have to wait and see.”
Despite his eighth second place finish at this year’s Berg River Canoe Marathon, Bamboo Warehouse’s Graeme Solomon was philosophical in his reflection of the race.
“I finished fifth in the last two Bergs so I thought my podium days might be over but it’s great to be sharing the podium with guys like Adrian and Petr,” the 44 year-old mentioned.
“This year was really tough because of my weight but every Berg has different difficulties and I feel good that I was able to compete with guys that are nearly half my age!”
The ladies race was never a contest as Century City/Pink Lady’s Bianca Beavitt blitzed the chasing Kirsten Penderis and Robyn Henderson from the start in Paarl on Wednesday to the finish on Saturday.
She had a tough opening day by her high standards, however three flawless days followed allowing her to take her third consecutive Berg River Canoe Marathon title, and a hugely impressive 12th consecutive stage win on Saturday.
“I don’t think the win has quite sunk in yet but it is always glorious to get to the end,” she said with a smile at the finish in one piece.
“I lost the bunch quite early today after getting caught on a sandbank but then I got into a great bunch of four and it was a great day working together.
“If you had asked me if I would do one Berg five years ago I would have said never! But I am here, I don’t think I learn my lesson!”
The fight for second and third in the ladies race continued on the final day with Robyn Henderson finishing ahead of Kirsten Penderis, however Penderis’ advantage prior to the start on Saturday meant that she took second by four minutes over Henderson.
Another interesting battle was the fight for the Under 23 Berg crown. Going into the final stage Varsity College’s Tom Lovemore held the cards however Mthobisi Cele and Alan Houston were also well in the mix.
Unfortunately for Lovemore he withdrew during the final stage which left Houston and Cele to fight it out for the U23 title and what incredibly came down to sprint finish, that Houston won, it was Martin Dreyer’s Change a Life star Cele who took the age group honours by 0.93 seconds.
Taking third in the Under 23 age category was Mpilo Zondi after four days of solid paddling.
The Under 18 age category was a one-sided affair with the up-and-coming Change a Life youngster Mvelo Ngidi finishing tenth overall.
Second Under 18 was Kelly Tarr, who finished 41 minutes behind Ngidi, while third Under 18 went to the impressive Under 16 paddler Bartho Visser.
More information can be found at www.berg.org.za
SUMMARY OF RESULTS – STAGE THREE AND OVERALL
2017 BERG RIVER CANOE MARATHON
1.Adrián Boros (HUN) 4:42.35 16:53.11
2.Graeme Solomon 4:42.36 16:56.31
3.Petr Mojžíšek (CZE) 4:43.08 17:29.30
4.Mthobisi Cele (U23) 5:02.18 17:48.23
5.Alan Houston (U23) 5:02.17 17:48.23
6.Mpilo Zondi (U23) 5:03.10 17:55.15
7.Keith Moule (GBR) 4:44.04 17:56.26
8.Heinrich Schloms 5:02.21 18:05.13
9.Phillip Smith 5:02.19 18:16.08
10.Mvelo Ngidi (U18) 5:07.23 18:20.41
11.Luke Stowman (U23) 5:13.15 18:55.20
12.Roy Clegg 5:09.14 18:55.47
13.Richard Allen 5:12.25 18:56.43
14.Anders Hart (U23) 5:09.14 18:59.31
15.Kelly Tarr (U18) 5:12.26 19:01.34
1.Bianca Beavitt 5:25.32 19:20.48
2.Kirsten Penderis 5:42.03 20:33.24
3.Robyn Henderson 5:36.07 20:37.38
1.Mthobisi Cele 5:02.18 17:48.23
2.Alan Houston 5:02.17 17:48.23
3.Mpilo Zondi 5:03.10 17:55.15
4.Luke Stowman 5:13.15 18:55.20
5.Anders Hart 5:09.14 18:59.31
1.Mvelo Ngidi 5:07.23 18:20.41
2.Kelly Tarr 5:12.26 19:01.34
3.Bartho Visser (U16) 5:42.01 19:49.55