With just over a week to go until the 2023 Dusi Canoe Marathon, Christie Mackenzie and Msawenkosi Mtolo showed their strong form with both winning the K1 Kindo Covers Dash n Crash on Saturday and the Kayak Craft Campbell’s to Dusi Bridge on Sunday.
The Dash n Crash is as described a dash for paddlers taking in the first part of the Dusi route as they scope out the river from the start at Camps Drift to the pool just below Mussons rapid. With a lap on Camps Drift included, the race is a short, sharp 8km and Mtolo and Mackenzie proved too strong for the rest of the competition.
In the men’s race, Mtolo managed to hang on to beat Hamish Mackenzie by thirteen seconds, with Mackenzie holding off Jeremy Maher for second.
Christie Mackenzie’s win in the women’s event was not one-sided as she was closely followed over the finish by Bridgitte Hartley. Euro Steel’s Mackenzie managed to hold off Hartley to win by a narrow six seconds with the pair ending ninth and tenth overall.
Nix Birkett also put in a strong performance to finish in third place in the women’s race and ended up just 45 seconds behind Hartley.
The Dash n Crash is an important pre-Dusi race for the top paddlers as they earn important seeding points for such a short race and Team MyLife’s Mtolo has put himself in the mix following his strong results.
Following on from her win the at N3TC Drak Challenge last weekend, Mackenzie leads the way in the women’s seeded batch and continues her brilliant form that she has been carrying throughout the summer season.
Sunday’s Campbell’s to Dusi Bridge provides paddlers with a good opportunity to trip the majority of the first day of the Dusi and Mackenzie claimed her third pre-Dusi victory with a dominant performance.
Mackenzie showed how strong she is with a twenty-minute win over second place Hillary Bruss, while Birkett claimed her second consecutive third-place finish.
What was more impressive about Mackenzie’s performance on Sunday was the fact that she finished fourteenth overall.
In the men’s race on Sunday, Mtolo was also in fine form as he claimed victory by just under one minute and 20 seconds ahead of Banetsi Nkoesa, while Thabani Msia rounded out the podium positions.
The large amount of rain that has fallen over KwaZulu-Natal in the last fourteen months has meant that the water-table is high and paddlers are looking forward to fantastic water levels for the Dusi from 16-18 February.
Dusi organisers have confirmed there will be a full water release from Henley Dam, along with assistance from Nagle Dam and with Inanda Dam still spilling, the water levels will be favourable and enjoyable for all.