DEVIZES Canoe Club held a race on the River Avon at Chippenham Canoe and Sailing Club on Sunday.

The race was a test event, held under British Canoeing rules, to see whether the venue and course would be suitable for a full race in the national Hasler series, which is contested by clubs from all over the country.

A total of 87 paddlers took part, with a good contingent from Devizes as well as paddlers from other clubs both local and further afield.

Over a four-mile course, 14 races were held overall, which took in a turn in Chippenham below the road bridge and up to near the River Marden.

The more experienced competitors completed three laps of the circuit including a portage – where paddlers have to take the boat out of the water and run with it – at the top of the loop.

In the junior races, Devizes duo Arthur Hunter-Hopkins and Cameron O’Hare finished first in the Mini K2 in their second paddle together.

The K2 Division Nine race was won by juniors Harriet and Molly Gwyn, from Melksham-based Wiltshire Youth, and Wiltshire Youth were also first second and third in the Junior Division 10 class.

Devizes’ Ian and Tereza Thackray were third in Division Nine to win the C2 class.

Other Devizes paddlers Neil Edgar, Mollie Ball and Dan Jones won in their divisional categories, while Bradford’s Tom Simmons won the senior race, completing the 12-mile course in one hour 29 minutes.

James and Stan Missen, from Bradford, won the K2 race in one hour 26 minutes.

Devizes Canoe Club deputy chair Kevin Dobson said: “The race was a success thanks to the hard work of the organising team and we are very grateful to Chippenham Canoe and Sailing Club for letting us use their venue and their help with marshals and catering.

“We’ve had positive feedback from the paddlers, especially those from the regional organisers. We hope we will be able to run the race as a full Hasler race next year and attract an even bigger event.”