We’re in peak racing season at the moment. This weekend all the action was at the National Water Sports Centre, Nottinghamshire, for the British Canoeing National Sprint Championships and British Open Wildwater Championships. Amazingly, we had yet another sunny weekend without too much wind, and with Banbury paddlers winning a handful of medals, the spirits in the club gazebo were high. Nothing to do with there being a Pimms van on site of course – just as well most people were camping!

We have a number of new national champions – Alex B in U23 C1 and C2 500 and 1000 with Harvey Kirk; Amy T – back from the World Championships – in Womens 500 K4; Alice M – Women’s K1 1000 and Joe P with Finn (Linlithgow) U23 K2 1000.

There were even more silver medals – Amy again in K1 500, Joe and Finn with Arthur (Royal) and Spencer (Devizes) U23 K4 500; Will McC U18 K2 200 with Ben (Lincoln) and K4 500. Iain W may have retired from full-time training recently but he clearly hasn’t completely lost it yet, with silver in Mens C1 200, 500 and 1000. Esme D was 2nd in U18 Girls K2 200 with Fran (Reading) and was on course for another silver, but had an untimely capsize – not the only Banbury paddler to do so – we probably won that competition! Alice also won a bronze medal with Becca in Women’s K2 200.

Rob J and George U were splitting themselves between the two championships, with Rob making a number of sprint finals, as well as taking silver in the Senior Classic and bronze in the sprint. George is new to wildwater racing but, with little competition on the day, took U18 gold in both distances, and in the regional race. He also picked up the two Wavehopper trophies he won with Max and Luke last year – hopefully we can put together another team this year to win them back!

Next weekend sees the club split between the first Hasler marathon race of the new season at Pangbourne Canoe Club, whilst the junior team race at the Sobeka Flanders Cup in Belgium.