The popular and unique aQuellé Ocean Racing Series returns Hobie Beach this Sunday after a break of 4 weeks to make way for the Nelson Mandela Bay River Mile, Herald Cycle Tour and the SA National Open Water Swimming Nationals. With just 3 races to go in Season 13 of Africa’s largest family beach event, it’s all systems go for the top runners in the 7 events on offer as the top seeds are all currently trailing behind.
From the 11 races in Season 13, participants vying for overall honours will see their top 8 races counting for overall points and will be wanting to be in top form this weekend. Top multi-sportsman Bruce Campbell is currently lying 2nd overall in the Men’s 3km Ocean Swim despite having won all 6 races which he’s competed as local provincial open water swimmer Heinrich Vorster leads the standings by 30 points having competed in all 8 rounds to date. Campbell just needs to compete in two more rounds to secure his maiden overall victory. Similarly in the Ladies 3km swim, St Francis Bay swimmer Chane de Jager trails Natalie Hagedorn-Hansen by 30 points despite 4 wins this season and would be expected to take the lead after Sunday’s race.
EP’s top triathlete Keegan Cooke leads the 2km Men’s Ocean Swim standings, a lead he would probably like to see extended over the next couple of weeks whilst former overall Series champion Antonella Saporta is well placed to win the 2km ladies title this season. Men’s defending 1km champion and newly crowned SA Open Water Swimming 3km Champion, Ian Venter, finds himself in a very unusual 3rd place overall behind Cole Craig (280pts) and Kyle White (265pts) having only competed in 5 races this season. Venter will take strength from the fact that he’s won all 5 races he’s taken part in this season and if he’s able to compete in the remaining three he should retain his title, failing which Craig should take it. World lifesaving champion and defending ORS ladies champion Amica de Jager also has to come from behind as he’s 15 points behind Hannah Counihan in the 1km Ocean Swim. De Jager has only competed in 6 races this season which she’s won comfortably but Counihan has been a consistant top 3 finisher in 7 of the 8 races to have the higher points standing.
Taryn Ferreira has just one more race to go to secure her season victory in the 5km Beach Walk with 7 wins from the 8 races to date whilst Grobbie Grobler has already secured maximum points to secure the Men’s Beach Walk title with 8 wins from 8 races.
The Masakhane Future Stars program, sponsored by Greenacres Shopping Centre and Caltex Eastern Cape, sees over 60 children from the disadvantaged communities being afforded the opportunity to enjoy the Ocean Racing Series each race day with some of the students in the running for overall honours in the 5km Beach Run.
For newcomers, online registration prior to Sunday morning is highly encouraged as late entries on the day are subject to a R50 penalty. Timing chips at a once off R30 are also compulsory for the Series from this weekend.