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Leighton Buzzard Canoe Club take on the Frank Luzmore race on the Thames


An early new year fixture in the canoe racing calendar is the Frank Luzmore Memorial race on the River Thames. This race for double crews in K2 kayaks or C2 canoes is a 20 km course from Shepperton to Richmond with three locks or rollers to portage the boat over. Annually this is one of the keynote races of the season and attracts a large field of top class competitors including GB team paddlers. Due to the length and difficulty of the lower Thames it is not suited to the younger juniors.

This year’s race had been in doubt up to the holiday period due to high flows on the Thames after prolonged heavy rain. A few dry days however improved conditions allowing the race to go ahead.

At the sharp end of a top quality field LBCCs Charlie Smith was together with GB teammate Magnus Gregory.  After a fast start in the senior men’s A event they stuck in the leading group and 71 minutes later were second by just 1 second. Other Leighton paddlers in this event were Bob Poole, with Joe Caisley of Tonbridge, who were 17th. Max Pickering was with Joe Richards of Norwich but were down in 22nd.

The mixed category combines a male and female paddler in the crew, and allows juniors to race with seniors. An all junior mixed crew of Ben Stratford and Katy Dixon were 29th in a large field coming just ahead of the senior Leighton crew of Reggie Elliott and Beth Goodlad. Bryan Handsley and Amanda Morris followed them.

Another excellent result for Leighton crews was Paul Stenning and Nigel Dixon coming third in the C2 double canoe race.