CANOEING: Rain makes for interesting season opener

Kimberley Woods competing in Scotland
Kimberley Woods competing in Scotland

Kimberley Woods still manages C1 class win by eight seconds

Kimberley Woods was in action last weekend in the first two Canoe Slalom Premier Division races of the 2016 season on the river Tay at Grandtully near Aberfeldy, Perthshire in Scotland.

It proved a very challenging start, but she did claim one class victory by a huge margin.

The course was set on the Friday evening and was proving difficult for the officials, the only paddlers allowed on, to negotiate. It rained heavily overnight causing the river levels to rise considerably, making the course impossible.

Two classes had tried to complete the course before a halt was called to the event. After some deliberation a new course was designed and erected and the race commenced after lunch with one run only to decide the winners.

To add to the problems, the paddlers could not access the far bank of the river where most of the course was erected to examine the water conditions and determine what lines to take due to construction work on a hydro scheme taking place.

Due to the delays, the prevailing conditions and severe difficulty of the course it was difficult for many paddlers to focus on their run leading to many time penalties being added to most of the competitors.

Kimberley made a good effort but only managed fourth in K1 and second in C1.

The water levels remained high and dropped during the day.

A slightly different course was set for the Sunday which flowed much better than Saturday’s, producing far better racing conditions and tighter racing.

This time Kimberley came third in the K1 class behind an in-form Fiona Penny and Lizzie Neave, both fellow GB senior team mates.

In C1 Kimberley came back into form winning convincingly by eight seconds.

With the first weekend of racing this season done and dusted, Kimberley said: “It was an interesting weekend as the first runs on the first day got cancelled after rapid rising of river levels and the course had to be reset as the upstreams were no longer in eddies.

“It was a one run race which made things interesting.

“I struggled very much on my C1 racing, it being my first full run in that boat since the British Open last year and included a paddle back to a gate I missed, and also very low on a couple upstreams but battled through and finishing 2nd in C1 and 4th in K1.

“Sunday turned out much better in K1, much closer too and where I want to be with Fiona Penny and Lizzie Neave my GB team mates, but a touch on a gate incurred a two-second penalty moving me down into 3rd place behind Lizzie.

“My C1 was a very good comeback with a clean run that needed a strong fight with the water to keep my boat tracking well and not to get beaten and taken off course by the water coming away with a win.

“On to the next race in two weeks’ time at Lea Valley White Water Centre.”