Thrills and spills on raging Avon River
By Daniel Yong
SPECTATORS were treated to a weekend of thrills and spills when last month’s record-breaking Avon Descent river race through Toodyay saw a new category of speedboats soar through the air and several powerboats and kayaks capsize in the raging torrent.
At least 150 people braved the early Saturday morning cold, mist and mud last month to see the first speedboats leap across roaring white water at Extracts Weir.Read more
Several powerboats capsized in the torrent and safety marshals had to rescue two contestants after their craft flipped in a tight turn and was swept over the weir.
A new category of powerboats also made an appearance, with some becoming airborne as they cleared the weir.
This year’s entrants in all categories faced stronger currents and higher river flows after weeks of heavy rain in the Avon Valley catchment area.
State Government records showed river levels at nearly two metres for the race.
Locals and visitors were also treated to a fun-filled Saturday festival with lunch and live music at the town’s annual International Food Festival in Stirling Park.
Contestants woke next morning to chilly waters, thick foam and dense morning mist as they set off downstream from the traditional Cobbler Pool overnight campsite.
Several kayak entrants capsized in the rapids, with most recovering quickly.
Some had significant trouble regaining their balance and several lost boats that were rapidly swept away downstream.
One lost his paddle in thick white foam and had to use a collapsible emergency paddle clipped to the front of his kayak to resume the race before again capsizing moments later.