Lee Valley – Div2 Open

Theo making a splash in London. Photo Charlotte Wright.

It was a busy weekend at Lee Valley with a Prem and British Open race happening on the Olympic course. But the real action was on the legacy course. For Finley Croome, Isaac Wright and Jack Evans it was their second visit to Lee Valley but first time racing. It was Brooke Benson, Theo Wright and Jess Croome’s first time here and a totally new experience. They were also joined by, Karen Dickinson, Nigel Evans, Dave and Jazz Royle, masters of the course. It was just one days racing on the Sunday, but the organisers had managed to arrange free practice on Saturday. This was invaluable for Brooke and Jess, as this was a big step up for them, Theo took it in his stride.

Brooke enjoying not having to carry her boat.

Sunday’s racing got under way and all was going smoothly. Everyone had got their 1st run completed, but it became apparent during the K1W that timings were going slightly amiss. The big clue was Jess had a time that beat the winning K1M, some 40 seconds off her actual time! Unfortunately despite a lot of effort to rectify the issue it became apparent that the problem was a lot bigger and the decision was taken over lunch that all run 1 times would not be valid.

Isaac keeping the pace up. Photo Charlotte Wright

So we were now in a situation like the Prem guys on the Olympic course, it was all down to one run! This added pressure didn’t show and everyone got on with laying down their best run. Isaac set an impressive time, but one touch lost him 2nd place and put him in joint 4th with Finley.

Fin after those vital few final points.

Fin who was just 3 points off promotion managed to keep his run clean and the 4th place was enough to get him promoted to Div1.

Jack on route to gate 4

Theo and Jack weren’t too far off the pace, just a few seconds apart but an unfortunate 50 for Jack pushed him down the finishing order.

Jess totally focused. Photo Kim Jones

Jess and Brooke had risen to the challenge well and both mastered the tricky course. Brooke not content with just K1 opted for a paddle up in her C1. She managed really well in both and in fact had a better run In her C1 looking really at one with her craft. They both benefited from the support of the Slalom Inspires team with Eilidh coming over to cheer them on, which gave them a big boost.

Brooke mastering her C1

Karen was happy with her run and despite having to paddle back for a gate managed an impressive 5th place. It was also good to see the Royle’s in action as Dave and Jazz took to the course in their C1s. Jazz wasn’t going to go easy on her dad beating him by 5 seconds. With Dave taking 3rd place and Nigel coming in 4th in the Vets Class.

Jazz & Dave in the start pool.

Results are available here

Words and Pictures (where not stated) – Adrian Croome