Well, what can I say!!! What a race report to be asked to do!!
The day started at 05.30, rolling out of bed ready for the journey to Nottingham!! The journey was pretty uneventful....stopping for breakfast with the orgill’s at an interesting rest station with a lady who obviously ‘loved’ her job. Moving on to the rest of the journey....after Linda’s quote of “We never see anyone else on route” we were followed by peter and who we now know as martin, not James! And swiftly followed by Racing Debbie, speeding past, blissfully unaware of anyone else on the road!!
Arrival at the river Trent and what a great venue! Meeting everyone over with the boats and waiting for Les to arrive with the gazebo, everyone was ready for the day ahead! Boats now out on the water, everyone was getting ready for what they thought (from previous races at Nottingham) was going to be a cold and wet day. But as the teams gathered, the clouds cleared and the sun started to come out!
10.50am.....After an hour of setting up and catching up with what people had been doing with their weekends, the first race was upon us...first warm up of the day! Prompting Amy’s 1st question of the day....”Kev, are we warming up, or are we warming up??!!” with the highlight being Malcolm’s poor co-ordination with the stretches and Liam punching himself in the face while doing some hand rolls...making us all giggle. Myself and jack had been asked to enjoy the race from the beach, watching the team heading to the start line, willing them to have a great race.
1st- Tao (50.16)
2nd- Hurricanes (51.34)
3rd- Pershore Phoenix (55.78)
Everyone came off the water feeling positive....good start to the day. The attention was turned to the ‘teachers’ antics from the night before and practice for the ‘Hurricanes got talent’ contest for Wales got underway between Amy and Graham...something to do with making cakes (in a very weird fashion!!), while others (martin!) decided it would be a good point to have a mid morning nap!
11.20am....2nd race, my 1st race of the day....heading up to the start line and Malcolm and Pete had lost the ability to count the strokes, which amuses a few of us at the back of the boat! Sitting on the line, waiting for that all important call....and we were off!! 3rd place....taking us straight through to the minor finals, as the 3rd fastest heat runner up.
1st- Tao (49.81)
2nd- Raging (50.59)
3rd- Hurricanes (51.30)
Time for another warm up....and with Malcolm’s struggling co-ordination not getting any better and with Les informing us that he had the ‘HORN’...(take that as you will!! Lol) we were ready for the minor final against Raging and Secklow. Loading the boat...comments were made by Jim about the weight of the boat and how we were going to get a faster time due to selected paddlers being asked to step down (graham), almost resulting in Jim going for a swim! But Jim’s predictions were correct....(not due to the missing paddlers!!)
What a race!!!... A beautifully smooth start and powerful finish, giving us 1st place and the fastest time of the day for the 200m’s!!
1st- Hurricanes (49.63)
2nd- Raging (50.64)
3rd- Secklow (52.03)
WOOP WOOP....200ms finished and there is an hour before the 500m races....this can only mean one thing....lunchtime!! Moral in the camp is great, everyone is on such a high. The weather was holding out...the sun was still shining!
Being boosted from the 200s, it was time for the Hurricanes stronger event!! Being given our 5 min warning for the warm up....it wasn’t enough time for some people with Graham turning up with his shorts on inside out. The excitement was obviously just too much!! Also prompting Amy’s 2nd question of the day ‘ does anyone know the number for childline??’- due to the playful fighting between Robert and Rebecca.
On the start line and it was back to what we all know too well....3 strokes back, 1 stroke forward, hold the boat and so on!!....With another good start we were half a boat up with 100ms to go and with Jim calling us up for the finish, we powered through! Crossing the line, all wondering if we had been able to hold them off....everyone looks towards Les...who didn’t have to say anything, other than holding up one finger and a huge smile on his face!!
1st- Hurricanes (2.04.41)
2nd- Worcester (2.04.88)
3rd- Cool running (2.09.25)
With all the excitement, the boat was unloaded and Jim attempted to follow, jumping off the boat with the speaker system still connected to himself!! Taking out some of the cables...lucky for us Les had purchased some new cables as spare for just an occasion!! So the system lived to see another race!
Warm up time came around again, and team talk from Kevin and we were all told that “This is the most important race of the day”- knowing that if we did well, it would take us into the major final. Heading down to the boat for the next race, we seemed to be a couple a paddlers short! Losing Malcolm, Mike and Graham to the bushes for a quick pre-race unloading!!
With it being ‘the most important race’, sat on the start line, complete silence come over the boat- pure determination! And that determination paid off....with our third win of the day and taking us through to the major finals!!
1st- Hurricanes (2.02.48)
2nd- Taniuas (2.03.03)
3rd- Notts (2.13.76)
YES!!! We had made it to the major finals!! There were smiles all over!! To have to opportunity to paddle in a major final was unbelievable, not just for me but for all of the team! it all happened so quickly so I can’t remember how long passed before we had to warm up....but we gathered together, ready for the final race of the day. It was decided that we wouldn’t change the warm up that we had been doing all day as it would be deemed unlucky!! With the warm up complete, we gathered for the team talk and without saying anything, everyone just looked at each other and smiled.....and with Sue flicking through her time sheets and seeing who we were up against, with a smile on her face, informed us that we had the chance to win this race!
The boat loaded and ready to go....other teams from the beach were cheering us as we paddled pass to the start line! And there we were for the last race of day.....sitting on the start line, looking down towards to finish line. Silence came over the boat once more, with thoughts that we could do this at the back of minds, we were lining up with the usual back and forward play!! Being asked to take couple of strokes backs, we thought we would be here for a while.....but then we were off!!! A few angry grunts about the start but a powerful seven, seven, seven start!! Jim called us for a reach, giving us a running commentary as we went. Calling us up for a power 10, (and I don’t know about anyone else) but it felt like the boat was flying!! The excitement in Jim’s voice, as he called us up for another power 10 and then for the final seven, seven, seven!! Everyone putting every last drop of energy into paddling that last 50m.........and we were over the final line!!!!
1st- HURRICANES (1.58.91)
2nd- Bath (2.00.03)
3rd- Kingston Royals (2.03.81)
The roar from the boat was immense!!! The overwhelming feeling that we had done it!!! The HURRICANES ARE WINNERS!!! Hearing the supportive cheers from the beach from our supporter and from other teams was an amazing feeling. Getting out of the boat, everyone was running on adrenaline, people from the beach still cheering! With smiles from ear to ear, we gathered for our warm down!! Not only had we got the fastest time of the day for 200m, we had done it for the 500m as well!!
With everyone warmed down, gazebo packed up and everyone starting to realise that what had just happened wasn’t a dream , it was time for the presentation!! Gathered round a small gazebo, with the anticipation of what was to come, the results were being called!! Clapping and congratulating the other teams, we waited to be called!! And in 1st place....HURRICANES!!! Jumping up and down with joy, the team watched as Kevin D went up to collect our trophy, presented by a very proud Les as his first day as an official. This was a very proud moment for all of us but especially for Kev T....watching him with a smile as big as a Cheshire cat and beaming with pride, as Kev D brought the trophy over for us all to have a look!! Swiftly followed by the trophy disappearing into Kev’s jacket pocket!! Last thing on the agenda for the day (and depending on who you speak to the most important!! lol) was the stop off at the pub on the way home for a well deserved drink!!
To round things off.... What an AMAZING days racing, thank you to everyone who came to support us, and thank you to the Hurricanes for providing me with a day which will be hard to forget!!
Laura B x