The 11th Barron River Challenge was held on 28-29 May 2022 with visitors claiming both the 20km and 50km section races.
Steve McLay from the Sunshine Coast, with a time of 1 hour 55 mins 30 secs, took line honours in front of local school teachers Brad Weaver (1h 58m 22s) and Atherton farmer Tony Marnane (1h 58m 42s).
In fourth place, with a time of exactly two hours for the short race to Bilwon, was Mareeba’s David Lep who received a special trophy for his 10th Barron River Challenge.
Places on the podium in the female outright division went to Mareeba’s Amy Sellers in 2 hours 3 mins 52 secs, Hayley Mlikota from Cairns (2h 16m 40s) and first-time local competitor Cordula Kath, in 2 hours 18 mins 53 secs.
The 50km Barron River Challenge event concluded on the riverbank in Kuranda where spectators witnessed Brett McDonald from Perth break the race record set in 2014 by almost 3 minutes to claim “The Barron” title.
Podium positions were McDonald in 3 hours 52 mins 46 secs, followed by Mareeba local John van Ryt (4h 5m 24s) and David Ahmed from Cairns (4h 19m 22 secs).
John looked likely to bridge the 6 minute gap to Brett after a clean sweep of oak forest rapid. Brett capsized in the tricky bottom section and lost a few minutes but he regained sight of John by Russet park and was relieved to regain the day two lead after an uncommon capsize by John on Myola Twist rapid. Brett then tracked down 2021 winner Geoff Pearce and crossed the line first with the same determination witnessed on day 1.
A costly swim on oak forest rapid saw Geoff Pearce forfeit the margin gained on David Ahmed.
David chose a sneaky river right path down the treacherous Oak Forest rapid and then went on to get the third podium position in his first BRC50. Brad Butler limped home in a quite respectable time after seriously holing his craft early on day 2.
Albert Wetterling traded smiles and grimaces in his first race- doing the 50 BRC hybrid in a racing TK1 on day one and a perception short plastic on day 2.