Bishop’s Stortford Canoe Club finished fourth in the penultimate Eastern Region round of the season on the Grand Union Canal at Leighton Buzzard.
The hosts took the Leighton Buzzard Hasler Marathon honors while Norwich and Chelmsford are tied for second place.
Stortford, whose 23-person squad included three new members and a handful of rising stars, is also fourth overall. They host the final round of the season on July 10 when the Easter Region Trophy will be awarded and the four clubs that will qualify for the national final at Runnymede will be determined.
Team manager Joe Fitzpatrick teamed up with Eddie Kirtland, one of his junior development squad, to take on the Division Four doubles race. They covered the eight miles and two portages in 1:5:22 a.m. with deceptive ease to take first place with a rival host club boat finishing just six seconds behind them.
Most of the Stortford team ran the four and a half mile course. Libby and Kayleigh Gaulton – the former is one of their youngest paddlers but was promoted from Under-14 competition due to excellent performances – paddled together in the Division Nine doubles race and won the money.
Older sister Kayleigh, who is a trainee coach at the club, was competing for the first time in several years and, despite a minor mishap, they had every reason to be pleased with their time of 42min 49sec, especially as they had never sailed a boat together before.
Ewan Gowing and Arthur Catmur finished just ahead of the Gaultons in 42.27. The youngsters are seeded in Division Nine, but opted to row in the Division Eight race and finished fourth, hot on the heels of their coaches Jaqueline and Dave Cayford who won Division Eight doubles bronze in 42, 18.
The best singles result of the day came from Tom Barton, who won the Division Seven race in 40.32 in a close final with May Perrin of Chelmsford.
New team members John and Tamzin Catmur and Miller Kitchener all finished successfully, with John doing particularly well sprinting across the line in a spectacular photo-finish with a paddler from Chelmsford for which they were awarded fifth place.
BSCC Results: Doubles (eight mile, two carry) – Div Four: 1st Joe Fitzpatrick & Eddie Kirtland (1h 5min 22sec), 5th Mark Adams & Kerstin Queeney 1:08.58.
Doubles (four and a half miles) – Div Eight: 3 David Cayford & Jacqueline Cayford 42min 18sec, 4 Ewan Gowing & Arthur Catmur 42.27; Div 9: 2 Kayleigh Gaulton & Libby Gaulton 42.59, 4 Jasper Kirtland & Finlay Sandal 48.57.
Singles (four and a half miles) – Div Seven: 1 Tom Barton 40.32, 6 Jack Gaulton 42.44), 7 Jaroslav Klumpler 42.51; Div Eight: 11 Petr Luksan 45.53; Div 9: 5 John Catmur 46.55, 7 Karen Bradley 47.53, 13 Miller Kitchener 53.28, 14 Tamzin Catmur 54.20.
Under 14 (two mile) – Div B: 6 Rupert Kirtland 22.52, 7 Oliver Klumpler 24.41; Div C: 6 Emilie Klumpler 28.13.