The second Wild Water Race, and first Sprint of the year was held on the River Claire at Milltown County Galway on 27th Nov thanks to Galway Kayak Club. The Milltown Sprint is always a great little course with consistent white water coupled with a very pleasant walk back to the top along the Milltown Riverway. The 2022 edition was made all the more fun thanks to a sunny November day coupled with high water – it’s rare to have an Irish sprint race with such consistent bouncy wave trains the full length of the course.
The upper section constituted of a wave train across the river width. With the river gently bending to the left most racers went with the centre right line focusing on keeping the boat speed high avoiding a couple of small stoppers. The lower section was more complex with a significant bend to the right. Racers were faced with a tricky choice: the far-left line kept the paddler in the fastest water but required a longer overall paddle. The other option, a centre right line, had a shorter overall distance but requiring keeping the boat speed up through some slower water and skilfully avoiding a stopper with the potential to kill all momentum. Much debate was heard with a couple of paddlers opting to switch lines between the 1st and 2nd run.
1st runs ran without a hitch with fast times posted across all boat categories. Particularly competitive was the Women’s GP category with a dead heat between 1st and 2nd place and also between 3rd and 4th.
2nd runs followed quickly after, interestingly all paddlers in Senior K1 Men’s had faster 2nd runs than 1st as racing lines were refined between runs – potentially proving the centre right line was faster after all.
For a bit of fun after the individual races an unofficial team run, and Boater X was held to make the most of the conditions.
Huge thanks to Aoibhín and the GKC team for putting together a fantastically organised and very enjoyable race day.