Young kayak star’s surprise sighting

Sir Steve Redgrave lines up alongside Isla Johnson
Sir Steve Redgrave lines up alongside Isla Johnson

BODDINGTON’S young kayak star Isla Johnson got the shock of her life on the start line of the Division Nine race at the Pangbourne Marathon.

When she looked to her left she saw none other than Sir Steve Redgrave lining up next to her.

Sir Steve was taking part in his first kayak race with the intention of building up to the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster race.

Isla managed to hang on to the Olympian’s wash for the first part of the race before he powered away to take second place and instant promotion to Division Seven.

Isla, who paddles for Banbury and Dstrict Canoe Club, finished 15th and will surely achieve promotion herself this season.

Banbury’s 58-strong team contained plenty of paddlers from the Daventry area and they put in some strong performances.

Young Robin Flack, from Braunston, took third place in Division Eight with a powerful sprint finish.

He was followed home by Boddington’s Chris Johnson in eighth.

Alice Murphy, from Woodford Halse, was 11th in Division Five, while her brother Patch partnered Will Austin to seventh in Division 5K2, one place ahead of veterans Andy Flack and Max Davison.

Dom Murphy recovered from a poor start to work through the field and finish 18th in Division 4 K1.

The K2s brought home valuable points. Tamsen Flack, from Braunston, and Kate Francis took sixth place in Division Eight, as did Woodford Halse’s Melanie Murphy partnering Graham Warland in Division Six, gaining village bragging rights over Paul Lynes and Ian Warren who were seventh.

The youngest paddlers also put in good performances with Luke Johnson taking sixth in the U12 boys’ and Tom Lord, also from Boddington, making his debut with a very pleasing 12th.

Tom’s younger sister Olivia, also made her debut, with a fine sixth place in the U10 girls’.