Bumper Weekend of Wildwater

Bumper Weekend of Wildwater


Wildwater kayakers from around Tasmania and Victoria descended on the north of the state over the weekend to compete in two of the most prestigious races in the racing calendar.


On Saturday, paddlers raced the clock down the challenging grade 2-3 rapids of the Upper Mersey below Rowallan Dam.  Matthew French, formerly of Whitemore, was in sensational form and pulled off a clean sweep in the Open Mens Classic and Rapid Sprint events to win the Damon Bonney Memorial Trophy.  He was pushed all the way by fellow Australian representatives Matt Dalziel and Stewart Bennett, both of Hobart.  ÒItÕs always great to race on the Mersey and I was really happy with my speed todayÓ said Matthew, ÒHowever, IÕd like to shave a few more seconds off my time between now and the National Championships in JanuaryÓ.  Seb Spinks continued his strong recent form to take out both the Junior Mens events, whilst Elsa Gales was triumphant in the Junior Womens class.  Susie Wharton held off Andrea McQuitty to take out the Open Womens events.


Sunday saw the action move to the Forth River for the 40th Anniversary Forth Downriver Race.  Hydro Tasmania released 55 cumecs from the Paloona Power Station to ensure paddlers had a smooth 12km run from the Tasmanian Canoe ClubÕs slalom site to the river mouth at Turners Beach.  A strong field made the most of the perfect weather with tight racing resulting in many small bunches sprinting it out at the finish line.  Stewart Bennett of Hobart pipped Matthew French by less than one second for overall honours, while Andrea McQuitty, Elsa Gales and Seb Spinks, won the Open Womens, Junior Womens and Junior Mens classes respectively. 


The next major wildwater kayaking event in Tasmania is the Australian Championships, to be held on the Upper Mersey in January 2012.


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