Another former world champion added his name to the line-up for the 60th anniversary edition of the Berg River Canoe Marathon as Jasper Mocké slipped his name onto the entry list this week, adding spice to what is already sizing up to be a star-studded line-up of elite racers.
Mocké jumped at the opportunity to do only his second Berg saying he has unfinished business with the race and for the first time in a long time the shifting international racing calendar has created an opportunity for him to do his local major race.
“I am a Capetonian and this is our big race so I really am looking forward to it,” said the Team Euro Steel/Mocké Racing athlete. “Normally my international surfski racing commitments keep me out of the Berg but with all the changes I can now set my sights on being part of the 60th Berg, which sounds like it is going to be special.”
Mocké made his Berg debut in the 2014 race won by Andy Birkett, but says he wants to erase the memories of that tough encounter.
“It wasn’t the greatest of races for me to be honest. I got quite sick and limped along. Looking back I should have pulled out at some stage but I just wanted to get there.
“More than anything I want to finish the Berg this year and I’m feeling good this year,” said the Galetti/Andy Cabs-backed ace who won world marathon championship titles with eleven times Berg champion Hank McGregor.
A fresh and revitalised Mocké quickly admits that he is way behind on the mileage traditionally associated with a serious challenge at the Berg title.
“I am not overtrained, I can promise you that!” he chirped. “I would hate to get my supporters excited about my chances of winning the Berg this year. In fact I will be extremely flattered if my name gets mentioned in the same sentence as people like Hamish (Lovemore) and Andy (Birkett).
“I am excited just to be able to line up with them. I will see how things look after the first twenty of thirty minutes when the bunches start to sort themselves out and take it from there,” said Mocké.
“I am very competitive, but I am coming into the race with no real expectations.” He added.
Mocké will be joining some of the other elite racers training for the Berg at the weekend’s Hermon to Gouda race, eager to get time on the river and to race gunnel-to-gunnel with old friends and adversaries.