Saturday’s 34km e2a Classic River Race forms part of the Victorian eildon2alex multi-sport festival and challenges participants to race from Eildon to the Maroondah Highway bridge over the Goulburn at Alexandra.
A two stage race, stage 1, 14km from Eildon to Thornton sees participants negotiate the famous Blue Gums Rapids. Stage 2, 20km is flatter but still a challenge to choose the correct channels and stay in the flow.
With the river level at a “pushy” 7000mgl/day, 2016 saw competitive racing from some of the best river paddlers in Australia. National WildWater Champion Robert McIntyre improved on last year’s second place to take out the 2016 fastest K1 male in 2016 in a great time, covering the 34km in only 1 hour, 50 minutes and 14 seconds. The fastest K1 female down the river, National U23 team member Becc Mann, wasn’t far behind, with a time of 1 hour, 51 minutes and 37 seconds.
The fastest boat down the river on Saturday was the K2 pairing of John Young and Dom Scarfe in 1hr 48min 48sec. Just beating Mathew French’s 2015 K1 winning time of 1hr 50mins 10sec and setting a new course record in the process! The Classic River Race is a fund-raising event for the Australian Wild Water Team and in 2016 raised $700 for their 2016 campaigns. The River Race attracted a diverse range of craft which added a whole other level of interest.
How would the Emma Croser’s SUP go on the Wildwater?, would it keep up with the kayaks. How would the the OC2 and OC1 handle the rapids? A highlight of the event was not only the challenge of racing your competitors but also the challenge of negotiating the river itself.
Thanks to all participants and volunteers that made the e2a Classic River Race such a “Classic” event again in 2016. We are already looking forward to getting bigger and better in 2017. Event organisers and participants appreciated the sponsorship and support from the paddle sector including Kayak Factory Direct for the amazing range of spot prizes, Meek Paddles, Snob Creek Winery and Capacity Sports.
Soulrider Pty Ltd
We had some great stories from participants about their e2a Classic River Race experience. See the full results here; results pdf
The E2a river race. What a ripper… Made the decision to take the outrigger rather than risk going a up in front with everyone. Turned out to be good move. What a race. Missed our start but by the time we made Bluegums we starting to peg a few back. Arrived at the main wave right up the clacker of a tk2 piloted by a couple of young ladies. Not wanting to risk tipping them in we held back until we got a clear line, then went for it. Exhilarating stuff. Got a better start on the second leg after holding back for a moment to avoid rolling over an Epic ski. Had a mad moment at the Island with the blue marker. I left the decision to go left a bit late & almost got wiped out on the big snag. In avoiding it we ended up completely backwards. Damo went past & queried whether we were a bit bored. Eventually got the big Zulu turned around & re-passed Damo & a couple of girls in a k1. Young Brooklyn paddled really well, and pulled up fit. Enjoyed the race immensely, and look forward to next years event. Maybe by then I’ll feel confident enough to tackle it in something without a rudder. – Barry Bell and Brooklyn in the 0C2
I was a bit nervous whether I’d be too far behind and because it would be my first time in fast flowing water on the SUP but all was fantastic, I wasn’t slowest, the board went where I wanted it to most of the time (sometimes sideways….and a little 360 at the main rapid to keep things interesting). I did chicken out and turned it into a big sit on top for the main wave, sorry to disappoint all those expecting carnage! Thanks Wes and Emma and Zoe for being so welcoming and supportive of a slightly different craft! Great day. Very well run. – Emma Croser – Our first ever SUP participant
Great race, Rapids make the race challenging but also exciting. Being in 2 stages means people of all abilities are able to make the 34km trek down the river. – Becc Mann, K1 1st Individual Female e2a race
Paddling k2 in the E2A this year was another great experience, tackling the course in a team boat, added a different kind of challenge into the equation. I was lucky enough to paddle with Owen Hayden, who paddled strongly in the back which enabled us to finish the second leg off with a bit of power and speed in the boat! – Maddie Batters K2
I found my little experience through rapids and fast moving water detremental at the start of the race, after the rapids I was forced to chase back up to the lead group, nearing the end of the first leg I hit a large edie and got spun and lost some ground on the pack, i chased hard again but was unable to catch them by the end of the first leg. I knew the 2nd leg flattened for the last 3km so I just tried to stay with the pack until then where I could hopefully make up some time, When this flat water came I attacked, I managed to shake Mathew French off the wash but was unable to get rid of Rob, It came down to a sprint finish where Rob was very strong and sprinted past me to win by a few boat lengths. Fortunately I was able to put enough time on Matt to claim 2nd place after being in 3rd after the 1st leg. – Casey Haynes K1, 2nd Individual Male
34km broken into two sections – that was a tough race! I really got pushed by Matt French and Casey Haynes! The boys were busy trying to burn me off the lead group and especially 5km from the finish when Casey went for it. I was tiring but knew if I hung with him that I would have a chance. I managed to win in a sprint finish. Cheers Wes for putting on a good event! – Rob McIntyre K1, 1st Individual Male
As a couple of flatwater Marathon paddlers Rowan and I looked nervously at the turbulent Goulburn around 9.30AM and wondered what we’d let ourselves in for. Our fears were soon allayed when we realised the swirly water was a heap of fun. Our first ever run through Blue Gums didn’t go exactly as planned when we encountered a kayak paddler upside down and sideways across the rapids in front of us and were forced to steer straight into the main wave.
Some fairly serious bracing, ruddering and a lapful of water later we emerged upright and heading for the second rapid, this time only to find another upturned kayak and two rescue boats in front of us. Once again we were forced into the choppiest part of the chute but made it through smiling and relieved.
The upper Goulburn is a fantastic TC2 venue and the E2A was one of the most enjoyable and professionally run races we’ve tackled. We are both looking forward to next year. – Trevor Archibald C2 1st Canoe