The 2013 Lozer Cup series kicked off this Sunday with sunshine and great levels on the Deerfield River in Northwestern Massachusetts. The solid field of competition produced a number of surprises leaving everyone guessing about who is going to win the coveted Lozer Cup at the end of the season.
The upstream-facing mass start launched a mix of downriver race boats, retro classics, Dagger Green Boats, a tandem and a few creek boats onto the two-mile "Dryway" section of the Deerfield River. The intermittent stretches of flatwater at the top of the class III/IV run are usually enough to spread the competition. This year, however, became a scrappy race that saw two tight packs of boaters colliding from top to bottom.
Clustered together with the wildwater boats at the front of the field was a young Ryan Mooney grinding away in his Green Boat looking to upset some downriver racers. Farther back the retro boats were caught in a continuous fray that saw numerous spinouts, broadsides and the occasional paddle chest plant. After a grueling final flatwater stretch, newcomer Brett Mayer lead the field by a 20-second margin. Jeff Belanger followed just ahead of reigning champion Mark Trahan. Mayer proved to be a good sport, admitting to an illegal start. All agreed he was the true winner of the day and by group decision, the first ever Lozer Cup time penalty of 15 seconds was assessed. Mayer, a Virginia native living in Northwest Connecticut, seemed eager to return for a more decisive victory. After a brief award ceremony officiated by NECRKA representative Mark Wendolowski, the group went for the traditional victory lap to cap off a great weekend of racing and unexpectedly sunny weather at the Deerfield River.
Before the race, C&K contributor Kenny Unser caught up with 2012 Lozer Cup champion, Mark Trahan to ask a few questions about the upcoming season.
CanoeKayak.com: How did you start racing in the Lozer Cup?
Mark Trahan: Watching this crazed group of paddlers speeding down the river always intrigued me. I wanted to give it a shot but did not know any of the racers and did not have the right boat. In 2008, I finally entered my first race in a fiberglass slalom boat hoping to be competitive. I won that race and was immediately hooked.
What was it about the Lozer Cup that appealed you?
I got to meet a tremendously awesome group of local boaters looking for a new way to run the Dryway section of the Deerfield River. I liked being among the usual suspects at the end of race recapping and analyzing the run: who knocked who into an eddy, who got splattered and swam or who absolutely torched the rest of the field that day.
Tell us a little about the 2013 competition.
There is a strong group of regulars paddling wildwater-style boats that could take the race on any given Sunday--Justin Crannell, Jeff Belanger and Mike Porter to name a few. Mark Wendolowski, a former Lozer Cup champion and multi-time USA Wildwater team member, is currently nursing a rib injury that took him out of the Wildwater World Championship in Slovenia. Teenager Ryan Mooney surprised us all with a dominant first place finish at one of the races last season. He's going for it this year, holding tight, clean lines out there in his Dagger Green Boat. There is also a regular set of ringers including Tino Specht, Matt Young, Justin Beckwith and Ted Devoe that seem to upset the standings every year without completing enough events to take the series themselves.
Unofficial Results From Race 1:
1 Brett Mayer 18:24 Perception Wavehopper
2 Jeff Belanger 18:29 Pyranha Speeder
3 Mark Trahan 18:36 Pyranha Speeder
4 Ryan Mooney 18:40 Dagger Green Boat
5 Justin Crannell 19:12 Perception Wavehopper
6 Alexander Toth 19:33 Perception Dancer
7 Will Timpson 19:35 Perception Dancer
8 Kenny Unser 19:50 Dagger Green Boat
9 (Tie) Joey Tammaro & Laurie Cestnick 20:51 Jackson Dynamic Duo
11 Lucas Germano 20:12 Hydra Dragonfly
12 Colby Cook 21:47 Wavesport Habitat
13 Carl LaFrenier 33:50:00 Dagger Vortex Helped Swimmer
14 Jahn Pearson 33:51:00 Noah Jetty Grand 1st JR Helped Swimmer
15 Brian Beaupret 33:52:00 Prijon T Canyon
16 Mike Porter 63:33:00 Raft