After being called off by ice the week before, the postponed race went ahead in dry and sunny conditions. Smaller than usual turnouts in some of the classes led to the organisers combining some of the starts.
High river levels on the 15th Jan, with more rain predicted, meant that the race was postponed by a week. The last minute date change combined with cold temperatures resulting in a much lower attendance than usual. However, this did mean that the 89 loyal competitors who made their way around one, two or three loops of the river Can through Chelmsford had a greater chance to boost their series points total.
Chelmsford CC's own members naturally made up the vast majority of those taking part, and were the overall winners, both in terms of total club points and points won by novice juniors (towards the Dick Grieve Trophy). Cambridge CC finished in overall second place, ahead of Leighton Buzzard CC by just one point. However, Leighton Buzzard CC's novice juniors took second, 3 points ahead of Bishop's Stortford CC.
There was another good turnout of 135 competitors for the Cambridge Winter Series race, with the senior doubles class being, as usual, the largest with 24 boats - it was lovely to see five MC2s amongst these. The Vet MK1s were also out in typical force, but more surprisingly their number (14) was equalled by the Open K1 class.
Ten teams took part. Chelmsford CC were the overall winners at Cambridge (236 points), with Cambridge CC second (122), followed by Norwich CC (95). In the competition for the Dick Grieve Trophy (based on the performance of novice juniors only) Chelmsford CC were again in the lead (43 points) while Bishops Stortford CC and Leighton Buzzard CC tied for second place with 32 points each.
This means that with, two more races to go, four clubs (Cambridge, Stortford, Buzzard, and Norwich) all have exactly the same number of series points. There is also a tie for first place in the Dick Grieve competition between Chelmsford and Stortford (with Leighton Buzzard close behind). Even the Bob Porter Trophy (for the club with most participating u12s across the series) is currently tied between Leighton Buzzard, Bishops Stortford and Chelmsford!
The next race will be at Chelmsford on 15th January.
Persistent rain did not deter a good number of competitors from coming to the opening race of the 2022-2023 Winter Series at Bishops Stortford - 130 competitors took part.
The senior doubles class, which has been steadily increasing in popularity over the last few years attracted 23 entries, making for a packed start line, to which the increased flow caused by the rain added an additional challenge. Leah Falltrick & Kat Wilson, who came third in this class, completed the 7-mile 6-portage course in 1:02:04 and thus beat the record of 1:09:20 for an all-female crew set by Ella Beatty & Maia Wallace-Loizou in 2015.
The other course record to fall this year was that for a C1 on the 3-mile 1-portage course. Shan Zheng Tan (4th overall in the Red class for Novice C1 & u14 Girls K1) finished in 34:33 - the previous fastest time (35:06) was achieved by Robin Dromard in 2006.
Class winners were:
Class 9 (Senior K2/MC2) - Sienna Payne & William Stroud (CLM)
Class 8 (K1 Open) - James How (NOR)
Class 7 (Vet M K1) - Rich Winstanley (BSF)
Class 6 (u18 M K1) - Ali Kabeer (WOK)
Class 5 (u16 M K1) - Jack Rayment (LBZ)
Class 4 (16+ K1 & Adv C1) - Rachael Hampton (CLM)
Class 3 (u16 K2) - Eddie Kirtland & Libby Gaulton (BSF)
Class 2 (u16 F K1) - May Perrin (CLM)
Class 1 (TC2) - Dora Goupil & Hadar Ben Gal (IND)
Class Blue (u14 M K1) - Matteo Bose (CLM)
Class Red (u14 F K1 & C1) - Johanna Milbradt (CAM)
Class GP - Tim Chamberlin (CLM)
Class Yellow (u12 K1) - Noah Nobbs (NOR)
The Mayor of Bishops Storford, Dave Anderson, kindly attended to present the medals.
Eight teams took part. Chelmsford CC were the overall winners (271 points), with B. Stortford CC second (114), followed by Leighton Buzzard CC, Cambridge CC and Norwich CC.
The next race will be at Cambridge on 4th December.
SS 2022: B. Stortford Regatta
Although only one FRA regatta took place this year, the attendance of 49 paddlers was in line with pre-covid numbers. All the clubs in the FRA sent teams, and it was also pleasing to see a small group from Hemel.
The full results from the day's racing can be found on the Summer Series results page.
Hats off to Leighton Buzzard Club who managed to quickly rearrange the date of their race to 30 January after the river was frozen on the originally scheduled day. Most clubs were still able to attend, though with slightly smaller teams. A week had made all the difference and the weather was sunny and mild.
We hope to have more races in next season's Winter Series, starting in autumn 2022. Please add yourself to the FRA mailing list if you would like to be kept informed.
All the profits from the Winter Series go to the constituent FRA clubs to support racing at the grass roots. If you have any comments about the series or suggestions for the future, please do pass them to your club's FRA committee member (if you are a member of the one of the six clubs comprising the FRA). Other clubs/paddlers are welcome to send their comments direct to the FRA Secretary.
WS 2021-22 Race 2: Cambridge Results
After an early promise of some sunshine the day proved cold and rather damp. There were still some punts about to add an extra challenge to the proceedings as the race wound its way through the historic backs.
As usual almost a quarter of the competitors had come to take part in the doubles race, which this time had a sufficient number of MC2s participating to justify a separate start.
WS 2021-22 Race 1: Stortford Results
After missing an entire season due to the pandemic, it was good to see the Winter Series running again - especially as this is 2021, the 40th anniversary of the series being formalised. It was therefore particularly appropriate that the start and finish marshals for the day were Ron and Alison Thorogood, winners respectively of the Senior Mens K1 and Senior Ladies K1 series trophies back in the 1981/82 season!
The trend towards doubles racing continued, with 20 K2s and one C2 entering Class 9. Women are increasingly well represented, with the gold, silver and bronze medals in Class 9 all going to mixed crews. There were also three all-female crews in this class.
The Mens Veterans race (Class 7) was the second biggest class with 16 entrants, so that taken together with Class 9, these two classes made up over half the competitors present.
Ali Kabeer from Wokingham, won Class 5 (u16 MK1) in a time of 44:43 and thus came quite close to beating the 5-mile course record for the Stortford race, which was set at 43:03 in 2010 by Lewis Duffield.
A total of 109 competitors took part, drawn from twelve different clubs. Despite sending a much smaller team than usual, Chelmsford were still dominated the event and won easily (210 points), with Stortford second (119) and Leighton Buzzard third (83).
The full race results are on the Winter Series results page. There are also a few photos of the race on Flickr here. The next race will be at Cambridge on 5th December.
News from FRA AGM 2020
Following the recent AGM it has been decided that it will not be possible to hold a 2020/2021 Winter Series. All the clubs involved in hosting the races each feel that the difficulties of staging a race under the current conditions are just too challenging. The committee will be meeting again in February to consider whether a Sprint Series will be possible over the summer months.
The FRA committee is also acutely aware that having called off the final race of last series due to Storm Ciara, and no racing occurring since due to the pandemic, there has been no opportunity to get your trophies to you from last season. It has been decided that we will not give out the perpetual trophies this year, but instead we will have all the trophies engraved at the FRA's expense (where engraving applies). We are sorry for any disappointment this causes. If you would like to have a photo of the trophy sent to you, we can arrange this.
We will however be distributing the commemorative glasses to all those who came first, second or third in their class. We are making arrangements to pass these to the participating clubs so that they can pass them on to their members. Independent paddlers are being contacted separately to work out how we can best get them to you.
The complete list of award winners can be found on the WS results page.