The dust begins to settle and the tired athletes start come around to recover from the biggest, rowdiest and best after party King of the Alps has ever seen. With so many fantastic UK Kayakers at this years event its only right we give a shout out and express our true gratitude to all those who not only just turned up to compete but completely diminished the #BeaterBrit status with outstanding race results!
King of the Alps is the European Championship in extreme kayaking, For the 8th time in a row some of the world’s best kayakers have battled it out for the legendary title of the “King and Queen of the Alps”. The qualification process is a mass start, downriver race over a distance of 6km. Imagine about 120 kayakers tussling for position behind the start line, and when the go is given, a spectacular head to head race starts. The athletes give 100% energy and strategy to make the first 20 who will qualified for the final.
The King of the Alps final run takes place on the really impressive and especially intimidating rapids of the Passer River in the little village of Moos, Northern Italy. Situated above the put in of the famous Passer-gorge, the race course is only a few hundred meters long but includes everything an extreme race needs. For the athletes it’s difficult enough to find a line, and it’s even more difficult to make it the cleanest and fastest!
KOTA kicked of on the Friday night with a BBQ dinner, kayak rolling competition, a skate-yak show down and a film night to complete the entertainment before race day.
With all the athletes up bright and early the marathon gets underway and here is why we are completely stoked with all UK Kayakers results. Firstly to Darragh Bolger who was this year representing the Irish, Darragh who is still relatively new to kayaking landed himself in 79th to beat some really experienced paddlers. In true Irish fashion we all knew who was going to be crowned king of the party! Max Topp-Mugglestone finished just out side of the top half and for a race with this many competitors and a boater x mass start, this is a good result! Next on the list is the guy who has won multiple awards for “nicest man in paddlesports” Chris finishing in 62nd position during the race but had a good crack at winning the party! We hope the following day went ok for you buddy…
Ramping up the places to 41st we have Nick Roberts, speaking before the race Nick was looking to be in the top half and would have been really happy in the top 50 so pretty stoked for you bro! SEND yourself way up the list, we get to the one and only Bren Orton, finishing just outside the top 20 he was able to sneak through to the finals with places becoming available through multiple dropouts. Bren had a solid run down the intimidating rapid but was unfortunately unable to set a time to make the final 10 places. Completing the round up from the k1 men’s race is Lyndon Williams and Eddy Mead, who with a little bit of team spirit ( team #2inthepink ) hammered their way into qualifying positions at 16th and 17th with only a fraction of a second to split the difference on the finish line!
Next we move onto the women’s category where 22 females battled it out and 3 brilliant UK ladies absolutely SMASHED IT! Bethan Palmer ended the race with a very respectable 7th place, Molly Agar crossing the line to take 6th and an almighty effort with blistering race speed from Beth Morgan to win who pulled away from red bull’s Nouria Newman at the start to never be caught. The results allowed Beth and Bethan to be crowned winners of the women’s team race, the trophy for this is an amazing well thought out massive sword!
This year for the first time in the history of KOTA, 4 stout af women stepped up to race the finals course, this year had seen higher water levels than any of the previous years, which made what they did all the more spectacular. All of the girls had fantastic lines through and has no doubt inspired not only the other paddlers at the event but females and males all over the world! To witness what they managed achieved this year was incredible it was for sure next level for female kayaking and really hope to watch another women’s final in 2020! 2 of the 4 weekend hero’s were UK Kayakers, Beth Morgan who finished just behind Nouria and Molly Agar who rounded up the top 3.
Here at UK Kayakers, we would like to congratulate everyone who produced a great personal performances either on the water or at the party. An indication that we are clearly stamping out the internationally known “beater brits” label!
Thanks to the organisers and all of the competitors at King of the Alps who as always make us feel so welcome!
Photo’s: Jens Klatt Photography