Hasler Finals 2023
On Sunday 24th September, more than 600 paddlers gathered on the River Severn in Worcester for the highly anticipated 2023 Hasler Finals. This event, a highlight of the racing calendar, marks the culmination of the regional club Hasler season, with the top clubs from their respective regions competing for the prestigious title of the best club in the country.
Since hosting the National Marathon Championships in 2022, Worcester Canoe Club stepped up yet again to host one of the major marathon events in the British racing calendar and did yet another exceptional job! Despite concerns about challenging weather conditions due to heavy rain in the days leading up to the event, Worcester Canoe Club demonstrated a calm and professional approach to safety. They asked all competitors to bring buoyancy aids and relocated the portage to a safer location, ensuring the race could proceed safely. Additional safety measures were put in place, and a comprehensive briefing was conducted.
The racing action commenced bright and early with the Division 7 to 9 categories. Some racers excelled in the tricky and bumpy conditions of the river. In Division 8 K1, the podium spots were separated by mere seconds, with Edward Hellman of the Royal Canoe Club clinching the win over Harry Luck (Wey Kayak Club) and Reuben Hardy (also from Wey Kayak Club). Wolverhampton Canoe Club dominated Division 7 with Shayne Dawson-Dymond securing a strong win, while Keiron Yates triumphed in Division 9.
The Division 4 to 6 races featured a substantial number of participants, with over 30 boats in the K1 races and more than 20 in the K2 races. Thanks to the efficient efforts of the Worcester pre-starter and starter, all races began smoothly. However, conditions on the course became more challenging as traffic increased and the wind picked up. This resulted in a couple of boats needing stops to empty and even one or two boats filling up with a little too much water!! The Marathon Racing Committee would like to emphasise to clubs that they have a duty to ensure equipment is up to standard when racing in challenging conditions and all paddlers should consider spraydecks and/or foot pumps to ensure boats do not fill up with too much water.
In keeping with Hasler Finals tradition, special trophies were awarded for outstanding individual performances throughout the day. The Ross Warland Memorial Trophy, named in memory of Ross Warland, a member of the Banbury & District Canoe Club, was presented to the highest placed junior in Division 4, which was claimed by Dominic Walker from Norwich Canoe Club. Notably, juniors excelled in the challenging conditions, with Toby Visser (Bradford-on-Avon Canoe Club) winning Division 5, James Lynn (Banbury & District Canoe Club) winning Division 6, and Martha Roberts and Katharine Boon (Elmbridge Canoe Club) securing the Division 7 K2/C2 win.
After a midday break, the fastest marathon paddlers in the country lined up to compete in the Division 1 to 3 categories. With the wind further intensifying, the racing became demanding. The crowd was treated to thrilling portaging just outside the club house. The Division 1 race concluded with Albert Hicks (Norwich Canoe Club) emerging victorious after a closely contested sprint finish against Alex McIntrye (Chelmsford Canoe Club) and Andrew Birkett (Richmond Canoe Club). The fastest junior of the day was awarded to Arthur Morley (Wey Kayak Club) for his fourth-place finish in the Division 1 category.
A head-to-head race in the Division 3 category pitted junior Lochie Lovell (Worcester Canoe Club) against the experienced and accomplished veteran Ivan Lawler (Elmbridge Canoe Club). The experienced Lawler trumped youth in a tight sprint finish. In the Division 2 K2 race, William Short and James Ross (Elmbridge Canoe Club) delivered a strong performance, securing victory with a remarkable three-minute lead, the largest margin of the weekend.
To conclude the day, the youngest competitors took to the water for the Geoff Sanders races. The remarkable growth in participation was evident, with over 40 under 14’s competing in the three K1/C1 categories. The Marathon Racing Committee expressed excitement about the continued growth of this racing series over the coming years. The GS K2/C2 open was won by Zahan Benford and Ollie Clare (Wey Kayak Club), GSA was claimed by Reuben Hearn (Banbury Canoe Club), GSB was secured by Agnes Grant (Wey Kayak Club), and GSC was triumphed by Fredrik Hellman (Royal Canoe Club). Wey Kayak Club emerged as the overall winner of the Geoff Sanders series for the 2022/23 season, earning the honour of having their names engraved on the trophy for the first time.
As the day came to a close, the final task was to award the coveted Hasler Trophy to the winning club. Elmbridge Canoe Club successfully defended their title, claiming the top spot for another year. Bradford-on-Avon Canoe Club achieved an exceptional second-place finish, a remarkable achievement considering they didn’t even qualify from their region the previous year. Wey Kayak Club maintained their third-place position from 2022.
In 2023, a brand-new trophy has been added to the Marathon Racing collection. In memory of David Green, Kirton Kayaks donated a trophy to be awarded to the highest placed senior British paddler over the long course at the World Championships. The first person awarded this trophy was Melissa Johnson after her 11th place finish in the Senior Women’s K1 race.
Thank you to Worcester Canoe Club for yet again putting on a fantastic major national event. We look forward to the 2024 Hasler Finals as it returns to the River Thames in Richmond.
Congratulations to all trophy winners from the day:
- Hasler Trophy â€“ Elmbridge Canoe Club
- Geoff Sanders Trophy â€“ Wey Kayak Club
- Rhodes-White Trophy (presented to the fastest senior man K1 over 12-mile course) â€“ Albert Hicks (Norwich)
- Adam Thomasson Trophy (presented to the winner of the division 2 K1) â€“ James How (Norwich)
- Barber Trophy (present to the fastest junior K1 over the 12 mile course) â€“ Arthur Morley (Wey)
- David Shankland Trophy (presented to the fastest womenâ€™s K1 over the 12 mile course) â€“ Jessie Urquhart (Nottingham)
- Ross Warland Memorial Trophy (presented to the highest placed junior in the division 4 K1 race) â€“ Dominic Walker (Norwich)
- The Committee Cup (presented to the highest placed junior woman K1 in the highest division) â€“ Sienna Payne (Chelmsford)
- Ken Pereira Cup (presented to the highest places junior C1 in the highest division) â€“ Andrew Elliot (Richmond)
- Bill Sparks TrophyÂ (presented to the highest placed veteran K2 in the highest division) â€“ Colin Heard & Peter Maycock (Exeter)
- David Green Kirton Memorial Trophy (presented to the highest placed highest placed senior British paddler over the long course at the World Championships) – Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford)
For full details of the results, please visit our race management site here.
If you, as a club or a group of clubs, are interested in finding out more about hosting a major event, contact our major event lead, Dan Seaford, here. We are still looking for Nationals host for 2024 so get in touch now for more information.