We have to cast our minds back several weeks to when life was normal and we were able to train and race. Stafford & Stone CC were hosting the first Div3/4 this year. The threat of a COVID-19 lockdown was hanging over the country and because of this we had competitors travel from across the country to race at Stone. It was really good to see so many happy faces enjoying the good weather and what turned out to be an excellent weekends racing.
We had a large turn out in all classes. It was, as ever good to see the future Canoe Slalom stars taking to the course. For many it was their first ever race, did we have the next Joe Clarke on the start line?
With so many competitors the two sessions were long and the supports were keen to encourage the very last paddler. Llandysul had set up halfway down the river and had even set up a fire pit to keep them warm. With Lee Valley making a very homely camp on the bend.
The C2 class is always a popular one at S&SCC, with man of the higher division paddlers coming to compete and test themselves against Team Harratt. Saturday saw Steve and Bex set the Harratt time for other to beat. It looked like they had some competition with Kate Lyndon and Izzy Mocket, who actually beat their raw time. A touch For the girls added a 2sec penalty leaving them 1.3 sec behind the Harratt’s and in 2nd place.
For the Stone Div4 boys it was a chance for them to show the skills learnt over the last 10 months. Saturday saw the boys lock out the first 7 places with the win going to to Rufus Whittingham. Rufus and Ollie Rothner also got the important promotion. On Sunday it was the turn of Scott Tuckley, who in 2nd place was promoted to Div3. Well done to all the boys on a fantastic race. It was also good to see Michael McKenna, one of Rufus’s adult paddlers compete. A rather soggy finish to run, one didn’t deter Michael lining up for his second attempt, cheered on by his son Harry he managed to cross the finish line this time and finished a respectable 7th.
Both days saw impressive numbers competing in Div3 C1W. The racing was close, with hardly any time between the Stone girls. Congratulations to Brogan Swart from Wyedean for taking the win on both days.
For the boys it was Finley Croome and Theo in their C1s. Both boys had 4 good runs over the weekend, with Finley taking the win both days.
Due to the strange times we were experiencing, the decision was taken to hold prize giving outside. It was good to have a large crowd still at the club to support those who received a prize.
Thanks as ever has to go to the organisers, the many volunteers who judged and helped with timings and the catering team who kept us all going. It was really good to see so many of the new parents taking the opportunity to learn some of the jobs and helping run the weekend.
We would also like to thank everyone who attended and made it such a successful weekend. We are desperately upset by the current situation we find ourselves in and we cant wait to see you all again soon at the next race, whenever this may be. We would like to offer our support to other clubs who have not been able to hold their races and we are sure our members will support you when we are able to race. Stay safe, stay healthy and we will see you soon.
Words: Adrian Croome
Pictures: Steve Pearce