The Czech pair Michael Odvarko and Kamil Mruzek proved their technical skills on the second stage of the Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon in the Northern Cape Province today by taking the stage win. On day two, the paddlers had a strong easterly wind on their backs as they tackledpaddled the 39km stage down to Die Mas in Kakamas.
Odvarko, a 3-times world championship bronze medallist has teamed up with K1 wildwater world champion for their first excursion on the iconic Orange River. “The river was really very different today and it had some nice flow, so it made it much easier. You did not have to battle the rocks. The gorge was absolutely amazing – it was a pity that we were so busy fighting off the rest of the field that we could not really enjoy the scenery. Those huge grey walls of rock were awesome and it would have been nice to spend some time admiring the view,” mentioned Odvarko.
Hot on their heels came the Cape team of Tom Schilperoort and Stuart Maclaren with KZN paddlers Sbonelo Zondi and Thulani Mbanjwa claiming third place after another awesome portage session. Gauteng youngsters Seseko Ntondini and Thando Ngamlana came in further with the Swedish Emil Torstensson and Rasmus Jaruta finishing in fifth position.
It was a tough day on the water for yesterday’s race leaders Ivan Kruger and Graeme Solomon as they suffered damage to their boat and had to take time out for repairs. This hold-up gave Louw van Riet and his partner Luke Stowman the chance to pass them for the sixth place finish.
With less than eight minutes separating the top three Ks, the top contenders will have all to fight for during the final 26km stage from Kakamas to Khamkirri tomorrow.
Follow the race as it unfolds on Facebook (Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon) and Twitter (@greenkalaharicm, #gkcm). The race website for route details is www.gkcm.co.za. Download visuals from gkcm.smugmug.com.