Bronze in the French Sun for Joe Clarke at the World Cup Final

GB senior team headed to the Pyrenees for the third World Cup in the La Seu, Spain and World Cup final in Pau, France. Adam Burgess, Chris Bowers and Joe Clarke were in action in Spain. All three progressed to the semifinals in the La Seu but unfortunately unable to convert that into a final. Action then turned across the Pyrenees to the French city of Pau venue of the 2017 world Championships. Adam Burgess missed World Cup final leaving just Chris and Joe to represent Stafford & Stone Canoe Club at the race

Friday saw Chris and Joe safely through to the semifinals in heat one. With Joe recording the fastest time of the day in the Kayak Men. An extremely tricky and long finals course was set requiring a number of spin manoeuvres and tight breakouts to test the paddlers endurance, strength and speed. Chris Bowers was first of the Stafford & Stone men to attempt the course paddling well through the top two sections and was in touch to make the final but he found the bottom third of the course was little too sticky for Chris losing small amounts of time and eventually would finish outside of the top 10 in 16th place. Having won the heats Joe would be last to go in the semi-final knowing that you would need a very good run to make the top 10 and progress into the final. Joe put down a competitive and fast time with a couple of small errors to secure himself 8th position.
A super competitive final featuring three French paddlers and the overall top four from the World cup standing made for an exciting finally to the World Cup series. Joe having qualified in eighth place in the semis will be the third competitor to go down in the final. A supremely competitive run from Joe saw him keep touch with the race leader at the time Boris Neavu of France. Joe clearly negotiated all the gates and performed some excellent spin moves and tight sweep stroke breakouts to take the race lead but with seven competitors to come he had a nervous wait to see where he would finish. Former two time world champion and Olympic silver medallist Peter Kauzer was next on the course he eclipsed Joes time by 0.7 of a second to take the lead and push Joe down to silver medal position. Several more competitors came before the Vit Prindis of the Czech Republic recorded what turned out to be the race winning time with another clean negotiation of the gates. With a further three competitors to good to come Joe chances of holding onto a podium looked slim in what turned out to be an incredibly tight race. However neither of the three remaining paddlers challenged the top three in the race. So Joe came away with Bronze in the World Cup final.

As the points in the World Cup final count for double Joe improved his ranking to finish 6th in the overall World Cup standings with Chris Bowers finishing 10th. Both Kayak men will now travel to Bratislava in Slovakia were they will joined by Adam Burgess for the World Championships in just over two weeks time.

Written by Pete Willett