On Sunday Leighton Buzzard Canoe club hosted the Flatwater Racing Association winter series race on the Grand Union Canal. Fortunately we were blessed with good weather as the last time this event ran in 2018 was in snow flurries, 2019’s was cancelled as the canal was frozen. This event is a marathon race with different distances and a different, age related structure to the summer Hasler race series. It also functions as an interclub and individual series challenge. Despite the cold the racing passed off well with only a couple of early baths.
Coming into todays event Leighton were lying second equal with Bishop’s Stortford in the club table, with Chelmsford leading. After a great club effort Chelmsford were still leading but Leighton were clear in second.
That performance came partially with some great wins. Mike Martin won the veterans K1 and Ollie Power and Joseph Galliers kept up the new boat winning streak in the U16 K2. The girls duo of Ellie Mae Bennet and Maggie Rae were second.
Many of the individual results had the pattern of Leighton Buzzard in second and third spots. This was true in the U16 M where Josh Power led Adam Baker. Older U18 men Max Pickering and Ben Stratford followed the pattern, as did Megan Pickering and Kayleigh Dixon in the U14 ladies. Brother Leon Dixon reversed this by getting second ahead of Magnus Gravell in the U14 M.
Others also contributed to the club result. In her first race Ellie Firoozmand raced the U16 ladies race over 6 miles and got an encouraging 5th place. Similarly Sam Legg was 5th in the highly competitive senior men’s K1 over 8 miles. In the ladies race Amy Carter was well placed in second ahead of Amanda Morris in 4th.
Today’s race saw the welcome return to racing of the Tingay brothers Steve and Phil. With Phil having not raced for over 15 years and Steve for 10, they decided that the touring C2 would be a good return, and so it proved. They worked well to come second and lasted the 4 mile course.
One of the more interesting races was a bit of intra-club rivalry. Beth Goodlad usually does kayak but decided to team up with Mike Thornton in the open K2/C2 event in a two seater canoe. They came in ahead of the much more experienced C2 pairing of Paul Stenning and Nigel Dixon. That one will lead to a rematch for sure.