Bishop Stortford Winter Series report by Sienna Payne
Bishop Stortford WS Write Up:
On the brisk morning of November 5th, we saw the beginnings of the 2023/24 winter series at Bishop Stortford! With over 50 paddlers, Team Chelmsford had a great turn out and even better results!
With the races split into three different categories and distances, we first saw the K2 Men 16+ set off. Representing Team Chelmsford we had 3 crews: George and Mark Hampton, John Capon and Mark Deville, and Pete Willis and Phil Curry. On the 11km course, we saw the Hampton crew come back strong, taking 3rd, while Capon-Deville took 7th and Willis-Curry took 8th. The next start we saw off was K2 Mixed 16+, in which dominating the race we saw Matthew Johnson and Leah Falltrick come back in first. Following them
Alex Stratford and James Benson, Chris Slade and Claire Cheung, and Beth and Bruno Bose claimed solid results of 6th, 7th and 8th respectively.
The final K2 start for this distance was the K2 Women 16+. Two crews from Chelmsford placed in this race: Tara Karthikeyan and Naomi Fuller, who took a fabulous 3rd, and Tracey Avery and Jacqueline Hampton who took a steady 6th.
Next off, the Senior Men began. In one of the most impressive podiums of the day, Chelmsford paddlers claimed all three spots. Tim Gannicott-Porter claimed 1st, Oscar Griffins 2nd and Owain Herbert 3rd, an impressive result from them all. Sadly there were no Senior Women however in Veteran Men, Team Chelmsford had four racers. Doug Herbert had a fabulous result
of 2nd, only 8 seconds off of 1st. Following his result, Richard Ager took a close 5th by 4 seconds, while John Avery took a solid 7th and Joel Auvray 13th.
The final two starts for this distance were K1 U18 Men and Women. On the U18 Men’s, Dylan Birch paced himself round the course and placed a content 4th. While one minute later, Sienna Payne was set off on the U18 Women’s. Claiming the win by over 20 minutes, she also set the new course record for the U18 Women.
Following on a few minutes later, the middle distance starts of the approximately 8km course were set off. In the first start of the SuperVet Men, Graham Mckeand had a closely fought finish, just missing out on 2nd by a second but claiming an impressive 3rd no less! Sadly we had no SuperVet Women, however in
the U16 K2, we had two crews: Becky Perrin and James Johnson, and David Suculiuc and Finley Chamberlin. The two crews had splendid races in which Perrin-Johnson claim 1st and Suculiuc-Chamberlin took 2nd!
Next off, the U16 Men’s were started. With 3 crews from Chelmsford, Cassian Payne came back quickiest claiming the win, followed by Finlay Ellis and Jack Bates taking 5th and 6th. In the U16 Women, May Perrin also had a splendid result, likewise claiming the win, with Olivia Cooke taking a strong 5th.
Only a few minutes later, Matteo Bose, Louis Auvray and Seshan Rohaan set off on the start of U14 Men’s, on the shortest distance. Returning first Matteo smashed the race, claiming the win with Louis closely following taking 2nd and Seshan
coming a strong 5th. Sadly we had no U14 Women, so the next start off that we witnessed was GP Men. Tim Chamberlin powered around claiming the win by over 5 minutes while Iyer Seshan took an impressive 2nd as well.
In the GP Women, with just two racers, the category saw a steady race between Helen Payne and Deborah Wilkes, with a close finish in which Deborah beat Helen by just a second.
Finally, the last racers of the U12 category were set off. The U12 Men’s saw two Chelmsford paddlers: Alessio Bose and Nathaniel Slade, in which they both claimed the top two podium positions, Alessio with 1st and Nathaniel taking 2nd. And in the final start of the day, Edith Smerdon took a excellent 2nd in the U12 Women.
A big well done and congratulations to all competitors! Thank you to Bishop Stortford Canoe Club for hosting, John Avery for taking the trailer, Pete Willis for putting in the entries and Lily Statford for being Team Leader on the day. Every person who helps out makes it so much more fun to race and compete so thank you!
And so with splendid results from everyone in all categories we’d entered, Team Chelmsford took the win for the overall club points by a landslide. 338 points put Chelmsford at the top of league with almost double the amount of points of the next position (Bishop Stortford), which sets a great precedent for Team Chelmsford for the coming series.