The road to new succes
Last year the BetonBrouwers were surprised by a new big player from Leipzig on the European stage. After missing out on the European title, it was clear to the BetonBrouwers that new innovations were needed to get back in the lead. Of course, the problem must be tackled at the hart: the concrete. The current mix is good, but room for improvement is still to be found. After experimenting several times with several mixtures, two new canoes have emerged that have shown good qualities and have the potential to create future champions.
Concrete with glass bubbles of 3M
One of these canoes was made with an innovative new concrete, where glass bubbles of 3M were used as an aggregate instead of sand. With a record low weight of 35 kg, it was the lightest racing canoe of the past year and with sleek and smooth outer walls this canoe had all the potential to become a champion. However, it turned out that during construction the construction team was too enthusiastic and smeared too thin, which meant that the canoe could not distribute the pressure forces properly and the wall collapsed during testing. Fortunately, the canoe was replaced by a trusted canoe from the previous years named Hannibal.
Improved plastic fibre reinforcement
A second innovation was a canoe reinforced with plastic fibers from Convez that realized a greater tensile strength in the canoe, minimizing the chances of failure, while there was hardly any extra mass in the concrete. This canoe appeared to pass the tests unharmed and was taken to Eindhoven, where the BKR would take place this year.
Concrete canoe racing is a growing sport that is not only popular in the Netherlands. While only a few Dutch teams participated in the race four years ago, it has now become a major international event where new foreign teams make their debut every year. This year two Polish teams from Silesia and Lodz, four German teams from Regensburg, Dresden, Erfurt and the European champion Leipzig participated at the event. Naturally, the Netherlands was also well represented with no less than 11 teams.
On the day of the race it was clear that it would be a very exciting race. In total there were 6 competitions on the race:
- 100 meters for men
- 200 meters for men
- 100 meters for women
- 200 meters for women
- 100 meters mixed
- 200 meters mixed
At the 200 meters race, there had to be made a 180-degree bend after 100 meters, while the 100 meters is a straight only race.
The weather was lovely for the spectators but made it difficult for our athletes in the canoes. A strong wind provided a pleasant temperature on this summer day, but also caused a strong current on the racetrack. Canoes were struggling to stay in the right position before the start so that the start signal had to be postponed until everyone was lined up. Also, during the race, it was clear that many teams had trouble keeping a good course during the race.
The race day started with the 100 meter-races. In the qualifications it became clear that the BetonBrouwers and Leipzig had particularly good times, but Regensburg and our guests from Poland also did very well, yet Leipzig eventually showed itself to be dominant at 100 meters. This can be explained by their construction and their canoe technique: with a short and relatively light canoe they had a better acceleration where they could benefit from this short distance and their C1 technique (canoeing on one knee) made that they could make optimal use of the power of the canoeists. In the finals, Leipzig won 1st and 2nd place in all 3 classes on the 100 meters, but the BetonBrouwers managed to keep Dutch honour high with three 3rd places. At the 200 meters the BetonBrouwers were in their element and the race became more exciting. The construction of the canoe of the BetonBrouwers has been optimized in such way that the manoeuvrability is good and the top speed on long distances is as high as possible. This is at the expense of acceleration. Also, at the 200 meters the BetonBrouwers had to uphold our national honour as they we were the only Dutch team to qualify for the finals. Fortunately, the success did not end after this. The man just came short and after a neck-and-neck race they finished second place behind Leipzig. The ladies, on the other hand, had an excellent race and conquered first place. Also, in the mix canoeing was excellent and a gold medal was conquered.
Road to Den Bosch and Heilbronn
With a good result and two first places we look back on a successful race. We also want to thank our sponsors for supporting us in this season. However, we are not satisfied with two first places. After the painful missing of the European Championships and World Cup at the footballers, and a season with few prizes for Max Verstappen, Dutch top sport seems to be in a slump. With the BetonBrouwers we will come back with a better design for the canoe, better concrete and better canoe skills. This will have to take place next year in Den Bosch and Heilbronn, where the BKR spectacle will be moving at the end of June. With many innovations in the pipeline, confidence in new techniques and support from our (new) sponsors, we are going to bring back the European title of concrete canoe to where it belong: the Netherlands.
Check out pictures of this and other races here.
Even more photos of this race are available on the website of Study Association ConcepT here.