Hasler Final 2023 Write Up by Sienna Payne
For the final race of the 2022/23 season, last Sunday (September 24th) the Chelmsford Canoe Club team trekked across the country over to Worcester Canoe Club for the Hasler Final. After a big season of competitive races within the region, many promotions and celebratory results, the team qualified at the Bishop Stortford Hasler at the beginning of the summer. And then last weekend, they showed what they were made of in the windy and wavy conditions of River Severn.
Starting the day off well, those racing in Divisions 7 to 9 were up bright and early and began to set off. The first competitors from Chelmsford to grace the start line were the Div 8 K2s in which we had two crews. Tracey Avery and Bruno Bose paired up and had a great result for the first time racing together of 6th. And a few minutes later, Andy Porter and Deano Williams came in their C2 and with a strong performance, placing 12th.
Soon after we saw Becky Perrin start in the first K1 race of the day: Div 7. After a consistent season in the division and on a huge startline of 48 boats, she had a happy, determined performance and placed 20th. After a few more starts, we saw the final competitors of the morning start: Div 9 K1. 3 boats from Chelmsford took their place on the start line and performed spectacularly. First to return was Alex Stratford coming in third, earning Chelmsford its first podium position of the day and getting a promotion to Div 8, an epic result from her! Next to cross the line was Claire Cheung taking 15th and Beth Bose coming in 26th, a great performance from both of them, especially for their first Hasler Final.
The next start off was made up of racers in Divisions 4 to 6. First off was Adrian Applewhite and Martin Stroud in Div 4 K2, and then Lily Stratford and John Avery in Div 5 K2. While neither crew had raced much together or at all before, both performed well. The Applewhite-Stroud duo took 27th while Stratford and Avery took a 9th, in their respective divisions.
The first K1s of this section to return, were Mark Hampton, Matteo Bose and Graham McKeand. As the wind picked up and the waves became choppier, the trio all put up a determined performance and raced well. Mark Hampton and Matteo Bose had a close finish between themselves, placing 14th and 15th respectively. Graham McKeand finished a few minutes later taking 31st.
The final K2s to return from these divisions were those from Div 6. The three crews representing Chelmsford were Zowie Shephard-Wyatt and Gayle McKeand, Pete Willis and Phil Curry, and James Benson and Phil Russell. After a successful season in Div 7 K2, the McKeand and Shephard-Wyatt crew had an incredible result of 5th! While Pete Willis and Phil Curry came in barely 30 seconds behind taking an impressive 7th. Finally, the Benson-Russell duo came a solid 15th.
The only races left in this section now were the Div 5 and Div 6 K1s in which we saw juniors May Perrin (Div 5) and James Johnson (Div 6) race. Sadly, as the conditions worsened, May Perrin chose to retire. However, James Johnson continued to battle the winds and placed an impressive 11th for his first race in the longer distance of Div 6 and his first Hasler Final!
As we reached midday, it was time for the top divisions to set off. With competitors in almost each of these races, great results came in. To begin with, the Div 1 K2s set off. Making up half the race, the two Chelmsford crews: James Russell and William Stroud, and Tim Gannicott-Porter and Matthew Johnson both broke away clear at the start. Between the two pairs, they hotly contended the race the entire way until the finish, at which the Russell-Stroud duo claimed the win just in front of Gannicott-Porter and Johnson, who took second, both crews adding to the medals Chelmsford claimed this weekend.
The other K2s racing in this section of the day, were James Walkinton and Melissa Johnson in Div 2, and Owen Shephard-Wyatt and Leah Falltrick in Div 3. Walkinton and Johnson had a closely fought finish, just missing out on the podium by one place while the Div 3 crew took a 9th.
Set off just between the Div 2 and 3 K2s, we saw the start of Alex Mcintyre in Div 1 K1. Similarly, to the Div 1 K2s finish, Mcintyre narrowly missed out on claiming the win, however took a impressive second against fellow Div 1 competitors, adding valuable points to the team.
Lastly the Div 3 K1s were set off. On a packed start line of 47 paddlers, we saw three Chelmsford competitors: Cassian Payne, George Hampton and Sienna Payne. After working his way into the top group, Cassian Payne raced well in a tough race to claim an admirable third. George Hampton had a great start and settled into a group as the race calmed after the start and placed 11th, an impressive result for his first Div 3 K1 race. Sienna Payne had a long race trying to find a group however she still continued round and finished in 19th place and was the first female junior in the highest division.
In the final start of the day, we saw the Geoff Sanders set off. Representing Team Chelmsford, we had Alessio Bose and Nathaniel Slade in Div B. Both juniors had excellent performances in the race of 20 paddlers, placing 6th and 8th respectively and ending the racing part of the day on a high!
Then to round off the day, we heard the final total results in which with only 37 paddlers we came 5th! With 557 points we missed out on 4th by just one, however with impressive performances from everyone, a huge congratulations is in order, whether you raced on the day or
helped getting points regionally for Chelmsford to qualify!
A big thank you to Worcester Canoe Club and the MRC for hosting, but more importantly for Adam Skippings for being Team Leader all day and doing a fabulous job at it. The team is very grateful to both him and Stuart Skippings for all their hard work all season in the Hasler racing.
So, congratulations and thank you to everyone who raced, helped or supported. It was a great season and what’s even better is the next one is just about to start! Our home Hasler for the 2023/24 season is on October 15th
Well done everyone on their 2022/23 season!