Rasdex Classic River Race
Entries have been flowing in over the past few days as the dealine looms for the cut off for this year’s Rasdex Classic River Race. You have until 11.59pm tonight to enter so if you've been thinking about entering do it now to avoid missing out.
The entrants so far indicate that there will be plenty of competition for those seeking to take the title this year.
In the women's field Kate Cambie is out to try and defend her title as last year's fastest woman. She won't have an easy day with Sophie Hart set to return to event after a year off. Sophie has won the title twice before most recently in 2015. Cambie and Hart had a very close battle at the final Prologue with just seconds separating the pair. Other Open women in the mix will be 2017 Longest Day winner Elina Usher and Central Otago's Fiona Dowling. Hannah Johnson won the novice section in 2016 and this year is set to set up to the Open Class in her new Rockstar so she will be one to watch.
The line up in the men's field is featuring some exceptionally talented paddler. 2016 Champ Haydn Lockie will be back on the start line. Haydn knows how to win this race and will be looking to repeat his victory. Other paddlers to watch will be Canterbury's Sam Goodall and Sam Manson who placed 2nd and 3rd respectively in 2016. Both Sam’s know the river better than most and could play a crucial part in the outcome of the event.
The novice section continues to be a growth area for this race and serves as a great opportunity for those newer to paddling to develop their river experience. One of the favourites for the Novice Title has to be Byron Mann. Mann is paddling impressing well having only taken up the sport in March. Others to watch in this category are Jake Stapleton, Nathan Harris, Sam Clements Stewart and Mark McKenzie.
In the female category Hannah Buchanan has won both the prologue races and will be looking for another podium finish.
On this course the weather and the river are always good talking points. At this stage the long term forecast the weather is expected to swing around to stay mostly Norwest for in the Waimakariri Basin. With only a few spots of moisture predicted. We don’t expect to see a rain bomb on the radar for this year’s race which is a relief to race organisers. A gentle tail breeze maybe expected to ease the effort required due to a rapidly lowering river level. Should any rain fall between now and the start of the race it will be well received to assist paddlers reach Gorge Bridge.
The upper gorge seems to be holding well and doesn't cause the issues we experienced this time last year. A good fresh flood of water came through (835 cumecs) on the 8th November flushing away any real build up of shingle fans and cleared out most corners. However there are some interesting lines from Mt White to the Rock Gardens to prepare those that need a little reminding that the river can produce a few options at this time of the year. The lower gorge is the best it has been for many years with little to no real tricks to be worried about. White Rock rapid just above the entry to horseshoe bend is behaving and still has an option to cut it if the desire not to run the main flow is lacking.
Woodstock down is making for some fun navigation with those that did the final Rasdex Prologue, knowing the secrets to staying in the good water out on the right after halfway rock.
The river was pretty busy over the weekend with good weather and a keen sense of urgency by all to get their last "sneaky recon" in.
Enter at www.arawa.org.nz/classic.html