A wet and overcast day welcomed the Stafford & Stone paddlers to the National White Water Centre for the Div 1 competition. Official practice started promptly at 9:30 before racing kicked off at 10:30 with Dave Royle the first to head down the course in the Vet C1M, not much there to trouble him, posting 2 consistent times and securing 1st place by the end of play.
Next up were the Div 1 C1M and William Mayer & Isaac Wright. Will posting a flyer of a second run in 89.47 seconds, easily good enough for 1st place and those much needed 1000 points. Unfortunately he also picked up 3 touches so had to settle for 2nd. Isaac finishing less than a second behind in 4th place.
K1W saw Alana Middleton improve on her first run total by 5 seconds to take a very well deserved 3rd place. Next were newly promoted Daisy Macklin & Olwen Yates competing at Chapel Falls for the first time. Daisy finishing in 20th and Olwen just behind in 24th.
Moving on to a closely fought K1M and Harry Kirby knocking 3 seconds off his time to take 14th. Reuben Yates competing as a ‘paddle-up’ blasted down the course on his second run taking 11 seconds off his first time to finish 24th, placing higher than 6 Div 1 paddlers and all but one of the Div 2 paddle-ups.
Finally, C1W with Alana, after failing to finish run 1, she got back in and made it down the course to take 6th.
Sunday thankfully bought a change in weather and the occasional blast of sunshine, the change of course should have proved more tricky but in the end only seemed to play to our paddlers advantage.
Dave again opening for Stafford & Stone with the Vets C1M, and although improving his time by 5 seconds had to settle for 2nd place.
In C1M Will & Isaac were joined by Harry McKenna, who was also competing for the first time at Chapel Falls. During a nasty capsize and roll during official practice Harry slammed his shoulder into rocks. Gallantly lining up for run 1, Harry found cross-bows impossible whilst fighting through the pain & injury, thankfully he made it down in one piece, and although disappointed made the sensible decision to withdraw from the rest of the competition…Paddles crossed for a swift recovery Harry.
Will was not going to let 1st place slip through his fingers a second time, which he secured with his first run and was unmatched by the end of second runs. A third 1000 points in the bag and promotion to Prem for C1…. Well done Will !! Isaac was on a very similar game plan and after finding himself in 5th place at lunch, he steamed down the course a second time, wiping 7 seconds off his total and taking home 2nd place.
The K1W competition saw Alana improving on her second run to take 7th. Daisy Macklin & Olwen Yates finishing in the top 1/3 of the table taking home 9th & 12th respectively… a fantastic start to your Div 1 journeys !! Izzy Mockett in her first competition since March, finished 32nd.
Harry Kirby placing 17th in the K1M and Reuben Yates the highest placed ‘paddle-up’, securing 26th.
Last but not to be outdone, Alana took home a massively deserved 1st place in C1W after improving by over 15 seconds !
An amazing couple of days paddling despite the weather and the midges !!. A big thanks to all the Stafford & Stone supporters shouting down from the bridge, and for the coaches Dave & George.
Words – Gemma Macklin