Dream duo of Birkett & McGregor lining up Dusi assault

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Source:  http://dusi.co.za/2017/11/30/dream-duo-of-birkett-mcgregor-lining-up-dusi-assault/

Andy Birkett dropped a bombshell ahead of the 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon from 15 to 17 February by confirming that he has scooped multiple world champion Hank McGregor as his partner for the three-day K2 championship race.

Birkett has won the Dusi K2 title four times, with three different partners – Jason Graham, Sbonelo Khwela and Lance Kime, while McGregor has also won the K2 race with the “Dusi Duke” Martin Dreyer.

With McGregor entrenched in his K2 partnership with Capetonain Jasper Mocké that has brought them repeated world K2 championship gold medals, few saw the Dusi combination with Birkett coming.

“I raised it just before the Fish this year,” said Birkett. “I was amped that he took it seriously and then got back to me and agreed to race together.

“He is such a great athlete with a phenomenal pedigree that I am so excited for this year’s race,” Birkett added.

While the pair have fought it out over a number of years for the various marathon titles throughout South Africa, the 2018 Dusi will be their second major outing together, after having won the 2015 Umkomaas Canoe Marathon.

Their rivalry has developed a mutual respect between the two and Birkett is looking forward to paddling in a boat with one of the all-time greats of canoeing.

“Hank has raced some great Dusi K2s races, but with paddlers that might not necessarily be specialist Dusi paddlers, so I am really keen to see what we can achieve together. We have become good friends over the years and I have a healthy respect for him.”

With McGregor living and working in Durban and Birkett based in Pietermaritzburg, the Euro Steel team mates will have to plan their training time together, and give themselves enough time to work out the set-up of their boat.

“I have no idea who will be driving the boat! I am holding thumbs that I can,” said Birkett.

“The truth is I am happy to be in the back of the boat if the boat works well that way. I focus on enjoying my time in the boat, and with the way that the K2 combinations are coming together at the moment, I am really looking forward to the FNB Dusi in February,” he concluded.

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The 2018 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from 15-17 February from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban.

Vaikobi On For Title Sponsor At Waterland Marathon

Technical clothing manufacturer Vaikobi has signed on as title sponsor for the Amsterdam Waterland Marathon with the longstanding race celebrating it's 46th running for the upcoming 2018 edition.  

The sponsorship is somewhat of a departure for Vaikobi, as the Australian-based company has in the past generally maintained support of only ocean races

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Last year, Molokai winner and former ICF Surfski World Champion Sean Rice made the jump over to the AWM,  wrangling a hard-fought tactical victory over stiff competition from seasoned marathon veterans. 

2017 Winner Sean Rice

2017 Winner Sean Rice

In what could be viewed as firing a shot over the bow, Rice stated that he "would be back and would bring friends", possibly foreshadowing the inclusion of more surfski paddlers throwing their hat in for the race. With Rice's extremely successful 2017 campaign, including some work on K1 marathon races, it's not a stretch to draw correlations to the benefits he received from his flat-water training. 

Description from the website:

Race Info

The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon is an international canoe race where the great champions and the recreational paddlers battle for the honor of winning  Netherlands oldest and largest canoe marathon.

The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon has been organized for 46 years. The race  is one of the unique leading events in the international canoe circuit and part of the Canoe Marathon Classic Series  of the International Canoe Federation. By participating in this serie participants can earn points for the classic marathon world championship. The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon enjoys a growing international popularity because of its classic racing form in a unique Dutch watery landscape.

The international fame has led to a growing foreign participation and a revival of the canoe marathon sport in the Netherlands. The Waterland Marathon offers Dutch talent the chance to compete with international players in a familiar environment. The Amsterdam Waterland Marathon hosts the Dutch national championships of marathon in the same race as the international event.

Spectacle is guaranteed , the race consists of a mass start and two challenging portages . Portages in the marathon sport always guarantee a spectacular race . In this marathon a particular portage is even  more spectacular weather .

The marathon provides international competitors with a great opportunity to visit the vibrant city of Amsterdam after the competition.

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