Chelmsford Canoe Club’s dominance of the Hasler Finals continues. This weekend saw their team take a fourth consecutive win, ahead of the hosts Norwich Canoe Club with Wey Kayak Club in third. Meanwhile, Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club’s Lightning paddlers had a convincing win in the Geoff Sanders trophy, which they last won in 2008.
Over 100 clubs had raced at over 50 days of Hasler competitions to qualify, with 32 clubs from around the regions earning the right to race on the day. As always, the racing was highly competitive and, with over 50 entries in some races, and hundreds of boats on the water at the same time, choppy conditions at the start exposed any weaknesses early in the races.
The morning starts were for Divisions 1-3 and 7-9. With a club’s top 3 K2 and top 6 K1 scores counting, the signs were there early on that Chelmsford were looking strong, as they took first and third places in Division 1 K2, and first in Division 3 K2.
With practically every Division 7-9 paddler back before the first of the fast boats arrived at the second portage, the timing was almost perfect. But one young paddler just caught the wash of the second Division 1 group and couldn’t stay in his boat. Chelmsford’s Keith Moule unhesitatingly gave up his race to rescue the boy – winning admiration from the crowds on the bank as much for his ability to stay upright himself as he lifted the paddler back, as for doing the right thing. Many spectators instantly vowed to work on their own core strength on their return home! Keith continued with his race, and still managed to stay ahead of the chasing pack to finish sixth.
The afternoon races saw the fields bunching up a bit more, with Divisions 4-6 being that much closer in speed and some, perhaps less experienced at portaging, finding the shallow get-in difficult. The long run also tested the athletes’ aerobic fitness – and having their supporters picnicking alongside must have made it even longer. It was an ideal vantage point for supporters though, from inside the portage, with views of the race starts and finishes, as well as the get-out and run. This undoubtedly helped create a great atmosphere, with plenty of noise. British Canoeing’s President, Ivan Lawler, did a sterling job on the commentary, although it must have been difficult at times to compete with the crowds.
Underpinning the club system, the Hasler format affords all paddlers equal importance to their clubs – whether they be an international medallist in the top divisions, or someone starting out on their paddling career in Division 9. As ever it was great to see some of our world championship competitors - from sprint, marathon and wildwater - representing their clubs, despite having had a long season. The seniors included the Division 1 winner, Norwich’s Tim Pendle, World 5km champion, Richmond’s Lizzie Broughton and Nottingham’s Nicky Cresser, whilst junior world sprint and marathon medallist, Emma Russell, (Chelmsford) and Luke Shaw (Norwich) were amongst the under eighteens.
For some clubs getting to the Finals is the main aim for the year. Although the bigger clubs can maximise their chances by having entries at all levels, it was heartening to see that, of the 32 clubs racing, 18 made it onto the podium, with 14 different clubs winning gold medals, showing successes can come from anywhere.
Running parallel to the Hasler competition is the Geoff Sanders trophy for Lightning paddlers. With double points on offer at the finals, there was all to play for. There were over fifty paddlers from fifteen clubs racing on Great Broad, where the entire race could be seen from the bank. Leighton Buzzard were crowned overall winners for the year, having brought an impressive 15 paddlers to the Finals – they even had to borrow extra boats. As in the senior races, there was a good mix of clubs on the podium (9), showing that the skills and talent are being developed all around the country, and no doubt we will see many of these names working their way up the divisions in the future.
As ever, the Marathon Race Committee and British Canoeing are extremely grateful to the clubs who are able to take on the organisation of these major events, and Norwich CC did an excellent job. On a cold day, it was particularly helpful to have such a big clubhouse for people to keep warm – and with seemingly endless supplies of food from the catering army. If the food and racing weren’t enough to keep people entertained, they even arranged for a demonstration race on Little Broad whilst the scores were being added up before the final presentations of medals and trophies. In between organising and racing, some Norwich CC members even found the time to talk to the BBC, and there was coverage of the event on Look East the following evening, complete with Chris Blacker’s drone footage.
Dr Siobhan Rowe, Chair of Norwich Canoe Club said
“It has been an amazing team effort with the Norwich Canoe Club Committee working for months along with 80 volunteers on the day, doing everything from running the races to the behind the scenes, and we were very thankful to Ivan Lawler and Lizzie Broughton for helping with the medal presentations.
We were still on a high after winning the National Sprint title, coming a very close second at the National Marathon Championships and gaining the British Canoeing Talent Partnership status and were happy to come second to Chelmsford today! At least they are a local club and some of their paddlers are at the UEA so train with us during term time even if they put Chelmsford rather than Norwich vests on to race!– Dr Siobhan Rowe, Chair of Norwich Canoe Club
“The feedback and support from the Marathon community all over the UK has been so positive. We look forward to welcoming everyone back for the National Championships in 2019. We just need a few weeks to recover first!”
The Marathon Racing Committee are delighted that the finals of the annual inter club competition concluded so successfully at Norwich. Our thanks go out to the considerable team from Norwich CC in delivering a great day’s competition as well as contesting the top honours on the day.– Marathon Racing Committee Chairman, Stan Missen
Provisional Results are on the Norwich CC website, and full results will be published on the MRC website.
Div 1 K1 – Tim Pendle, Norwich CC - and winner of the Rhodes-White Trophy
Div 2 K1 – Arthur Urquhart, Royal CC – and winner of the Adam Thomasson Trophy
Div 3 K1 – Adam Beaumont, Bishops Stortford CC
Div 4 K1 – Dominic Stanley, Falcon CC - and winner of Ross Warland trophy
Div 5 K1 – Charlie Clinton, Anker Valley CC
Div 6 K1 - Chris Blackmore, Chelmsford CC
Div 7 K1 - James Kitterling, Elmbridge CC,
Div 8 K1 - Sean Woodley, Chelmsford CC,
Div 9 K1 - Elise Montagna, Royal CC
Div 1 K2 – Lewis Duffield, James Russell – Chelmsford CC
Div 2 K2 – James How, Timothy Dowden, Norwich CC
Div 3 K2 – James Walkinton, Emma Russell – Chelmsford CC
Div 4 K2 – Dwayne Morton, Rowan Bowers, Elmbridge CC
Div 5 K2 – Jerry Conway, Joanna Crossley, Southampton CC
Div 6 K2 – Dave Potts, David Evans, Gloucester CC
Div 7 K2 – Harry Baldwin, Ella Banks, Wey KC
Div 8 K2 – Lee Dean, Zoe Dyndor, Banbury and District CC
Div 9 K2 – Dan Snow, Hannah Senior, Glanford and Scunthorpe CC
U12 boys – Kiet Luc, Falcon CC
U12 girls – Sienna Payne, Chelmsford CC
U10 boys – Louis Brierton, Lincoln CC
U10 girls – Darcy England, Gloucester CC
Additional trophies awarded:
Barber Trophy – fastest junior over the 12 mile course – Luke Shaw, Norwich CC
David Shankland Trophy – fastest female over the 12 mile course – Lizzie Broughton, Richmond CC
The Committee Cup – fastest junior female in the highest division – Molly Carter, Royal CC
Bill Sparks Trophy – highest placed Veteran K2 in the highest division – Nicky Cresser, Matt Enoch – Nottingham KC
Regional trophy – the region with the highest aggregate score from their 3 highest scoring clubs – London/south east