After announcing his arrival on the big-time canoeing stage by winning the Dusi K2 title with Andy Birkett in February, Dave Evans has set his sights on the podium at the N3TC Drak Challenge on 28 and 29 January as part of his preparation for the K1 Dusi a few weeks later.
Last year Evans tucked in alongside eventual Drak winner Birkett to claim a third place overall and walked away with the Under 23 laurels, and says he is keen to take the lessons learnt last year into this year’s Drak campaign.
“This is one of my favourite races of the year and I am super excited for this year’s Drak,” said the Maties student.
“We are going up to Underberg for a family holiday so I will get to spend some time on the river and enjoy it,” he said.
Having spent time on the uMzimkhulu River with Birkett preparing for last year’s race, Evans knows that the difference between success and disappointment at the Drak Challenge comes down to avoiding small mistakes on the river.
“I need to up my river skills to be able to read the river well and make good decisions on the water,” he said.
Evans and Birkett did their homework last year and the measured decision to use the left channel at Heaven and Hell rapid on the full river allowed Birkett to shake off the challenge of Hank McGregor to claim his eighth Drak title, and helped Evans hold off the charging Banetse Nkhoesa for the last spot on the podium.
A product of the prolific Maritzburg College canoeing pipeline, Evans is quick to point out that the Drak Challenge always attracts a very strong elite field, making it a prized title.
“There will be the usual group of all the big names competing. It makes it so much fun to be racing them on that river with it’s incredible scenery,” said Evans.