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Saturday, April 29, 2000 -- Harpers Ferry, WV
2nd Annual Tim Gavin Downriver Race
Story by Marty Lamp with photos by Greg McCulley

[Details] [Coverage]
[Overall Results] [Results by Class]
Pictures: [Set 1] [Set 2] [Set 3] [Set 4] [Set 5]

Tim Gavin Down River Race
Coming into the "New" Rapid
On Saturday, April 29th, the Second Annual Tim Gavin Memorial Race brought paddlers from all across the region to Harpers Ferry for a day of paddling and socializing in the warm sunshine. This race was started in 1999 in the memory of Tim Gavin, who tragically lost his life on the Upper Blackwater the previous year. Gavin was from the Harpers Ferry area, and honed his paddling skills on the very stretch of water that is the race, from Millville to just below the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac in Harpers Ferry.

The river level of 4 feet on the Shenandoah was a little more friendly this year (last year was 1.5 feet), but although not quite as many rocks had to be negotiated as the previous year, some would argue that this 6 mile stretch of scenic whitewater could be some of the most technical in terms of downriver racing. If finding the clean lines weren't enough to challenge the racers, the 2 miles of flatwater at the start was surely enough to get the blood flowing.

Tim Gavin Down River Race
Steve Kauffman busts through the whitewater
New this year was the "New Rapid", which is formed below the freshly built bridge spanning the river just below Stairstep Rapids. The Shenandoah is constricted down to roughly 1/3 it's width, providing some surprisingly punchy holes to negotiate.

Setting the pace from the start was slalom racer Eric Freeburg(33:04). Freeburg slowly increased his marginal lead over a chasing pack throught the flatwater start. Leading the chase was Heinz Roethenmund(33:06) and Simon Beardmore(33:22), with Jess Whittemore(34:59), Chris Iezzoni(35:09), and Steve Kauffman(35:37) coming on strong. After the confluence with the Potomac, it was anybody's guess as to the best line through the rocky section below, but Freeburg stayed on the most popular center line, and held on for the victory by a scant 2 seconds! Roethenmund finished second overall, while Beardmore finished third.

Tim Gavin Down River Race
Chris Iezzoni keeps pace with the glass boats
Iezzoni, finishing 5th overall, piloted his flaming wavehopper to first place amongst the plastic boats by 3 1/2 minutes, with Mike Dudash(38:39) coming in second, and local hardcore Kevin O'Neil(39:22) finishing third. Dudash and O'Neil finished finished 11th and 14th overall, respectively.

Beth Karp(40:44) was amazingly fast as she finished first amongst the ladies and 18th overall in her fiberglass craft, while Shannon Reeves(42:59) crossed the finish line second, and Amy Conger(44:28) finished third. Reeves and Conger finishing 26th and 32nd overall respectively, were also in glass boats.

Tim Gavin Down River Race
Just another day for Bobby Miller
One of the most impressive shows of boating prowess was turned in by the C-2 Open team of Lubbers/Davis(39:04), who managed to leave many paddlers behind in amazement as they sliced through the course, finishing 12th overall.

New this year was also a rodeo, which took place below the confluence in a nice little pourover named Dash Hole. Local rodeo star Bobby Miller battled it out with another local, Simon Robinson and Fayetteville paddling veteran Brad Yurish. In the end, after many, many ends were thrown, it was Miller finishing on top, with Robinson and Yurish finishing second and third, respectively.

After all the paddling, it was time for some food and berverages courtesy of the Cliffside Inn. While enjoying some quality nourishment, everyone was treated to videos and and auction of whitewater gear. Thanks go out to Kevin Benson and all the folks who helped make this fun and enjoyable day.