SALMON Leap’s Peter Egan and Jon Simmons overcame an early collision to win the double-racing kayak (K2) title at last Saturday’s Liffey Descent, making for a superb day for the Egan family.
Peter’s sister Jenny triumphed in the mixed-doubles with former Czech international competitor Martin Kolanda in tricky conditions down the 28.2km course from Straffan to Islandbridge.
An early crash slowed Egan and Simmons but they fought back to get into a two-boat race with Tom Brennan and Deaglan O’Drisceoil and eventually prevailed in a thrilling finale by five seconds in a time of 1.58.40.
“We got a bad start with a bit of a collision on the start line with four or five boats after 250m,” Peter Egan told GazetteSport. “Deaglan and Tom got away a bit from there but we managed to catch up with them after the first weir in Straffan. We were sixth or seventh after that weir but then it was just the two of us over the next couple of weirs and the portage in the lower section.”
It was Egan’s second win in the race having claimed the 2011 edition in tandem with Neil Fleming but it was the first win with Simmons having previously finished second and third.
The time was slower than recent years, though, as the usual four megawatt flood released from the Poolaphouca dam was limited to just two megawatts, meaning a much lower volume of water to work with.
“It was pretty shallow the whole way through so it was hard to get any real boat speed because the flood was only half the size it normally is from previous years.
“It left no room for error on any of the weirs, especially in a K2. The boat is so long and it will become stressed if it chutes in the wrong place as some people did and their boats broke up. You have to get your line dead on otherwise it could be the end of your race.
“It was nice to get the win this time. There was a broad spectrum of paddlers with some over from Great Britain and the Czech Republic in the different classes, a good spread of international talent.”
It was a superb way to end his season and the day was augmented by his sister’s win in the mixed doubles class, something which Peter believes could be a unique achievement.
“I never thought of it that way and I don’t know but I doubt a brother and sister have won on the same day before. They had a good day, got all their chutes done with no damage to the boat so it wasn’t a bad day for the Egan family!”