August 21, 2011

Race Report from Race 2 of the Pita Pit Winter Race Series, RAYC, Orekei

Most improved paddler Maddison Boon setting up for the start.

Auckland turned on another warm sunny afternoon for the second race in the Pita Pit Winter race series at RAYC, Orakei yesterday afternoon. But it wasn’t just the warm temperatures keeping things hot, there was some smoking hot competition on the water also when a record high 34 paddlers lined up for the start off the breakwater at 3.30pm.

As predicted a strong group set a fast pace straight of the bat, this included race one champ Tim McLaren, up and coming Samuel Newlands, multisporter Tim Grammer, spec ski gurus Travis Mitchell and Ben Keys, the wiley sea dog Garren Cooper, fast starters Daryl Forsyth and Brendon Davey and Oskar Stielau and Robbie Ford freshly back from racing at the US Surf Ski Champs in San Francisco.

It was a two lap course close to the RAYC club rooms, and while the goal was to utilise some of the strong tidal movement in the area, in the end the wind came up and made for a tuff slog in bumpy, windy, technical conditions, which eventually blew the field apart creating a quite a spread from first to last and playing havoc with everyone’s percentages behind the winner – GO FIGURE!?

Tim, Sam and Travis slowly whittled away the leading group in the first lap meaning they could just focus on beating each other over the final 5km. In the end it was the fast finishing Samuel Newlands who crossed the line first only three seconds in front of the determined Tim McLaren. Travis Mitchell also finished strong in third place (on a sexy V10L) just under a minute later showing he is but a sleeping tiger waiting for summer! Tim Grammer, Robbie Ford, Garren Cooper and Oskar Stielau all followed behind showing their consistency across what it setting up to be a very tuff 3 race series.

The eventual winning margin was only 3 seconds for Samuel Newlands

The womens race was also hotly contested with a strong turnout of spec ski paddlers from the local surf clubs. In the end the experienced and fit Tracy Wilson showed her local knowledge and good form to take the win from a fast improving Maddison Boon who narrowly snuck ahead of a tenacious Georgia Butt.

As usual the 40+ race was fiercely fought with four of the top eight finishers falling into this category. The very fit Tim Grammer showed his consistent form to take the win from Garren Cooper, Oskar Stielau and Daryl Forsyth. John Soko backed up his first 50+ win at Mairangi Bay with another win, although he may be paying for those good times on his recently holiday in Croatia as Paul Gillard looks to be bridging the gap back to second, Peter Dallimore waved the flag for TBC to claim third in this competitive category.

There was a big fleet of Spec Skis on the course also which was great to see. Sam White took another comfortable win from the clubbie chicks. Special mention to both Laura Josephson and Emma Sissons for toughing it out in the challenging conditions – hopefully we will see you ladies at Taka for race three.

So things are looking mighty close at the front of the series with Tim McLaren holding onto a narrow lead by only 9 seconds from yesterdays champ Samuel Newlands. Bring on the final race at Taka on September 25th I say – there will be some very good racing that afternoon I am sure. We are also hoping to break the 45 paddler barrier and have our biggest field yet – so round up your club mates and utilise the warmer conditions for training. We’ll see you in four weeks or so.

Oh and thanks to all our awesome sponsors, in particular Pita Pit who continually step up with prizes and vouchers for EVERY competitor – you guys are the best! But thanks also to Sierra Coffee, Muscle Therapy, Delmaine Fine Foods, Mairangi Bay Surf Club who keep an eye on us all on the water and RAYC for hosting us. As I said before we are looking forward to the final hit out on September 25th.

More photos and an interview with our latest World Champion Lisa Carrington are on our face book page!/pages/The-Paddling-Project/195511777173666

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