Friday 17 January 2014

Río Negro Regatta: Scalesi and Pérez turn the race upside down after change of starting rules

Santiago Scalesi and Luis Amado Pérez, new leaders. Photo:
On the last two days were held in Argentina the third and fourth stages of the Río Negro Regatta, from Choele Choel to Luis Beltran (38 km.) and Don Andrés to General Conesa (43 km.). And there has been a very big change in the K2 races due to the incidents in the front bunch on the first two stages. To avoid them, the officials decided that the Senior Men K2 would startone by one every 30 seconds, in a controverted decision that could change completely the pace of the race. As it finally did.

The lucky draw set Juan Manuel Scalesi and Julian Algañaraz to start first, while Santiago Scalesi and Luis Amado went 30 seconds later. It wasn't long before they joined together to pull forward. Behind,  Balboa and Guerrero started on sixth position, so there were three other theoretically slower boats ahead that could be their reference to reach the Scalesis. And in fact, at half race they were pulling of a second group after the leading duo.

At the end of the day it was the first mandatory portage of this edition. There, Santiago Scalesi and Luis Amado Pérez distanced themselves from their partners to enter first the finish line, but not winners, because closer behind looked like Balboa and Guerrero had cut the distance considerably. They finally arrived as winners goal with 1'04" on Scalesi and Pérez, while di Renzo and Reyes got the third place. This made the advantage of Balboa and Guerrero go up to 1'08" in the overall.

In K1, with the race starting all at once, as it should be, Alfredo Quiñanao showed that his two previous victories were no joke. The pupil of Néstor Pinta at Patagones School again maintained a closed fight with Gastón Gaona during the stage, but in the final stretch, including the portage, he managed to take a small advantage to entre the finish line and scratch some precious seconds more to his overall lead .

On Wednesday, on the fourth stage of the Black River Regatta , held between the establishment Don Andrés and General Conesa (43 km.), Santiago and Luis Amado Pérez Scalesi made an great comeback not only allowing them to close the gap with Balboa and Guerrero in the overall standings, but to increase it on their side in almost two minutes, being now set in 1'44" on the former leaders.

Again with starts every 30 seconds, the draw made ​​this time Balboa and Guerrero have a solo race during the whole stage while Scalesi and Luis Amado Pérez could rejoin Juan Manuel Scalesi and Julián Algañaraz , allowing them to gain valuable relays for the journey.

As recognized by Santiago Scalesi after the race, they decided to give absolutely everything at this stage to be able, after the second break to face the last two stages to Viedma in a better position. And better it couldn't be, as it was almost three minutes the bite on Balboa and Guerrero, who said having suffered charge much fatigue after the third stage and not being able to find a good pace from the first strokes. Finally finished fourth on the stage and they have now their assault to the final title a bit more complicated.

Alfredo Quiñanao goes day after day to the final title. Photo:
In K1, on the other hand, Alfredo Quiñanao goes with no obstacles so far to the final victory and won again the fourth stage, ahead of Sebastian Leyes and Gastón Gaona, increasing his strong leadership.

About the women, not many as usual in Río Negro, Lorena Ibáñez, international paddler of the Argentinian marathon team, is the most remarkable, paddling K2 with Andrés Silva and managing so far to win n the four stages, even some of them ahead the first K1s, which is a great performance.

And as it's happening daily, after the finish, the expected crossing chat Balboa - Scalesi: youngster Balboa lamented that this time the draw have punished them. "This system start hurts, because our boat goes very weel on the wash and has a good sprint. But now, whoever gets the finish line first may not be the winner and this generates no fun to  the spectators", said Balboa. He added that "there are things about the race that hopefully will change, because actually the worlds are nor competed liked this". However, he said he and his partner were focused in the last two stages. "There won't be as easy as some believe", he said referring to Scalesi.

On the other side, Santiago Scalesi remembered that if the race system is now a time trial it's due to the bad behaviour of Balboa in the first two stages. "It's very difficult dealing with this kid and his dirty mouth. As a paddler he is excellent but not as a person".

At this link you can check the overall standaings after 4 days of race.

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