South Africa’s canoe king, Hank McGregor (Jeep Team), was named KwaZulu-Natal Sportsman of the Year at the 2015 KwaZulu-Natal Sports Awards ceremony in Durban on Saturday, 14 November.
Award winners were decided by a panel of KZN sports experts based on their achievements over the last 12 months. Judges included Bongani Yengwa (SABC Sports Analyst and Sports Management lecturer at the Durban University of Technology), Zwelakhe Ngcobo (Isolezwe Weekend Sports Editor), Vicky Masuku (UKhozifm Sports Broadcaster) and Tommy Ballantyne (freelance journalist).
McGregor pipped two other finalists of the Sportsman of the Year award; swimmer Chad Le Clos (Olympic Gold medallist, Commonwealth record holder in the 50 and 100-metre butterfly and 2014 award winner) and triathlete Henri Schoeman (ITU World Cup winner and African triathlon champion).
Said McGregor,“I am absolutely stoked to win this award against such a class of athletes. Le Clos and Schoeman are ferocious sportsmen at the top of their game in highly competitive sports. Congratulations to them for their massive achievements. They make this award all the more serious to win.”
McGregor has proved unstoppable over the last 12 months, winning numerous international and national titles across different paddling disciplines, including surfski, flat water and river canoe marathon, and canoe sprints. His achievements include claiming his sixth World title at the 2015 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Hungary, winning the Maui Jim Molokai World Surfski Challenge in Hawaii, and successfully defending his K2 national title at the South African Flatwater Canoe Marathon Championships.
In July, McGregor became the first person in history to win the tough 240km Berg River Canoe Marathon for a record tenth time. He is also the current holder of the World Paddle Awards’ ‘Sportsman of the Year’ Award.
On Saturday, he added to this glowing list of achievements by winning Race#5 of the 2015 Illovo Suncoast Pirates Wall and Back Surfski Series. Soon after the race, he left for Hong Kong, where he will be competing in the Dragon Run surfski challenge, which takes place on 21 November as part of the World Surfski Series.
Said McGregor, “I’ve got the Dragon Run in Hong Kong next weekend before I come back and race Ozzie Gladwin Canoe Marathon, the 50 Miler Canoe Marathon, South African Surfski Champs and the Cape Point Surfski Challenge in the weeks after that, so I’ve got some pretty big weeks of racing ahead of me!”
Other Jeep Team news
In the Eastern Cape, Jeep Team’s Barry Lewin competed in the Pete Marlin Surfski Race, which forms part of the World Surfski Series. In Saturday’s Singles race, Lewin secured third in a time of 1:16:33, behind DawidMocke (1:15:41) in 1stand Jasper Mocke in 2nd (1:16).
On Sunday, Lewin teamed up with Steve Woods for the Doubles race, with the duo finishing 2nd in 1:16:20. DawidMocke and Tom Schilperoort won the race in 1:15:50, with Jasper Mocke and DominicNotten in 3rd (1:16:52).
On Sunday, Jeep Team’s Dylan Rebellowon the two-day, 120km To Hell and Back MTB stage race, which took place near the small town of Gamkaskloofin the heart of the Swartberg mountain range, Western Cape.
Now in its 21st year, To Hell and Back is known as South Africa’s “original extreme MTB race”, and in 2015presented riders with a challenging route of back-breaking climbs that totalled 3650m.
Rebello proved no match for the competition, winning the 60km stage one in 2:33, over 10 minutes ahead of second-placed Neill Ungerer (2:44). He then went on to win the 60km stage two in 2:32, 17 minutes before Ungerer in 2nd (2:49). Over the two days, Rebello’s overall time amounted to 5:05, compared to Ungerer’s 5:33, with Gerrie Beukes in 3rd (5:36).
At the KwaZulu-Natal Triathlon Awards ceremony in Durban on Saturday evening, Jeep Team’s rising multisport star, Mikaela Jonsson, walked away with two awards – Junior Triathlete of the Year and Junior Duathlete of the Year.
This follows a successful 2014/2015 season for the 2020 Olympic hopeful, who has won numerous events, including the Junior Woman’s Sprint race at the ITU World Triathlon Series, the Junior Women’s Mudman Series title and her third KZN Duathlon Championship title.
Endurance Sports, Driver Fatigue and Road Safety