Wow, what busy year it has been for our slalom paddlers. 2014 was definitely the year that HXCC established itself back on the slalom racing circuit, building on a promising start at the end of last season. Looking back over the year, all those racing have risen to the challenge of racing regularly and progressed really well. With all that racing and lots of great performances, it’s hard to pick out highlights, but here are a few:
In Div 4 Alex Benson got his promotion to Div 3, where he was joined later in the year by Vicky Kirk and Al Benson.
Also Uncle Stuart’s (Vidler) exploits have become have become legendary – people up and down the country know who he is and cheer him on – definitely showing that having a go and challenging yourself are what it is all about. While promotion remained elusive in his kayak he was rather shocked to be promoted at the first attempt in C2 with Les.
Five of our youngsters (Patrick & Ewan Nevill, Ben, Cameron and Olivia Kirk) have earned promotion up to Div 2 in the season. Elliot Wood finished a heartbreaking 8 points short of promotion, with Jonny Benson not too far behind. And the more mature Div 3 paddlers have all come on well and are not too far off the top of the division so there promises to be some close rivalries in both these divisions next year too.
Hard work over the winter secured Andrew Crowhurst promotion to Div 1 early in the season where he has been hot on the heals on Les for the rest of the year. Adding a promotion to Div 1 in C1 at the end of the season too (oh and getting in to the top division in C2 as well!)
A really brilliant thing has been seeing everybody have a crack at paddling C1 and C2 at various events – so much so that at Wagon Lane 7 out of the 8 of the C2 boats racing were from Halifax!
Another massive highlight was the whole gang heading up to Scotland for racing at Fairnilee and Grandtully, plus a full on week of training on big bouncy grade 3. Pushing on everyone’s paddling on tremendously, in some cases going from “you’ve got be joking” to “can we do it again” in the space of a few days.
So now that the season is over, the squad are now looking forward to winter training at the club and various other site with Yorkshire Slalom and looking forward to another hectic season.
There is also the matter of the ‘Clean Run’ chart winner to wrap up – yet again Brian Dunn will be taking away the chocolate for the most penalty free runs during the year – we’ll have to create a handicapping system so someone can topple him next year!
Not sure what the fuss is about, but up for a challenge? We are looking for more youngsters (and the not so young too) to come and have a go at slalom next year. Its a great way to test your skills and challenge yourself – don’t worry about racing, just see if you can do the course! Plus it is an opportunity to social and make new friends. There are lots of races within easy reach of the club, so you can pick and choose races to suit you. We’ll be running some start slalom session in the spring leading into local races, so look out for details or contact Les or Sarah Ford.