Defending champion Hank McGregor claimed his 11th Berg River Canoe Marathon title when the event took place in the Western Cape from July 13 to 16.
He also took the first-to-bridge prize at the Hermon Bridge, going into the second stage of the race with a significant advantage thanks to his time-trial winning margin.
This took McGregor’s overall lead over Simon van Gysen to 20 seconds, with Hungarian Adrian Boros in third place overall.
On the second day, McGregor cut his head open on a branch, which allowed Van Gysen to open a one-minute gap.
McGregor caught Van Gysen as they made their way from Zonquasdrift to Bridgetown, but the last two kilometres made all the difference.
McGregor powered through to the finish as a tired Van Gysen was unable to keep up.
Boros battled on the stage, allowing McGregor to gain a solid lead.
“I knew in the last few kilometres that I had to put the hammer down. I got a bit of a gap and I am happy with the result and another stage win,” said McGregor.
The infamous 72km third stage saw plenty of drama as the international duo of Boros and Petr Mojžíšek matched McGregor right up to the final end sprint.
The day started at a blistering pace, with McGregor, Boros, Mojžíšek and local Edgar Boehm jnr opening a significant gap at the first portage at the Misverstand Dam wall.
“A 72km stage is never going to be easy and it hurts, it doesn’t matter who you are. I was just really chuffed to be on the front bunch and I appreciated the great sportsmen I was racing with,” said McGregor.
Despite the running repairs overnight, McGregor won a well-contested end sprint on Friday’s stage three and cemented his place at the front of the race for stage four’s final 60-kilometre into Velddrif.
He started the final day with a seven-minute advantage, enough to cement his 11th win.
Paddlers from all over the world competed in the 55th annual four-day stage race which covered 240km from Paarl to Velddrif.
View more information and results here.