Pietermaritzburg – On Sunday, KwaZulu-Natal canoeists begin an intensive six weeks of action which includes two of the most important races in the country, the Dusi Canoe Marathon and the N3TC Drak Challenge.
The Dusi has long been regarded as “THE” event on the South African canoeing calendar, and Sunday’s Kindo Covers Ozzie Gladwin on the Upper Mgeni River represents the beginning of the final preparations for the crews taking part in the iconic race on February 15-17
Starting at Albert Falls Dam, the Ozzie Gladwin is likely to give some clues as to who will be the combinations to watch in the three-day classic between Pietermaritzburg and Durban in mid-February.
A week later sees two back-to-back Dusi preparation races: The SMG 50 Miler from Dusi Bridge to Mfula Store on January 20th, and the Inanda to Durban race over the final day of the Dusi means entrants will be able to paddle most of the final two days of the Dusi in one weekend.
On February 4, Dusi competitors get a final chance to test equipment and bodies under racing conditions when the Campbell’s to Dusi Bridge race takes in almost the entire opening day of the three-day route.
All four of these Dusi preparation events, as well as the Dusi Canoe Marathon itself, have been united to form the new John Oliver Dusi Series. Any paddler who finishes all five events will be presented with a medal depicting one South African canoeing’s most loyal servants, well-known timekeeper and long-time race official, John Oliver.
Sandwiched between the Dusi action is the popular and prestigious two-day N3TC Drak Challenge on January 27-28. This event celebrates it 30th anniversary this year and has become so popular that it attracts one of the biggest entries of any race in the country and forms part of an exciting action sports festival based in the village of Underberg.