Day one of the 2018 British Canoeing Senior and under 23 selections unfolded on a cold, damp day at Lee Valley White Water Centre today, although for the country’s best Junior under 18 paddlers this was the midpoint of their selection series.
The four-race junior selections began with two days of racing in Nottingham last weekend. The junior men’s K1 had been a three horse race between Etienne Chappell (Seren Dwr), Jake Brown (Tees Tigers) and Ben Haylett (Holme Pierrepont). And it was similar today.
Chappell, who achieved a first and a fourth at Nottingham, was back on top form today as fastest junior. Brown, who a year ago ended selections as the junior team’s third reserve, was second home today, fourteenth overall in the K1M category. Haylett finished twenty fourth overall and was sixth junior under 18.
“Hopefully those three results should stand me in good stead for GB selection,” said Chappell who competed for the British junior team in the 2017 season.
“Last week it was something like five points between the three of us. Jake and I were drawing and Ben was in first so hopefully they get through.”
Olympic Champion, Joe Clarke (Stafford & Stone) was fastest senior in today’s K1 category with two fast, clean runs, 2.88 seconds ahead of Bradley Forbes-Cryans (CR Cats). Chris Bowers (Stafford & Stone), the third member of the 2017 GB men’s K1 team, came third.
“I’m very happy with to have two clean runs, two fast runs,” said Clarke, looking forward to the next two days when the format shifts to a daily semi final and final.
It’s a building block for the next two days and I’ll try and emulate that in tomorrow’s semi final/final scenario– Joe Clarke
“Fingers crossed I make the team and hopefully today’s first place will get me some security. I’m looking forward to going back to Rio obviously for the World Championship on the Olympic course and Prague is one of my favourite venues where the Europeans are being held.
“So hopefully if I get selected then look forward to racing those two venues and a few world cups along the way.”
Mallory Franklin (Windsor & District) did not need to compete in today’s women’s C1 competition, her World Championship win from last summer pre-qualifying her for a place on the senior team this season.
So, with just two senior selections places left up for grabs, the pressure was on the others in an ever improving C1 class. European Champion Kimberely Woods (Rugby) ended the day fastest, over 10 seconds quicker than Sophie Ogilvie (CR Cats), whilst fellow Scot Eilidh Gibson (Strathallan) finished third.
“I’ll take lot of confidence from those first runs going into the rest of the weekend,” said Woods.
“Yes, I’m pre-selected for under 23s, but I go out and treat every race the same and do my best, but selections is a bit more pressure. So I’m glad I got the win today.”
Beth Forrow (Lee Valley), winner of both the first two stages of the junior selections last weekend, consolidated today as fastest junior and fourth overall.
Getting two wins in Nottingham took a massive weight off my shoulders for this weekend– Beth Forrow
“The minimum I could come today was sixth and I’m half guaranteed I could get on (the J18 team).
“And, even if I’m fourth like I was here last year, it would be amazing to benchmark and see if I’ve improved from last year. I’d certainly like to think I’ve improved since last year.”
Mallory Franklin did compete in today’s women’s K1 event, with a clean 95.44 seconds in her second run, 0.14 up on second placed Fiona Pennie (CR Cats), whilst Kimberley Woods came third.
Phoebe Spicer (Lee Valley), who had been second in the junior women’s K1 at Nottingham a week ago, upped a place today for her first ever win at junior selections. Her team mate, Beth Forrow, meanwhile finished third whilst Lois Leaver (Edinburgh Schools), who had won the opening two races, was third.
Another Scottish athlete, Peter Linksted (Stirling & Falkirk) won his third successive race of the C1M junior series today, ahead of Sam Maingay (Stafford & Stone), whilst Ben Haylett picked up third place.
Linksted, like Maingay, had qualified for the British junior team a year ago and the experience has had a lasting effect. “It was amazing and I managed to do really well at the worlds. The whole experience of racing on the team last year was so amazing I don’t want to pass up the opportunity.”
Ryan Westley (Lower Wharfe) won today’s men’s C1 competition, handling the pressure well of following the fastest time of David Florence (Lloyds Register) on the second run.
“Everybody comes into selection with a few extra nerves you probably don’t even get on the big international events,” said Westley after beating Florence by 0.52 seconds.
It was an awesome way to start the selection series and I’m really happy with my paddling– Ryan Westley
“My training partner, Joe Clarke, put in two good clean runs this morning, so I wanted to try and back the coach, Mark Ratcliffe, up and put in something similar myself.
“I’m good friends with Joe and hoping I can perhaps leap frog on the back of what he’s achieved and Mark is a really good, thorough and has had to learn C1. He’s brought a few new things to the table and its certainly helped me out on working massively on my cross bow.”
Competition resumes tomorrow with day 2 of the Senior and under 23 events and the conclusion of the Junior competition.
For results click here