McGregor father and son win 74km Dolphin Coast Challenge

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 07:08 | Written by  Richard Philps and Anton Fouche
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Hank and Lee McGregor win the 2012 Stellar Kayaks/Citadel Dolphin Coast Challenge in cracking style last weekend. Hank and Lee McGregor win the 2012 Stellar Kayaks/Citadel Dolphin Coast Challenge in cracking style last weekend. Credits: Lynne Hauptfleisch

The 2-day, 74km Stellar Kayaks Dolphin Coast Challenge is one of the iconic surfski races in South Africa and 2012 was its 13th running. 

Surf & Sun & Wind (usually)

The event is run over two days between Zinkwazi and Durban on the Kwazulu-Natal North Coast, and is centred around Salt Rock.  Typical conditions:  A combination of challenging starts and finishes through big surf and cracking downwind (although the weather gods didn't cooperate this year) plus warm water, and plenty of wildlife – it’s not called the Dolphin Coast for nothing!

Day 1 - Brutal

The wind did not quite produce the goods and race organizers had a tough time deciding the start times to best fit the prevailing conditions - and in the end the paddlers had to contend with a gentle northerly breeze at their backs that did nothing to cool them down.

Dolphin Coast Challenge - double surfskis start

The start of day 1 - although the condtions were relatively mild, several crews took a swim on the way out

The field got away fairly cleanly through a moderate sea and the race soon turned into a fierce duel between Daryl Bartho/Scott Rutherfoord and the father-son combination of Lee & Hank McGregor.

The McGregor duo eventually edged out their opponents by one minute with the Nisbet brothers taking third.

There was many a comment on how tough it had been with the majority of the field chasing the elusive runs a little too hard at the start leaving little in the tank for the last hour from Umhlanga home. In the words of Kim Parkes the day was "Brutal".

Kites + no wind = rescue!

The light winds died completely at one stage which resulted in a number of kite boarders being stranded out yonder with dumped kites and a long swim home. Rowan Mathews partnered by Greg Worthington as well as Anton Fouche & Derek Hauptfleisch selflessly sacrificed their position in the race to help out these hapless souls by dragging them back to the beach. 

Salt Rock delivered as always some entertainment for the crowd, as the paddlers threaded their way through backline and shorebreak to the beach.

And, as is the way with the weather gods, a southwesterly buster came roaring through in the afternoon providing what would have been perfect downwind conditions...  Would it stick around for day 2?  No, it would not!  And the paddlers were greeting with a lovely day... for sunbathing...  

Day 2 – Challenging

The swell had strengthened overnight and the field spread out along the beach as the paddlers attempted to find the easiest launch.

Although the breeze had died, the overnight wind had left a small bump on the ocean which the old sea dogs tried desperately to use to their advantage.

More entertainment for the crowd as a number of crews were knocked back to shore having to re-launch after energy sapping swims to retrieve craft and equipment.

Both the day and the overall race title again belonged to the McGregors with the balance of the podium positions remaining unchanged from the first leg.

“The athleticism of the likes of men like Lee McGregor and Tony Scott both in their sixties defy belief,” said race director Anton Fouche.  “Both of them beat competitors half their age. Hats off to you both as well as the juniors and ladies who take on such daunting races.”

Leading juniors

Juniors Calvin McKie & Gene Prato finished in a very credible ninth overall.

Whoooops!

For some of us the shore break was little more testing!!! Race Director “Foosch” (Anton Fouche) and partner “Pocket “(Derek Haupfleisch) lived to tell the story.

Shore break!

 Peter Rowan and partner finishing day 2 in style - Zinkwazi Shore Break!!!

Women’s Race

Nicole Russell made up for her disappointing trip to the US Champs (where a broken rudder cable resulted in a DNF) in paddling with Jenna Wade to a highly creditable 21st place overall.

Finishing in style!

Nicole Russell and Jenna Ward took the ladies title they finished 21st overall well done ladies.

Commendations

The following paddlers completed their 10th Challenge:

  • Quinton Rutherford      
  • Tony Scott          
  • Ross Poacher

Great Race

The Dolphin Coast lived up to its name with numerous pods of dolphins, humpback whales, manta rays and several species of sea birds sighted by paddlers and safety crews on route.

The Salt Rock Hotel’s pool deck provided the perfect setting for the post race formalities and much needed rehydration.

A big thank you to all our sponsors...

Dolphin Coast Challenge

Overall Results

PosTimeCategoryCrew
1 04:50:00 Seniors HANK MC GREGOR & LEE MC GREGOR
2 04:54:30 Seniors DARYL BARTHO & SCOTT RUTHERFOORD
3 05:00:42 Seniors LUKE NISBET & ADAM NISBET
4 05:12:36 Seniors BARRY LEWIN & STEMBISO MBATHA
5 05:15:17 Veterans WARREN VALENTINE & TRAVIS WILKINSON
6 05:16:45 Seniors QUINTON RUTHERFORD & JEAN-LUC MAUVIS
7 05:21:03 Seniors WAYNE WILSON & DAVE HAMILTON-BROWN
8 05:25:22 Veterans MURRAY SMITH & LINTON HOPE
9 05:25:39 Juniors GENE PRATO & CALVIN MC KIE
10 05:27:18 Veterans RICHARD PHILPS & BRYAN TAYLOR
11 05:31:04 Seniors ROWAN MATTHEWS & GREG WORTHINGTON
12 05:38:56 Veterans NIGEL STEVENS & MIKE STEVENS
13 05:40:08 Masters ANTHONY SCOTT & COLIN SIMPKINS
14 05:41:29 Seniors NICK BURDEN & SEAN WISEDALE
15 05:43:55 Masters IAN MARAIS & ANDRE BOTHA
16 05:55:50 Veterans MARC GERMIQUET & BUTCH MURRAY
17 06:02:22 Seniors PERRY COBBOLD & LEE FURBY
18 06:12:24 Seniors CLINTON WISSEKERKE & HENRY WOOD
19 06:13:46 Seniors CRAIG WEBSTER & NICK DOMLEO
20 06:14:48 Veterans ANTON FOUCHE & DEREK HAUPTFLEISCH
21 06:16:34 Women NICOLE RUSSELL & JENNA WARD
22 06:22:24 Veterans PETER ROWAN & ANTHONY ROWAN
23 06:26:13 Veterans GREG PHILPS & DAVE HARKER
24 06:27:56 Mixed JOE BOY & LOUISA VAN STADEN
25 06:33:17 Veterans DAVE GILLMER & ROSS POACHER
26 06:33:35 Seniors TERRY HENEBREY & JORDAN CLAUSON
27 06:34:32 Veterans NICHOLAS HORN & NIGEL OXENHAM
28 06:35:49 Seniors GUY COLLYER & WESTERN KING
29 06:36:22 Veterans KIM PARKES & BRUCE PENDER-SMITH
30 06:46:10 Veterans JAN VAN DER PUTTE & MARTIN PIGGOTT
31 06:48:56 Masters MARK JOHNSON & RUSSELL SOLOMON
32 07:34:12 Veterans MARK PERROW & IAN MCCURDIE
33 07:35:20 Veterans ANDREW CHURCH & DAVID SYMMONS


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