This was the first time the regatta was run as a Band Together – so all the different age/gender categories that fall within the 5 speed-based bands raced together – a bit more like Hasler races. Having said that, they still kept the K1 races split male/female. Overall, there was a very low attendance for the weekend – a combination of school and university exams taking its toll, as well as perhaps some uncertainty over this format. There was virtually none of the top paddlers there either as the seniors have only recently returned from the World Cups, and selection has already taken place for the Europeans and World Championships, while a number of the faster juniors (not doing exams) racing at Piesteny.
From a club point of view, we were very glad of the gazebo on Saturday during some very heavy rain, and on Sunday when it was very hot – we’re never happy with the weather, and we had a small club supper at the campsite. Racing-wise, everyone had a good weekend, and there were plenty of finals and podium placings.
Will McC won the K1 200 in Band 3 with Luka in 9th. Will also won the K2500 with Matt H from Southampton, was 3rd in the 5km K1, 7th in Final 1 of the 500m and raced up in Band 1-2 with Ben Q (Lincoln) to take 3rd place in the K2 200 – the winners having recently returned from the World Cups!
In Band 4, Robin F was 2nd in the 5km K1, ahead of Luke in 6th, whilst Alice was 3rd in the Women’s race – which was for Bands 2-4 combined. Luke got some revenge in the 1000 K1, again coming 6th, with Robin in 8th in Final 1, and Luke was 6th yet again in Final 1 of the 200. In the K2 5km, Robin A and Jerry proved too wily, outsprinting Alice and Robin F in the last few metres for a Banbury one two, with Luke and Isla, proving siblings can get along, not far behind in 5th. The latter two boats then joined up for the K4 race to come 3rd. Robin and Jerry also won the K2 200, were 2nd in the 500 and 3rd in the 1000, ahead of Alice again (this time with Luke) in 4th.
Jessie was the only one competing in Band 5, but one advantage of Dan moving to Wales is the contacts we now have there. As a result, she was able to link up with Welsh paddlers Scarlett, Hannah and Jasmine to win the K4. She and Jasmine were 2nd in the 5km K2, whilst over the shorter distances she raced with Scarlett, coming 8th in Final 1 of the 500 and 7th in Final 1 of the 200. In K1 she was 4th in the 5km, 6th in 1000 and 7th in Final 2 of the 500.
It was strange not to have a Weir racing in the canoe classes, but Alex and Luka were still flying the flag for Banbury, the latter racing withboth single and double-blade over the weekend.. Alex was 4th in Final 1 of the 200, with Luka 2nd in Final 3. They were both in Final 1 of the 500, with Alex taking 3rd place and Luka 7th.
The jury is out I think at the moment over the success of the event. For some – like Alice – who usually only has very small fields to race, and rarely enough for heats, it was good to have more competitive racing. A combination of low numbers racing, and the small number of bands did mean there were some long gaps between races to allow paddlers to recover from their heats for the finals.
Whilst we were at Nottingham, we were also trying to watch the live-feed from the World Whitewater Championships in Muotothal, where Rob J was racing as part of the GB team. Apparently the levels were high, so it was very intense racing, rather than a mix of flat water and rapids. Rob was 10th in the team sprint competition, with Nicky Cresser and Jacob Holmes, and they were 11th in the Classic. Individually he was 33rd in the sprint, and 37th in the classic (and second British senior man behind Nicky).