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Kerstin Queeney achieves Bishop’s Stortford Canoe Club’s best result in Cambridge Hasler Marathon Race on River Cam

Kerstin Queeney achieved Bishop’s Stortford Canoe Club’s best result in the Cambridge Hasler Marathon Race.

She came first in the Division Five doubles when paddling alongside Ealing CC’s Catherine Ayling on the River Cam.

It was an eventful day in what was the second round of the Eastern Region Series as there were lots of leisure crafts on the water - and one Stortford crew was forced to retire after being capsized by a punt.

Stortford finished the event in sixth place and are now joint second overall alongside hosts Cambridge, who came top on the day, with four races to go.

Queeney and Ayling got a good start off the line as they headed out through the Cambridge Backs. At the first portage they elected to jump out early and run the shortcut to put in beside the sluice outflow - a less popular route which proved to be a good choice as it put them in third place.

After another portage at Jesus Lock they reached the turn for their course at the Green Dragon bridge. Many competitors were caught out here by the fact that the buoy was suspended from the bridge rather than being in the water, but, despite seeing boats ahead of them continuing straight on, the pair made the correct decision to turn.

Kerstin Queeney, back, and Catherine Ayling approach the first portage
Kerstin Queeney, back, and Catherine Ayling approach the first portage

This gave them the lead, which they retained to the end of the 14km circuit and won in a time of 1hr 26min 42sec.

Most of the Stortford team were on the 7km course and the stars here were Libby Gaulton and Jasper Kirtland in Division Seven doubles.

They got a good start, taking second place off the line, then spent most of the race fighting off a challenge from a Leighton Buzzard crew. The two boats were side by side until the home stretch when the Stortford pair finally managed to sprint ahead and finish in second place, 28 seconds ahead of their rivals in 37min 3sec.

There were 16 boats in Division Nine singles so the group had to be split into two starts. The three Stortford paddlers in this race finished in overall eighth, ninth and 10th.

Jasper Kirtland and Libby Gaulton executing a tight turn
Jasper Kirtland and Libby Gaulton executing a tight turn

The first two of these, Robin Dromard (43.13) and Karen Bradley (43.18), have received promotions to Division Eight while Jamie Bond (45.02) was taking part in his first divisional race.

There was also solid scoring from Joao Spinola (fifth, Division Four, 1:25.37), Jacqueline and David Cayford (sixth, Division Seven doubles, 39.17) and Eilidh White (13th, Division Seven, 41.01), each of whom were racing in higher divisions than previously due to promotions over the winter.

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