23 rd and biggest edition of The Buff Malta Manoel Island Races
On Sunday 21 st October the Malta Canoe Federation held the Buff Malta Manoel Island Race which was the 23 rd and biggest racing event ever staged by the federation. This year’s focus was to organise an event which will promote the racing part of the sport in a less competitive manner by staging a number of fun, racing events. At the outset it was foreseen that the day’s racing will be interesting as just over 45 entries were registered for the races that took place.
The first event which took place was the 1 lap fun race round Manoel Island (2.7km) which was open for all kayak categories, exhibiting a variety of kayaks from the faster surf skis, the sea faring sea kayaks which were privately owned and also supplied by Gozo Adventures, as well as some open canoes. The congestion at the starting line was evident that even though it was a fun race, none the less a race was on. With the sound of the start gun the splashing of paddles on the water was nearly simultaneous. Having had the previous few days with Grigale winds, meant that the outer part of Manoel Island had some swell with which the paddlers had to negotiate. The first incident saw Adam Peterka, who just came back from the Czech republic Slalom National Championships, lose his balance and his racing cap in the process at the first turning point only to Eskimo roll his kayak in a swift and fluent motion to continue his race. Peterka’s brother, Jachyam, also a Czech National Slalom championship contender, followed close behind his brother Adam and by pure reflex grabbed Adam’s racing hat and continued on with the race. A show of sportsmanship was also demonstrated during the race when Matthew Schembri forfeited his fight for a placing for the medals when he stopped to help Gerald Degaetano who capsized due to a rogue swell whilst he was trailing by a number of boat lengths behind the race leader Chris Camilleri, who at the time was unaware of the situation which developed behind him. The finish line was crossed first by Chris Camilleri in a time of 14 minutes 2 seconds, followed by Simon Gauci and Peter Borg Costanzi with a time of 16 minutes 18 seconds and 16 minutes 50 second respectively. In the women, Nicki Borg Costanzi crossed the finish line in 16 minutes 17seconds followed by Iveta Leo and Jackie Brincat with a time of 19 minutes 10 seconds and 24 minutes 40 seconds respectively. Following some post race comments from the paddlers it was evident that the focus was to have fun and this was evident by the smiles that the paddlers carried on their faces whilst one by one they crossed the finish line. All the race results are uploaded on www.buffmalta.com.
The second event which took place on the day was the team event which required each team to have a racing kayak, a sea kayak and a canoe polo kayak, which the latter proved to be a bit tricky to handle in the swell that was formed on the outer part of Manoel Island. The route was once again a one lap race round Manoel island (2.7km). The racing was engaging to watch as each paddler took one for the team and gave nothing but 100% all for the common glory! The first to cross the finish line was the team formed by Matthew Schembri, Simon Gauci and Michael Aquilina with a combined time of 61minutes 40 seconds. Nicola Borg Costanzi, Konrad Bellia and Alex’s Rizzo’s team was just 8 seconds shy from grabbing gold in this competition by having a combined time of 61 minutes 48 seconds. In third place was the team formed by the Peterka family – Vit, Adam and Jachyam, who came all the way from the Czech Republic and who clocked a combined time of 64minutes 49 seconds.
To close of the events for the day, a number of 200m sprints were held for children all of whom promoted participation rather than a fight for the podium.
Following an eventful morning of racing, all the participants were given a medal as well as a demonstration on the various ways how to put on a buff! The Malta Canoe federation would like to thank all the participants who attended and made this event such a fun one as well as the sponsors for the event – Buff Malta, Gozo Adventures and Red Bull.