A team of 46 Richmond paddlers descended on Worcester at the weekend for the Hasler Final race, which marks the culmination of the racing year and decides which club gets to win the prestigious Hasler trophy.
The Severn at Worcester is much smaller than our own River Thames and this presented some challenges both on the start line and the subsequent wash with some races having over 60 boats competing for space. Even the portage which the organisers had worked hard to smooth out the day before suffered from the heavy rain overnight, leaving the slope very muddy and difficult to negotiate, but good for spectating!
There were personal successes for a few resulting in promotions for Alex from Division 9 to 7, Kirstin from 8 to 7 and Purna from 5 to 4. Other crews, particularly in the doubles, fought hard against the competition and worked well together but had some bad luck on the start line and the portage. Marathon racing takes time and practice to master the different elements, and even then conditions and events on the day can conspire against you, but ultimately all this contributes to making us all more well-rounded paddlers.
Overall Richmond came in 7th place, behind Chelmsford, Elmbridge, Norwich, Wey, Banbury and Bishops Stortford. The result didn’t quite reflect the potential of the club with a few key absences particularly among the junior paddlers many of whom were busy competing at the Olympic Hopes regatta in Szeged, Hungary, and the tough competition on the day. Nonetheless it was a great day of racing with many stories being traded afterwards, and a great opportunity to mix with other clubs from across the UK.