Kirkcaldy Canoe Club made their annual trip to the Hasler finals on Sunday.
The Hasler final is the annual inter club competition for marathon racing, and the event is the culmination of a season of regional racing where the top clubs in each region qualify to compete for the Hasler trophy. Kirkcaldy canoe club was top club in the east of Scotland and travelled to Burton on Trent for the competition which they have won twice previously.
The team arrived on Saturday night to be met by glorious weather. The paddlers went for a paddle to check out the course and prepare for the following days’ competition.
Competition day was cloudy and wet, however the Scottish paddlers felt at home. The first series of races were for the division 7-9 paddlers who competed over the four-mile course. Kirkcaldy had paddlers in the division nine K2 race with Cem Toruntay and Daniel Nicol having a strong start. Unfortunately they caught a submerged rock in the river and damaged their rudder which slowed them, however they battled on to finish in 19th position. Next up, in division 8, Kirsty McIntyre and Lindsay McMorrin paddled well to finish in a time of 42.19.
In division 7 Kirkcaldy had two crews’ competing in the K2 event. Brian and Colin Chapman, and Alan Henderson and Derek Veale. Alan and Derek have trained hard all year, and were even promoted to division 7 over the summer. This spurred them on to train harder and the effort was rewarded with the team’s best result; a second place in division 7 K2.
The Lightning races were next on the programme. Kirkcaldy fielded a strong team in this class which uses boats of identical design and specification for under 12 paddlers. The club have a fleet of fourteen Lightning kayaks to increase paddling amongst younger paddlers.
The club was represented by Stephen Veale, Blair Henderson, Rachel Syme (U12), and Iain Chapman (U10). All the paddlers performed very well in a competition as large as the Hasler with large entries. Stephen Veale lead the way with a fourth place in his race.
The afternoon races were over the longer distances of 8 and 12 miles. These courses included a compulsory portage on each lap. This was wet and muddy and care had to be taken to avoid falling. This feature is incorporated to replicate canal locks and obstructions in marathon racing.
Colin McMorrin competed in division 3 over 12 miles. He tangled with another boat at a turn and was knocked in. This slowed his progress, however he persevered and finished seventh picking up valuable points for the club.
In division five Neil Chalmers recovered from a poor start to finish 15thand team mate Margaret Chapman came in 24th. In division 6 Paula Henderson had a good race in her first race at the longer distance.
The club finished in a strong 18th position in the Hasler trophy standings from thirty two clubs. In the separate Lightning competition the club finished eighth. A mention must also be made to all the people who helped make the trip the success it was.
Full results are available here.