Chelmer Hasler Report by Sienna Payne
Last Sunday (15/09) was the Chelmsford Hasler, the first for the 2023/24 season and wow. What. A. Day! A chilly one for sure but the turn out and results? Definitely one Team Chelmsford should be proud of! With over 70 paddlers racing, many, many volunteers and support crew, the day was excellent!
The first starts off, were those in Divisions 1 to 3, racing the longest course of approximately 18km and 10 portages. So to begin, we saw Div 1 K1, Tim Gannicott-Porter set off with the Div 2 K2s, in which representing Chelmsford we had Matt Johnson and Joe Spencer. As the only racer, we saw Tim come back as both first and last but with points none the less! While Johnson and Spencer also took the win ahead of their fellow racers.
Next off were the Div 2 and 3 K1s. In Div 2, James Walkinton took a steady 3rd, while Div 3 saw more action. Breaking away early on meant Cassian Payne comfortable secured his win and gaining a promotion to Div 2, with George Hampton following taking 2nd a few minutes behind. In a sprint finish, Sienna Payne took a closely fought 5th while Richard Ager took 11th.
After that the Divisions 4 to 6 started. From Chelmsford in Div 4 K1, we saw Mark Hampton narrowly miss out on the podium but still take a strong fourth while Matteo Bose struggled with seat issues, but still took 8th and in Div 5 K1, May Perrin placed a solid 4th.
Only a few minutes later, Div 6 K1s were set off, in which we saw James Johnson
and Phil Russel working together around the 13km course. Both had a great race in which James took the win just 4 seconds ahead of Phil, both earning a promotion to Div 5! Also in that race, we saw Harry Boggis, Pete Willis and Barry Howe put in strong performances, placing 6th, 9th and 10th respectively.
Mixed in between the K1s, we also saw the start of the K2s. Disappointingly, we only had one crew across the three divisions however, they still put up an awesome performance. Mark Deville and John Capon took on Div 5 in K2 and placed third, just beating the Cambridge crew behind them by 4 seconds, an excellent result.
Up next, the Div 7 to 9s took the startline. The Div 7s K2s were the first to go, in which we saw Phil Curry and Pete Curry take a splendid 3rd, adding to the teams
medals for the day! And following their start, the Div 8 K2s set off. From Chelmsford, we saw Aaron Birch and Finley Chamberlin just miss out on the podium but take a strong 4th instead. As well as, Andy Porter and Dean Williams, Tracy Avery and Amanda Clark, and Beth Bose and Bruno Bose all chase each other down and place 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.
The first K1s of this section to set off were the Div 7s. Back the quickiest came Rebecca Perrin taking second! A fabulous result, just seconds off first and earning herself a promotion to Div 6 in the process! Next back, was Darren Harvey taking a strong 4th while Finlay Ellis followed in 8th. A few minutes later also saw the return of Tara Karthikeyan (11th), Sam Towel (14th) and Naomi Fuller, who despite taking a couple of swims still
continued and finished taking 15th.
In Div 8 K1, we saw our 4 racers put out excellent results, including Olivia Cooke taking 3rd and getting a promotion to Div 7! Following Olivia’s result, Chris Slade took a close 5th while Chris Davies took 7th and Nicole Croft O’Halloran took 8th just behind.
Finally we reached Div 9. Setting off first were the K2s. We only had one crew but the junior girls: Lucy Bettis and Alex Cottle had a smashing race and came second by just 5 seconds and both getting a promotion to Div 8, a result they should be proud of!
And then there were the Div 9 K1s… the startline saw 31 boats in total, 19 of which were from Chelmsford! The short race of about 6km resulted in hotly contended
positions. First back, claiming the win by over a minute was Louis Auvray, who smashed the race and got a triple promotion to Div 6! Shortly following him came Kasper Nielsen, Jack Bates (only a second behind) and Joel Auvray, who claim 3rd, 4th and 5th and all earning a double promotion to Div 7! And the final promotion of that race went to Darren Horsman who claimed 6th and a promotion to Div 8!
But they weren’t the only impressive results, Lee Delaunay-Taylor, Oliver Brown, Claire Cheung and Danielle White came in 11th, 13th, 16th and 17th respectively. While only a minute later, Nandhitha Agilan and Zoe Aldam fought out for 19th and 20th just a second apart and the Chelmsford paddlers of Paul Blackmore, Kavya Agilan, Josh Cooke and Jacqueline Hampton then claimed the following spots until 24th. In a tightly fought finish, Marta
Rakowska took 27th just a second behind 26th and Bernabe Gramajo placed 29th while Mae Furlong finished 30th. Sadly, Alice Smerdon retired however the entire race saw solid results from everyone and many celebrations needed!
For the final starts of the day, the Geoff Sanders set off. In Div A, Chelmsford paddlers: David Suculiuc and Rohaan Seshan had fabulous results and claimed 1st and 2nd respectively, and both get promotions to Div 9, while Alessio Bose took a strong 7th. After that in Div B, we saw Chelmsford claim the top 4 positions as Tye Gobell placed 1st, George Cheyne 2nd, Nathaniel Slade 3rd and Louis Horsman 4th, all of whom have been promoted to Div A. While Harry Dunt-Martin and Oliver Isherwood took 9th and 10th respectively. All the junior boys should be impressed with their results and
amazing performances within this race!
Finally, in the last start of the day, Geoff Sanders Div C set off. With just two junior girls represented Chelmsford, Edith Smerdon had a smashing race to claim first and Evie Brown followed in suit to place 3rd!
So that leads us to final club totals within the region for the race… with just three points in it, Team Chelmsford took a second to Bishop Stortford. Not quite the win we’d hoped for however with an epic 594 points, it proves the team did turn up and race their hardest, so now it’s time for a winter of training and to enter next year ready to smash every race!
However, the results from Sunday, aren’t just from the racers, every single person who volunteered, helped out, supported
and cheered also deserves a well done. Our home race is always a race that we put our most into and it reflects every year. So thank you to the Race Committee who helped organise everything coming into the race, Owen and Zowie Shephard-Wyatt for being the Race Organisers on the day, Adam Skippings for being Team Leader and dealing with every entry no matter how late, those in the kitchen, those who marshelled, those who were support boats, those who brought cakes and every single person who helped contribute to the day in any way: thank you.
It was another splendid day and one Team Chelmsford should be proud of, an excellent way to start the 2023/24 season and one we should hope to continue through the winter until the Hasler races start again at Cambridge on March 24th.