50 Years of Umko 1966 - 2016 1966 - 2016 - Page 35

And for quite a few of all the above paddler-species it’s MAINLY about those annoying movable obstacles and distractions: Their mates! Rivals. Enemies even. Their whole race is focussed on one single obsessive aim: Beat old Jim and Bob! or ‘Beat Dose Goons!’ They would rather finish 99th if Jim and Bob finish 100th rather than 3rd if those buggers are 2nd! The biggest joy to this voluble gang - always prominent at overnight stops - is to actually witness “Jim and Bob” swimming or wrapping. A very few of them might be semi-’subtle’ (knowing their mates wrapped in Gully they’ll ‘innocently’ ask “Which line did you guys take down Gully?” as though they haven’t heard). But most are of the loud guffawing type, loudly braying “Waa Ha! Enjoy your ghoef?” The REAL joys of canoeing! Paul Chalupsky, Dragon, overtook Robbie Stewart, ex-Dragon, just before the finish of the ‘72 race and pronounced as he paddled past (to go on and win by a single minute, having trailed for three days) “That’s your bundle”. Steve Doc Blanckenberg paddled with Mike Ellis “who was so talented and powerful, it was a bit like riding a bicycle downhill. The boy was a genius in white water and I took great pleasure in taking a case of beer off Kenny Reynolds and Mark Perrow that year. Would have been even better had Kenny delivered the beers personally! Obviously all credit to my partner though.” “However nothing quite beat the excitement of paddling with Bruce Yakka Gillmer in the back of my boat when we passed Dave Slim Dawid Gillmer and Mike Head Hoffman as they were enjoying yet another horrific swim at Bad Rapid.” As Steve and Bruce overtook them a mixed double was flying by, and Steve shouted “Please let us on your wave! We have important business!” The MD obliged, ensuring they beat the bastids! Says Steve: “Nothing like family rivalry after two days in the Umkomaas Valley. Bruce Gillmer is still living on the bragging rights of his one and only win over his cousin!” Unconfirmed rumour has it Head ruefully grinned “ffQokes!” at the finish. Of course Blanckenberg and Bruce probably made a point of meeting them and asking an innocent “What kept you guys?” Some Umko paddlers are a fine mix of racers and trippers, and some winners become trippers. The pre-eminent example is Charles himself. Chris Wade paddled three Umkos with Charles. In the first two he turned to Chris on the water just before the start and said “You’re not in a hurry are you?” He then proceeded to drift through the rapids at a steady pace, taking all the right lines and ending up well up the field by dint of keeping going and not swimming. Even current winners have mixed race/trip feelings. Hank McGregor, reigning champ, writes “To me this race is more of an adventure that every paddler should enter. My most memorable Umko is every one that I have entered and completed, as each has its special moments and its own story to tell. Every time I arrive at Hella Hella I first stop at the bridge and nervously glance at the water hoping for a gentle level to be running, but when I think about it there really isn’t such a level because the Umko can teach even the best of river paddlers a lesson when she feels like it. “I hope this race never changes as it holds the number one spot on the canoe calendar as the most exciting and enjoyable race to finish. This race is for the most confident, skilled, brave, stupid or ignorant paddlers we have in our family of canoeists, but rest assured: If you manage to finish an UMKO there is no other race to fear, as the Umko is as extreme as it gets. I look forward to Umko 2016 and what memories it will bring.” How people first come to the Umko varies. Rob Davey has an interesting prepaddling-days tale. As a schoolboy in 1967 he cycled from Park Rynie to the finish to see these crazy rivermen he had heard and read about. He watched the first two paddlers arrive. “K1s were paddled in teams of two in those days. As they hit the bank this very excited paddler talking with a strange accent proceeded to 35 Winners of the race 1966 Charlie Mason & Ken ‘Tank’ Rogers 1967 Paul Chalupsky & Glyn Horton 1968 Paul Chalupsky 1969 Paul Chalupsky & Kevin Culverwell 1970 Paul Chalupsky 1972 Paul Chalupsky & Tony Scott 1973 Tony Scott 1974 Paul Chalupsky & Tony Scott 1975 Graeme Pope-Ellis & Bevan W orlock 1976 Clive Curson 1977 Paul Chalupsky & Tony Scott 1978 Rory Pennefather & Jerome Truran 1979 Rory Pennefather & Tony Scott 1980 Sunley Uys 1981 Chris Greeff & Lance Park 1982 Chris Greeff & Tim Cornish 1983 Graeme Pope-Ellis & Tim Cornish 1984 Tony Scott & Dave McCormack 1985 Oscar Chalupsky & Matt Carlisle 1986 Richard Starr & Colin Simpkins 1987 Oscar Chalupsky & Greyling Viljoen 1988 Sean Rice & Colin Simpkins 1989 Oscar Chalupsky & Greyling Viljoen 1990 Grant Woollaston & Ken Reynolds 1991 Robbie Herreveld & Neil Evans 1992 Robbie Herreveld & Neil Evans 1993 Robbie Herreveld & Neil Evans 1994 Roy Pepper & Rob Oliario 1995 Robbie Herreveld & Mark Perrow 1996 Robbie Herreveld & Mark Perrow 1997 Graham Monteith & Robbie Herreveld 1998 Graham Monteith & Robbie Herreveld 1999 Robbie Herreveld & Graham Monteith 2000 Robbie Herreveld & Graham Monteith 2001 Shaun Biggs & Sven Bruss 2002 Deon Bruss & Ant Stott 2003 Deon Bruss & Ant Stott 2004 Deon Bruss & Ant Stott 2005 Deon Bruss & Ant Stott 2006 Shaun Biggs & Clinton Pretorius 2007 Deon Bruss & Shaun Biggs 2008 Deon Bruss & Len Jenkins Jr 2009 Grant vd Walt & Hank McGregor 2010 Jacques Theron & Piers Cruickshank 2011 Hank McGregor & Brandon vd Walt 2012 Hank McGregor & Grant vd Walt 2013 Hank McGregor & Grant vd Walt 2014 Hank McGregor & Grant vd Walt 2015 Hank McGregor & Andy Birkett UMKO 50 Years