Andy Flack’s race report:
What a fantastic day it was on Sunday. For some reason the wind died and the sun shone while we had our home Hasler race. 78 paddlers entered from our club, of which eight were Lightning paddlers. Overall, the number of visitors were down on previous years, with 157 visitors this year compared with 192 last year.
Our Lightning team did us proud with an emphatic win. Lizzie H got the better of Isabella M coming 1st with Isabella 2nd in U10F. They then teamed up together to in the U10 Hody race to win followed by Edward L and Toby P in his first Hasler race. Joe E and Jake G came 1st in under 12 K2 Hody, with Joe also coming 3rd in U12M. Will B came 2nd in U10M and with James L in the team that brought the total points for the Lightning team to 255 well ahead of Reading with 91 points.
In the divisional races, Ali Duncan proved his fitness and strength by coming 1st in Div 4 K1 followed home by Dave Jault in 2nd. Rosa D and Edith L had a fantastic race leading Div 7 K2 all the way to win with Izzy B and her uncle, David Woodcock, in 3rd place. Will P led the Banbury junior paddlers in Div 6 K1 to come 2nd, followed by Michael P in 3rd and Toby H just outside the podium places, but all three gaining promotion to division 5. There were a succession of 2nd places, with Josh P in Div 7 K1, Joe Petersen and Isla Johnson in Div 3 K2, Sam Jones and Will Austin in Div 4 K2, Will Harte and Neil Urquhart in Div 5 K2 and Jacqui Smith and Zoe Dyndor in Div 8 K2. Will L came 3rd in division 9 K1 in his first divisional race even though he should still be competing in the under 12s and got himself promoted to Div 8. Alex Battison is improving dramatically in his high kneeling canoe to come 3rd in Div 8 and gain promotion to Div 7. Will McC was paddling up in Div 2 K2 and came 3rd with his partner from Lincoln CC, Ben Q. Malcolm Gilks was also paddling above his ranking with Paul Smith in Div 6 K2 and they came 3rd.

This race saw plenty of new paddlers which is essential to the health of our club. Terry Paxton seemed to master the conditions with a very creditable 10th place in Div 9 in his first race. It was great to see Joe Lawlor back racing and Abi Beck paddling K1. Greg Oleksy and Oli Morris made their annual appearance and possibly most impressive of all was Tony Gonzalez paddling his first C1 race in four years and he stayed upright all the way.

It was great to see the void left by the tranche of juniors going to university being filled with the next wave of juniors. We’ve now got a group of 12 active junior paddlers in Divs 4-6 with an equal number in Divs 7-8 looking like they will go up very soon. My memory isn’t very good but this is possibly the strongest junior section yet in the club’s history.

I was very grateful to all the marshals, start & finish team and everyone who helped out with the catering along with special thanks to Andy Moxon for organising the catering despite suffering an illness that would see me laying up resting.

Now the proper long races start. First up is Basingstoke Canal CC with their Charles Hicks Challenge on the 19th November which is 16.6 miles long. The week after that is our very own Ross Warland Challenge which is 20 miles long on the 26th November. Our race has all sorts of permutations that you can paddle with straight through and relay options available.
See you all on the water.