Hank re-writes the record books.

Velddrif- Hank McGregor powering into the canoeing history record books by winning his seventh title in the Windhoek Berg River Canoe marathon, edging past the record of six wins that he had shared with Robbie Herreveld, while Robyn Kime dominated the ladies race over the four days.

McGregor blasted into the finish at Velddrif victorious, without another boat in sight.

Second placed King praised McGregor saying, “Hank deserves it. He is a true professional. No one can match his skill, racing mentality, and experience.” Heinrich Schloms raced a skilled and consistent race over the last four days, to finish in third overall.

The start of the 56.5km fourth and final stage of the Windhoek Berg River Canoe marathon saw the top paddlers setting off in the third of the batch starts at Zoutkloof at 8:30am. The first competitors put their boats in the just as the sun was beginning to make its appearance on the wintery Cape morning, and if paddlers were lucky, the ice was melting off the seats of their boats.

Racing off the start line, McGregor, Lance King, Heinrich Schloms, Pierre-Andre Rabie and Marc Holtzhausen quickly formed a bunch and raced together until Kersefontein. It looked to spectators as though Lance King was on his way to winning the final Bridge prize of the Berg, when, from around the corner raced a determined McGregor, sprinting ahead in a showing of raw power to snatch it from King . McGregor has only missed one Bridge prize in this year’s race.

At Oordraplek, the final view point for the day, it was a bunch of five that appeared over the horizon. For the past two years when the water levels have been exceptionally high, competitors have been able to paddle through the portage.

However this year, it was a 500m dash through the mud, which saw Hank McGregor pull a 20m lead by the put in. By the time the rest of the bunch had climbed into their boats, McGregor was already 100m ahead and pulling further away.

“I broke away at the portage with 40 minutes to go. I wanted to show everyone that I was here for the win” said a jubilant McGregor.

In the ladies race, Robyn Kime raced in a league of her own for the entire four days of paddling, finishing over an hour ahead of the second placed Donna Winter, with Robyn Henderson a further 15 minutes behind in third.

Kime, who at 20 years of age has a lot of Bergs’ ahead of her finished 19th on today’s final stage of the Berg, and 23rd overall. “I had a great race, with no mistakes other than one swim, and I could have been fitter! ” said the ladies champion.

Riaan Manser, better known for his paddle around Madagascar and cycle around Africa, completed his first Windhoek Berg Canoe Marathon in just over 23 hours.

“The Berg is a special race where everyone, no matter where they are in the field, goes through the same things over the four days of paddling. I’ll definitely be back.” said a tired but happy Manser.

The only competitor to complete the 2010 Freedom Challenge, Keith Little, finished the paddling leg of this epic journey in a respectable time of 24 hours and 15 minutes.

Next year see the running of the 50th Annual Berg Canoe Marathon. Be there and be part of the toughest canoe race in South Africa. For more information please visit www.windhoekberg.co.za.

1. Hank McGregor (4:03.09) 16:04.32
2. Lance King (4:05.31) 16:10.50
3. Heinrich Schloms (4:05.34) 16:13.04
4. Marc Holtzhausen (4:05.40) 16:31.28
5. Pierre- Andre Rabie (4:05.31) 16:34.06
6. Edgar Boehm Jnr (4:17.00) 16:48.34
7. Alasdair Glass (4:17.00) 16:58.44
8. Chris De Waal (4:17.00) 17:00.10
9. Paul Marais (4:17.01) 17:03.38
10. Greg van Heerden (4:20.18) 17:13.12
11. Louw van Riet (4:20.08) 17:16.32
12. Ryno Armodorf (4:20.02) 17:16.38
13. Lance Kime (4:20.17) 17:27.41
14. Roy Clegg (4:21.16) 17:29.10
15. Adrian Bam (4:24.53) 17:32.52
16. Rob Hart (4:24.52) 17:41.24
17. Gregory Smith (4:26.40) 17:41.43
18. Joe Kearney (4:21.14) 17:47.49
19. Anton Cartwright (4:26.33) 17:50.48
20. Joseph Williams (4:21.22) 17:52.13 (First U18)

1. Robyn Kime (4:26.13) 17:57.15
2. Donna Winter (4:51.30) 19:09.22
3. Robyn Henderson (4:54.03) 19:24.06
4. Jemma Hofmeyr (4:56.59) 19:36.51
5. Romy Findlay(5:18.06) 21:17.10