Stafford and Stone were on a mission this weekend with the great and the good all braving the 3 ½ hrs plus drive to Llandysul. Slowly the field filled up with team members pitching tents and organising motorhomes and caravans, and then hopping onto the water for Friday night practice.
Saturday saw Paul Evans and Darren Ship kicked things off in the Vets K1M, a fabulous show for the younger paddlers and first timers, with Paul finishing in first place. Next up was the Div 2 C1M, which had Harry McKenna and Leo Miller competing for glory. Harry was clearly on a mission and took 1st place with 2 clear runs and 3 seconds ahead of his closest competitor, more importantly this gave him the 500 points needed to gain promotion to Div 1…. Well done Harry!!! The Div 2 K1W followed which saw Olwyn Yates put in 2 amazing runs to take 1st place and again 3 seconds clear. Daisy Macklin finished in 5th, Karen Dickenson in 16th and Willow Rodi in 17th, putting in 2 clear runs at her first ever Div 2 race after being promoted at Symonds Yat.
Harry was back in action along with George Harratt and Reuben Yates in the Div 2 K1M, it was a pretty packed field and the smallest of margins between ranks. Harry took 2nd with Reuben in 5th and George 10th.
It was Daisy’s turn again in the Div 2 C1W, she eventually finished in 2nd missing out on the top spot by 0.2 seconds! The C2 racing was spread across the day but there was no doubt that the Steve & George version of ‘Team Harratt’ would be victorious, clean sheet stickers earnt on both runs and a healthy 20 second lead. It was also lovely to spy our own Adam Burgess’ old C2 has found a home with Llandysul Paddlers. Then theturn of the Div 3s, in K1W Rowen Yates put on a fabulous display and took second place claiming a very handy 219 points. In K1M Ayden Coefinished in 5th and Scott Tuckley in 8th great work for their first visit. Finally the all important Div 4 on the Lake, Michael Mckenna put in a sterling effort to finish second but yet again promotion eluded him.
Saturday night was spent around the Yate’s family campfire celebrating a successful day and discussing just how burnt is too burnt for a marshmellow!
Sunday morning started with the promised rain splashing on tents and metal roofs, but luckily was short-lived. Paul & Darren followed exactly the same script as Saturday with a 1st and 4th. Harry got a rest from C1, Leo managed to shave 3 seconds off his first run time to finish in 5th. In Div 2 K1W, after the first run Daisy was holding onto the lead 0.1 seconds ahead of Olwyn, however, after an absolutely explosive second run Olwyn claimed her second 1st place of the weekend, a blistering 5 seconds clear, Daisy finishing in 2nd. Karen improved on her second run and Willow bagged another clear run for herself, a very successful first visit to Llandysul. Next the Div 2 K1M, Harry completed the job he’d started yesterday and gained another promotion in Div 1 with 2 clear runs and a fantastic 2nd place. George followed closely behind in 3rd and Reuben took 6th. In Div 2 C1W Daisy was determined not to let another 1st place slip through her fingers so shaved 1.5 seconds on her final run to secure it.
Team Harratt faced even more competition today with 5 other pairs competing in C2, 1st place was swiftly claimed with another masterclass in team-work and pace. The Div 3s continued to do S&SCC proud with Rowan claiming 5th, Ayden 3rd and Scott 4th.
Finally back to the lake for the Div 4 and Michael was joined by Dan Macklin, who despite capsizing at gate 5, managed to empty and climb back into his borrowed boat to complete his first ever slalom race. The star of the lake however, was Michael, who put in 2 storming runs and “drumroll please” gained his much anticipated promotion to Div 3!!!
A big thanks to all of the coaches who gave up so much of their time to support the paddlers this weekend…. Darren, George, John, Paul & Steve.
Words by Gemma Macklin