The most fun you can have canoeing! 28, 29 January 2023

Scott Little leads FastDrak charge

Underberg local Scott Little grabbed a maiden win at the one-day FastDrak canoe marathon on Friday 30 December as eight of top ten places went to Under 23 paddlers.

Little adds his name to his older brother Stew’s name on the race trophy after wrapping up a remarkable record-breaking win on a very full uMzimkhulu River over the 60km course from Castleburn to uMzimkhulu River Lodge.

Little said that the race had started after the first stage of the N3TC Drak Challenge, where the portage at the Swartberg Road bridge saw Jeremy Maher fall off the front bunch of four boats.

“That left myself with Msawenkosi Mtolo and Matthew Fenn,” said Little. “At the portage around The Mineshaft weir Msawe dropped off, which left myself and Matt Fenn together.

“It was such good racing. It was all clean and we had good chats on the water. We have raced each other in the past and I know him from school days.

“Going into the last rapid I managed to get a few boat lengths on him and I didn’t look back after that,” said the Euro Steel team racer.

“Getting the win after my brother had done it twice was something really important and special for me,” he added. “Winning this race as a Underberg local is also really special. It has been on my list.

“The full level was really forgiving and clean, especially in the top section,” he added. “For the Drak Challenge, if it drops just a little everyone will have the best time on the water.”

Border under 23 ace Matt Fenn was full value for his runner-up finish, holding off another Underberg local Andrew Houston in third.

Multiple world champ and former Drak winner Hank McGregor partnered his wife Pippa to sixth place overall and the first K2 to the finish, rounding off a great 2022 that saw them win the mixed doubles title at the Masters Cup at the marathon world champs in Portugal.

Ross Palframan was the first junior home, finishing in the top ten to complete the dominance by the younger paddlers on the full river.

Following up on her win the recent KZN Mixed Doubles Champs on the same river Christie Mackenzie won the women’s title, holding off a determined Jordy Peek, both women finishing in the top twenty overall, with The Wykeham Collegiate junior Emma Hatfield racing onto the last step of the women’s podium.

The excellent turnout for the race bodes well for the N3TC Drak Challenge in four weeks time, as words spreads about the full river following the heavy rainfalls of this summer.

1. Scott Little 3:31:55
2. Matt Fenn 3:32:00
3. Andrew Houston 3:36:40
4. Ross Leslie 3:38:59
5. Brad Boulle 3:39:31
6. Hank McGregor/Pippa McGregor 3:40:10
8. Hamish Mackenzie 3:44:34
8. Sam Butcher 3:44:50
9. Jack Edmonds 3:45:59
10. Ross Palframan (1st junior) 3:48:52

1. Christie Mackenzie 3:57:51
2. Jordan Peek 3:59:59
3. Emma Hatfield 4:12:33
4. Hillary Bruss 4:16:31
5. Jessica Behn 4:30:49