Christie Mackenzie Outsprints Nix Birkett to Defend Drak Challenge Title

Christie Mackenzie wrapped up the victory when she dug out a narrow lead ahead of the chasing Nix Birkett to win her second stage, and the 2024 N3TC Drak Challenge title on Sunday, 28 January, 2024. Photo: Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

Overnight leader Christie Mackenzie wrapped up the victory when she dug out a narrow lead on the hard-chasing Nix Birkett to cross the finish line first to win the second stage, and the 2024 N3TC Drak Challenge title, in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, 28 January, 2024

“I pulled most of the way, so I was bit worried I had done a bit too much work by the time I got to the end sprint, but I timed it well.”

Back-to-back N3TC Drak Challenge champion, Christie Mackenzie

The pair started together on the second day of the race on a low Umzimkhulu River, which forced organisers to move the start downstream and saw paddlers competing over a repeat of the first half of Day 1, from Swartberg Bridge to Callaway Bridge, and the result was only decided in a sprint for the line.

Mackenzie said she had a few moments of concern but was happy to have defended the title she first won in 2023.

“I had a nice and clean race with no mistakes today. It was very short, which was a bit of a shock to the system, because obviously the speeds were a little higher.

“I had been thinking about the sprint pretty much the whole river. Same as yesterday, I wanted to be pulling through the Gorge section of rapids so I had clean water in front of me. But by the time I came to the end of the Gorge I knew I had been pulling for about 15 kays.

“Nix had been sitting on the wash, so that was running through my head, but I was feeling really strong and I knew I still had a few matches to burn, and it worked out for me.”

A combined total of almost 400 paddlers entered the 2024 event, which celebrated its 30th Anniversary this year.

Final Results after Day 2 of the N3TC Drak Challenge, in KwaZulu-Natal on Sunday, 28 January, 2024

1. Christie Mackenzie (2:44:14, 1:20:04) 4:04:18
2. Nix Birkett (2:44:16, 1:20:03) 4:04:90
3. Saskia Hockly (2:48:30, 1:20:10) 4:08:40
4. Bridgitte Hartley (2:47:41, 1:22:17) 4:09:59
5. Abby Solms (2:50:03,1:21:36) 4:11:39


Original Copy: Gameplan Media, with editing by gsport

Main Photo Caption: Christie Mackenzie wrapped up the victory when she dug out a narrow lead ahead of the chasing Nix Birkett to win her second stage, and the 2024 N3TC Drak Challenge title on Sunday, 28 January, 2024. Photo: Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

Photo 2 Caption: Taylor’s Weir, soon after the start of the revamped N3TC Drak Challenge Day 2 route, provided an early obstacle for paddlers on Sunday, 28 January, 2024. Photo: Anthony Grote / Gameplan Media

Please Rate this Post

0 ratings, 0 votes0 ratings, 0 votes (0 rating, 0 votes, rated)
You need to be a registered member to rate this.
Loading...

Recent Posts

Categories

Follow Us