Despite Stortford having to announce that it was unable to provide on-site parking for everyone this year, the opening race of the Winter Series still attracted 131 competitors. Ten clubs participated as teams, and 6 more were represented amongst the Independent entries.
Canoes were very much in evidence, thanks to a healthy 6 entries in the TC2 class, where numbers have been dwindling for the past few years.
One of the stand-out performances of the day came from Wokingham CC paddler Ali Kabeer paddling as an Independent, who smashed the boys K1 record for the short course with his time of 25:57. The record previously stood at 27:52, set in 2013 by Tim Gannicott Porter of Chelmsford. Ali of course won gold in the u14MK1 class. See the updated list of course records.
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 1st December.
After ice had prevented the Leighton Buzzard Winter Series race from going ahead only two weeks before, the 92 competitors for this event were able to enjoy perfect paddling conditions. Twelve clubs were represented.
The presentations for the day were immediately followed by the series awards. This year, since there had only been five races in the series, the competitors' best four results only were considered. Paddlers must have competed in three events to be eligible for an award. Engraved glasses were presented for 1st, 2nd and 3rd-placed competitors/crews in each class. A large number of perpetual trophies were also awarded - in many case more than one in each class.
Across the series, 243 different paddlers have taken part (after allowing for changes of class or crew) and 42 of these have entered every race! Fifteen different clubs have been represented, plus a number of independents.
There were 133 competitors at the Chelmsford Winter Series race. The races on the short (3 mile) course went off at 11am and the long/middle distance races (8/5 miles) at 12. Again, there was a large field for the senior doubles - 24 boats.
Full results can be found on the results page. Chelmsford CC were the overall winners, Leighton Buzzard CC were second and Cambridge CC third. For the Dick Grieve Trophy, the team from Royal Hospital School gained the highest total of points from novice juniors, followed by Chelmsford and HYM-COPS third.
The next race will be on 3 February 2019, at Leighton Buzzard - see race details here.
One hundred and twelve competitors took part in the race on the Lea at Cheshunt, on a day that was relatively warm with bright sunshine.
The next race will be on 13 January 2019, at Chelmsford. Race details will be online soon. Sign up to the mailing list if you would like to be alerted when they are released.
It was good to bring the Winter Series back to Cambridge after a year's break. The race was particularly well-supported, with a total of 146 competitors drawn from 13 different clubs, as well as several independents.
The size of the senior K2 class, which has been increasing steadily over the last ten years, reached a record 25 boats at this race.
Numbers of Canadian canoe entries were particularly good thanks to the welcome return of the Paddlesport Racers Association and Hemel CC.
Full results can be found on the results page, where you can also see your series points total for the race so far, for paddlers/crews and by club. The race was won overall by Chelmsford CC, with hosts Cambridge CC second and Leighton Buzzard CC third. In the Dick Grieve league table (based on performance by novice juniors only), Chelmsford CC were again first, but with Cambridge CC second and Leighton Buzzard third.
The next race in the series will be on 9th December at Herts Young Mariner's Base, Cheshunt.
Emma Russell and James Walkington's (CLM) time of 56:26 in the 7 mile K2 race was not after all (as reported earlier in error) a course record for mixed K2 (that was set at 53:08 by Mark Wilkes and Kat Wilson in 2016), but was nevertheless an excellent time.
Ten clubs were represented. Chelmsford were the winning team with Stortford 2nd and Leighton Buzzard 3rd. In the Dick Grieve table (based on performance by novice juniors only) the result also Chelmsford 1st and Stortford 2nd, but Leaside CC in third place. The full race results can be seen on the Winter Series results page.
The next race will be at Cambridge on 25th November - see Cambridge race details.
The next event will be the finals at Leaside on 27 January - see Leaside race information page. The presentation of the day's medals will be followed by the presentation of the Series trophies.
The Winter Series resumed after the Christmas break with 147 contestants battling it out on the Chelmer. The course extended along the River Can through Chelmsford park and back, with racers on the short, middle and long courses completing one, two or three laps respectively.
Host club Barking & Dagenham CC provided safety cover with power boats along the course but there were few retirements and everything went off smoothly to plan. We hope that B&D can arrange some local parking and secure the future of this long-standing event on the River Roding.
The next race will be at Chelmsford on 14 January - see Chelmsford race information page.
Despite a bitterly cold weekend, the turnout for the Cheshunt Winter Series race was a good one, with 126 competing over 3, 6 or 8 miles on the River Lea.
The race was notable for the number of Canadian canoes taking part, as these have been declining in recent years. As well as the four boats in the C2 race (won for the second time in succession by Anna Maria and Stefanie of CAM), there were five C1s. David Shipway (LBZ) competed on the short course in Class 16, while four others (Paul Stenning of LBZ, Andy Porter of CLM and independents Ross Pearton and Nicholas Boyd) took on the 6-mile course - Paul won the medal for first C1.
The organisers and volunteers of HYM-COPS - the smallest of the clubs who host the Winter Series - worked very hard to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for everyone. They also ran a raffle to raise funds for Crisis at Christmas.
The next race will be at Barking on Sunday 3rd December - see the Barking WS page for full details.