EuroChallenge 2009 - Matt Bouman Wins (pics & results)

Saturday, 02 May 2009 09:23 | Written by 
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Clear skis; golden beaches; rocky cliffs; flat water criss-crossed by boat wakes; no wind.  That was EuroChallenge 2009!

After Jeremy Cotter fell out, sick, Matt Bouman and Dawid diced most of the way around the 25km course.  But Matt managed to surge ahead some 4km from the finish - game over.

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Race Summary

The first five kilometres saw a large group of paddlers drop the rest of the fleet - including Dawid Mocke, Matt Bouman, Manuel Busto, Sean Rice, Tom Schilperoort, Benoit Leroux, Yaka Jazbec and others.

Ten minutes into the race, Jeremy Cotter realised that he was just too sick to continue. "I knew at the start that I shouldn't be paddling," he said, "but having come all this way I had to at least try."  Cotter had woken up during the night - vomiting and suffering from diarrhoea.

Eventually Mocke and Bouman put in an interval that broke up the front group - Mocke and Bouman dicing side by side some 50m ahead of the two V12s of Busto and Jazbec in a group with Tom Schilperoort.  Sean Rice dropped back with Leroux still further back.

Calm Seas and Escort Boats don't mix

With the sea so flat, and with the sheer quantity of escort boats (1 per 8 paddlers), it was inevitable that there should be waves going in all directions.  From our media boat, we could see the paddlers surging forward as the wakes came past - there was no way to avoid them. 

Coming round the island on the way back to the finish, Mocke broke away and left Bouman some 50m back... At that point we were watching the fleet come past a couple of kilometers further back.  We were watching for Michele Eray - and were becoming more and more concerned as time passed.  Eventually a very pale and anxious looking Eray passed us - she said later that she didn't say anything to us because was afraid of what would happen if she opened her mouth...

Suffice to say that she finished as first woman - but much further back in the field than she's used to.  "I really wanted to do well to show the local girls that women can compete," she said.  "But it just wasn't going to happen."  It seems likely that she was suffering the same bug as Cotter.

Finish

Having watched Eray plod past, we set off for the front of the race again - to find Mocke leading.  But as approached the pair, a massive set of waves from a big cabin cruiser arrived on the scene.  For the next few minutes the pair fought on swells, but Bouman managed to surge ahead to create a lead that was never really threatened.

Sean Rice

Further back the Think riders, Tom Schilperoort and Sean Rice had traded places.  Schilperoort had bent his rudder at the beach start and had been battling the whole way.  19 year old Sean Rice had his head down and was dicing with Manuel Busto.  He finally managed to drop Busto and came in third - a magnificent effort.

Jaka Jazbec was pleased with his race.  "I haven't been paddling long distance lately," he said, "so I was happy to do well on the first part."  He hit the wall shortly before the island on the way back to the finish. 

More details

We'll try to tease out more details from the guys over the next day or so - but the entire race has moved off down the road to the post-race party.  If I don't stop now, the beer will be finished by the time I get there... 

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Results - Top Ten

  1. Matt Bouman 1:53:54 (Epic V10 Elite) South Africa
  2. Dawid Mocke 1:54:47 (Fenn Mako Elite) South Africa
  3. Sean Rice 1:57:16 (Think Uno) South Africa
  4. Manuel Busto 1:58:23 (Epic V12) Spain
  5. Tom Schilperoort 2:00:45 (Think Uno) South Africa
  6. Benoit Leroux 2:01:17 (OKREA 16) France
  7. Yannick Laousse 2:01:17 (Epic V10L) France
  8. Glenn Eldridge (Fenn Mako Elite) UK 
  9. Ivan Lawler (Epic V10 Elite) UK
  10. Jaka Jazbec (Epic V12) Italy

Click here for the full results

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Photos

In lieu of better quality pics, here's a selection taken by yours truly.

{gallery}2009/05/EuroChallenge/litebox:150:120{/gallery} 

More pics to follow - and we're hoping for some video as well.  Stay tuned!


Race Transcript

We had a few challenges with the commentary but for those who would like to see it as it happened, here it is:


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