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Jackson Kayak team member Mike Dawson headed to Penrith Whitewater stadium to kick start the International Slalom season with a win in the Australian Open.  He picked the perfect time to shine over the weekend, picking up one of the most important slalom wins of his illustrious career.
The 27-year-old from Tauranga, a semifinalist at the London Olympics, snatched the Australian Open K1 title with a brilliant final run at the Penrith Whitewater Stadium, consigning some of the world’s top-ranked paddlers to minor placings.
“It is cool to win the Aussie Open title after coming here for a lot of years and not winning it,” Dawson said. “This race doubled as the New Zealand selection race so it was really important to make sure that I was in the top three so I get to race World Cups and World Champs.”
Dawson was seventh in the national title format and trailed Australian favourite Lucien Dalfour by a massive 6.35 seconds after the Open semifinals but turned the tables dramatically with his performance in the final though the 20-gate obstacle course.
The seven-time New Zealand national champion clocked 90.95 seconds to take gold by a comfortable 1.23secs. Frenchman Pierre Bourliaud was second and his compatriot Etienne Daille took bronze after finishing 1.63sec down on Dawson.  Daille, a multiple world cup-winner, currently tops the ICF world rankings, while Delfour is in 12th.  It was the only final Australia failed to reach the podium in.
You Tube video of the race run here
p. Sportscene.
Full results available at
Talk soon,