The three-day classic, which takes place between Durban and Pietermaritzburg from February 19 to 21, saw three of the professed Fantastic Four finishing in the top five with Andy Birkett winning the title for a second year running.
Birkett has a fondness for the Southern Drakensberg and often bases a key part of his Dusi training in the Underberg area.
Although the Euro Steel ace was thrilled to have won over two other members of Dusi 2015’s Fantastic Four he was guarded against using the race outcome as a clear form guide for the Dusi in three weeks’ time.
“It is a good win for me, but in terms of my Dusi training I can’t tick all the boxes because there is no running at all in the Drak Challenge – it is a 100% paddling race,” said Birkett.
Sbonelo Khwela, Birkett’s fellow victorious K2 partner at the 2014 Dusi, is the benchmark when it comes to portage speed and is perhaps one of the fastest men in the world when it comes to running with a boat on his shoulder.
However his shock withdrawal from the Drak Challenge with an overtraining injury has rattled the Euro Steel/Red Bull star.
Popular former Dusi K2 champ Thulani Mbanjwa raced a solid Drak to finish fifth and has three weeks to up his game on the water and justify his status as a genuine threat to the 2015 Dusi K1 title.
Lance Kime was another to have taken a huge amount away from the weekend’s Underberg assignment and is optimistic about his chances of defending his Dusi K1 crown.