A Busy weekend for Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club

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It has been a busy weekend for LBCC although the start was a bit reduced as the morning coaching session was cancelled due to no water. In the toilets and showers that is, the canal was well filled by rain. Saturday evening saw the annual awards ceremony and Christmas party

The awards ceremony is slightly lower profile than SPOTY but is a chance to celebrate the years achievements, acclaim high achieving and hard working paddlers, and to thank and praise coaches and others for their hard work in support. One part of that was the first presentation of a volunteer award from British Canoeing for the volunteers who assist in many ways at regattas in Nottingham. Leighton Buzzard has provided more volunteers than any other club in 2019.

The achievements of the youngest paddlers were especially honoured. For the second year in a row the under 12 Lightning paddlers have won the Geoff Sanders Trophy for points accumulated in the Hasler marathon series. Two of those that have contributed to this were George Rea who won the U12 male award and Kayleigh Dixon the U12 female. Also Ruby Perkins took the cygnet award for best junior newcomer.

Moving up the age range Max Pickering took the Junior male and Katy Dixon the junior female. But the important Doug Saxby award for the highest number of Hasler series point went to Jack Rayment who has excelled and got promoted to division 5 in marathon and regularly races against much older racers.

The ‘old swan’ award for best adult newcomer went to Amy Carter for her successful introduction to racing after only starting earlier this year. Another relatively new paddler Carly Hudson took the Barry Tingay paddle for her consistent hard work and supportive effort. Another relatively new paddler but a bit older Paul Murphy won the veterans award. On a lighter note the ‘toilet seat’ for the most impressive capsize, went to veteran coach and founding member Julian Brown, not so much for the quality of a particular swim, but more for the sheer quantity of them on junior coaching sessions.

The senior male was not surprisingly GB team paddler Charlie Smith who was also presenting the awards. Senior female went to Lydia Oxtoby. She however, was not in the room as she is in southwest China competing in the wildwater racing world cup. In true SPOTY style she accepted with  a video segment via Skype.

Over in Liukuzen southwest China Lydia was racing on the Nu Jiang river. The classic race was unusual as being a long race which took nearly an hour despite the fast flowing river. Also rather than being the usual time trial against the clock it was a mass start head to head race exploiting the wide river. Lydia came 6th which oddly slightly disappointed her. Next day Saturday was the sprint race and Lydia did better to qualify for the final and come 5th. Teammate Hannah Brown won.

Sunday morning and a number of paddlers went over to Cheshunt for the winter series race. Conditions were good if a little cold but with a lot of water in the river giving a good flow to contend with. Once again it was juniors to the fore. Under 14 girls Megan Pickering came in second and Kayleigh Dixon celebrating her award third.

In the under 16 male K1 race Adam Baker came a great third, and up an age range Ben Stratford was second. However Jack Rayment had decided to enter the open K1 race against adults, so a 4th place was an excellent result. For the ladies Beth Goodlad had an excellent race and was second ahead of Amanda Morris in 6th. There was also a number of veteran men out, Brian Handley in K1 came 5th ahead of Paul Murphy and newcomer Steven Hodgkinson. In the open class mens K2/C2 Paul Stenning and Nigel Dixon were 9th despite mixing it with the faster K2s. Also the touring C2 of Jeremy Stratford and David Shipway came 6th.

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