Seasoned Berg River Canoe Marathon podium contender Heinrich Schloms threw his hat into the ring when he lodged one of the last normal entries received for the four day race from Paarl to the Cape West Coast starting on 12 July.
Schloms will be starting his 16th Berg and has been a vital cog in the racing at the front of the race for the past decade.
However he is downplaying his podium chances as he said he started his training really late, put off by the year-long grip of the drought on the river system.
“I have only been training for a month,” he said candidly. “It was only when we got some rain that I started paddling again, so I honestly haven’t done the base I would normally need to get a top ten.”
Schloms is fascinated by the small field, and the impact that the three international paddlers will have on the title race.
“I still believe that Solly (Graeme Solomon) will enter, and he will have to keep the overseas guys under control.”
“I reckon I will be on the second bunch. If the international guys want me to help them with lines they will have to wait for me and offer me their slip!” he quipped.
Schloms predicts that the top ten will include a number of the Change-A-Life paddlers Mthobisi Cele, Mpilo Zondi and Mvelo Ngidi making the trip down from KwaZulu-Natal, and didn’t rule out the possibility of Bianca Beavitt becoming the first female paddler to make the top ten overall.
he also hinted that the Paarl contingent would make good inroads into the top ten, with the likes of Chris Prinsloo and Bartho Visser eager to be on the chasing bunch.