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Sunday, March 4, 2001 -- Ohiopyle, PA
Yough Classic (iPO Event Id#: 3074)
Story by Chris Norbury, Photos by Marty Lamp

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results]

With the forecast for feet of snow and freezing temperatures a hearty band of dedicated wildwater paddlers raced in one of the first races of the year on the Lower Yough this past weekend. In contrast to last year, when it was a balmy 70 degrees, and the water was at 3 feet, this year it was barely above freezing, with alternating driving rain, sleet and snow, and a river level of a shade above 2 feet. This didn't diminish the appetite for racing after a winter off, and with Team Trials only 2 weeks away this provided an added incentive of laying down a psychological advantage going into one of the most important races of the year.

Andrew McEwan - Ohiopyle Falls
Unsurprisingly, National Champion Andrew McEwan laid down the challenge that none could answer. His blistering run in the sprint down Entrance and Cucumber in his weaker of the 2 distances was nearly 8 seconds clear of the pursuing pack, with Steve Kauffman taking second and ex-US slalom team member Brian Homberg third. Greg Akins did well to beat some of the glass boats in his wavehopper, and following him closely was Chara O'Brien, showing the guys how it should be done. Beth Karp warmed up well for the junior team trials on the Tohickon in 2 weeks with a clean run.

In the Classic (From the put-in to River's End), his favored event, Andrew pulled even more time out of the pack, finishing over 3 minute ahead of Chris Norbury who was still smarting after a poor sprint performance. Steve Kauffman took third, pulling some time back on Chris with a run of the slot at River's End to finish another 16 seconds back. Bob Gedekoh paddled a good race to take his Mirage in ahead of Scott Stough in a glass wildwater boat, I am sure we'll get Bob out in a wildwater boat yet.

Steve Kauffman - Potomac River
In the C-boats Larry Lubbers and Bob Davis warmed up (if you could say this on such a cold day) for the Open Canoe Nationals on the Yough in August, taking their boat down some of the slots that some kayaks wouldn't attempt. Out of his element in a wildwater C-1, instead of his normal C2, US team member Reid Bailey, who drove 5 hours for the race from Dayton, was still learning the lines come race time, but acquitted himself well, even if he was very cold and wet by the time he finished.

The Maury race originally scheduled for this weekend is OFF. Andrew and I checked it out in January and, whilst it is fine in a cruising boat, it is very tight and technical in a wildwater boat, especially the week before trials, so we called it off. The weekend after is Team Trials on Tohickon Creek.

Another announcement, an organizer change for the Bloomington Race on April 15, 2001. Chris Norbury will be organizing this race, as Andrew McEwan will be at the Training Camp coached by Francois Beauchard at NOC. Andrew will take over organization of the Cheat Narrows race on May 5th. If you would like more details of the wildwater training camp at NOC, an excellent opportunity to be coached by Francois (former French team coach) and French team member Christian Processe. Drop me a line, and I'll try to put you in touch with the right people.

Special thanks to: Keith Backlund and Dan Staley, Starters
Tom Pitman Finish Timer
Greg Akins Sponsor($ 100.00)
And last with the greatest devotion and enthusiasm Mark Hei for the computer results, and good try on entering the classic.