After a four year hiatus the K2 paddling crew of Ant Stott and Carl Folscher signalled its return to top form with an impressive second in the recent 50 Miler, putting them squarely in the podium frame for Dusi Canoe Marathon from 27 to 29 February.
Stott, a former Dusi winner and world marathon champion, says he is thriving on his return to competitive K2 racing with Folscher because theirs is a combination that works instinctively.
“The 50 Miler was our first race back in a boat together since the 2016 Dusi!” said an excited Stott.
“It is one of those combinations that just works. We quickly find good rhythm and most importantly we are a happy combination,” he added.
“Some crews just are not comfortable, and start to opt for training sessions in their K1s. We are not like that at all. We like paddling together and really look forward to our K2 training sessions,” he said.
The paddling veteran says he relies on Folscher to provide the power to the boat, in return for which he contributes his wealth of paddling experience and tactical know-how on the Dusi.
“I might have lost some of my strength as I have gotten older but Carl is so strong and makes up for all my weaknesses,” said Stott, who first win the Dusi with Kelby Murray in 1998, and added a K2 win with Martin Dreyer to his two K1 titles.
Stott has built up a formidable reputation for his attacks on the second stage of the Dusi, but says this has come about out of necessity rather than strategy.
“I have often found myself further back than I would have liked after the first stage, where running is vital, so I have had to go for broke on the second stage.
“The fact that it has worked out so well for me in the past is a big positive that we can take into the upcoming Dusi,” said Stott.
“It is a tough day, but I just love it. Everything about it, even the dam leg at the end.
“Day Two is a ‘suffer day’,” he added. “The guys who are able to suffer the most are the ones that do the best.”
Stott is invigorated by the looming Dusi K2 challenge, and is quick to single out Andy Birkett and Kumbulani Nzimande as out-and-out favourites for the win.
“They are ridiculous and such a well-rounded Dusi crew,” said Stott. “Sbonelo Khwela and Thulani Mbanjwa will be rock solid. Watch Stew Little and Jacques Theron,” said Stott.
His dark horse crew is the Cape challenge from Lance Kime and Shaun Rubenstein.
“They are both beasts! They both run far better than people give them credit for and I know having training with both of them that they just never give up,” Said Stott.
The 2020 Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place for 27 to 29 February 2020.