spanking Hank

HANK McGregor paddled his way into the canoeing record books when he equalled Robbie Herreveld's six victories in the 2009 Berg River Canoe Marathon in emphatic style.

HANK McGregor paddled his way into the canoeing record books when he equalled Robbie Herreveld's six victories in the 2009 Berg River Canoe Marathon in emphatic style.

The enthralling women's race went to 19-year-old debutant Robyn Kime. But the outcome was clouded by controversy since the race jury heard several appeals against the use of shortcuts that might have been in conflict with the race rules before the final result was ratified.

In a mass start for the 56km final stage from Zoutkloof to the West Coast fishing town of Velddrif, all McGregor had to do was stay with the front bunch to secure his overall race victory.

McGregor sprinted away from a six boat bunch in the closing stages to cross the finish line alone and claim his sixth title in style.

Said McGregor: "Ever since I was a kid growing up in the Cape I wanted to do this race and dreamt of possibly winning it."

He also savoured the shared record with "King of the Berg" Robbie Herreveld.

His finish was more dramatic than anticipated since he saw a 500 metre lead evaporate when the five chasers took a short-cut on the long final loop of the river before Velddrif.

McGregor and King paved the way for their Team Epic to claim the team prize comfortably, with team-mates Pieter-Willem Basson and Heinrich Schloms also finishing in the top five.

Pierre-André Rabie was the first Under-21 paddler to cross the line, finishing in sixth place, while Joseph Williams took the junior title in 51st place overall.

André Collins and Giel van Deventer raced into history when they became the first paddlers to complete 40 editions of the ultra-marathon.

Collins said: "I had the pleasure of paddling with Willem van Riet (who took part in the first ever Berg in 1962) on the third stage and we agreed that this has been one of the best." - Sapa

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