This year the Hasler Final was held at Bedford on the River Ouse and organised jointly by Bedford (Viking) Kayak Club and Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club. It was a beautiful day and an ideal venue.
The course was unfortunately very choppy, due to the straight high banks, but it was immaculately buoyed and divided so as to avoid collisions, and prevent finishers getting mixed with those still racing. Everything ran to time, even the final presentation (which is pretty much unheard of for this event).
The racing took place in 3 “waves” . First the Div. 7,8 & 9.. followed by 4,5,6.. then finally 1,2 and 3. This made plenty of time to watch and support. In spite of the rough water, all our team were really racing to win and giving their all, not letting conditions deter them in any way, they were going for it ! It was no mean feat to just get off the start when there were thirty or so boats jostling for position.
Team Elmbridge was mainly from the junior section of the club .. all but one of them under 16. We had a team of 30, which included only 7 adults. We were represented in all divisions from 9 – 1 in either K1 or K2, sometimes both. Very few of our boats were placed lower than 4th. It is obvious that everyone was doing their best when we look at our promotions from this event (16 of them !)
In order to make this competition viable for smaller clubs the number of boats that score is limited to 3 x K2 and 6 x K1. The way to win the trophy is to get as near as possible to winning with those prescribed boats.
We were thrilled to come through the 7,8,9 group with a K1 win (Stefano) and a K2 win (Becky/Rebecca) . Ardarsh and Steve both took 3rd places in K1 as did Ruby/Louise in K2. A good start !
In the 4,5,6 group Elise convincingly won Div6 K1, Amy was 3rd in 4 K1 (followed closely by Kayne in 4th). Ross and Elliot took 3rd place in 5 K2. It was then down to the last group of paddlers in Division 1, 2 and 3 to boost the score to the winning level. We had to improve on 2 wins, 2 x 3rds and 2 x4th in K1 and 1 win and 2 x 3rd in K2.
They did just enough .. Phil came 3rd in Div1 K1 .. but Dwane really excelled himself with a crucial first place in Div2. Harry and Matt took 3rd in Div3 K2. We won by 6 points ! (226) , Banbury were 2nd with 220, Norwich 3rd with 211, Wey 206, LBZ 170 ,Basingstoke 169 ……