Devizes to Westminster canoe racers make up for lost training time
Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race entrants have taken advantage of the recent good weather to make up for lost training time due to the dreadful winter storms.
Devizes Canoe Club reports that their training programme for the 125-mile race over Easter weekend has been severely disrupted by the rain and high water levels.
Club secretary Ann Slator said: “We have been unable to follow our usual training programme because we have not been able to get on the Thames since the middle of December due to high flow rates.
“And for the past seven weeks we have been unable to go beyond Kintbury (near Newbury) on the canal, again because of high water levels.
“Luckily, this present dry spell is giving water levels the chance to drop and we are hopeful that we might be able to do some training on other parts of the canal and the Thames in the coming weeks, so crews can see some of the other sections of the course before Easter weekend.”
The club has entered 13 crews in this year’s race, which sets off from Devizes Wharf on Good Friday.
Sam Weller, who completed the race last year, is teamed up with debutant Steve Bush in the senior doubles section along with Mark Bouch and Neil King, and first-timers Jonpaul McCourt and Ray Clements, Derek Tate and Kevin Crabb and Paul Sykes and Simon Woody.
Stepdaughter and stepfather combination Samantha and Steve New will be taking part for the first time together, although Mr New took part in the Endeavour class two years ago.
Sue Colby and Ian Thackray, who completed the race in 2012, are also taking part this year.
Paul Papworth-Smith and Kevin Dobson will be taking part in a Canadian-style canoe.
The club has three entries in the singles section: Jill Priday, Ian Stokes and Mark Ball, while their only junior doubles crew is Henny Lowth and Jemima Pitceathly.
Endeavour crews are senior doubles who do not go non-stop, but break their journey overnight at designated camp sites along the way.
Liza Dribble and Richard Carp have both supported their children through the DW, but this is their first time competing themselves.
As always, Dauntsey’s School has a significant entry in the junior doubles section and this year their paddlers are Andrew and Rowan Duckworth; Torin Bain and Ross Tatham; Robert Mitchell and Archie Combe; Alexander Britton and Louisa Carter; Phoebe Barnes and Eleanor Young; Lauren Sturges and Harriet Sagers; and Clara Richmond and Eleanor Moulding.