Dracula Race bites EC 2021

Dracula Race bites into the Euro Cup season

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The now annual pilgrimage of race teams to Transylvania has made its mark as the Dracula Race bites into the Euro Cup racing calendar. Race Director and regular face on judging and racing circuits at Euro and World level, Mihai Mares gives us some insight into the race that is now a regular on the EC calendar. Jasmina Marčok also gives us her first hand knowledge as the Head Judge.

From Mihai Mares:

Dracula Race bites EC 2021
A challenging slalom course © tomanedeleaserban

It was such a joy and relief to see again boats darting down the current, to hear the skin prickling ”paddles up!” and to hear judges talking over the radio as teams pass by! Lovely weather and a solid 45 cms water flow made racing entertaining to watch but slalom gates harder to take; but as always the hard work of the teams makes it into a nice show for the spectators!

Unfortunately international teams were unable to join due to travel restrictions in their respective countries or found it too hard to cope with tests and border hassle. The party which made the highlight of past Dracula races (2018 and 2019) had to be cancelled for the sake of virus restrictions, too… Too bad but the organisers promise the next Dracula Party will make up for the 2020 and 2021 lost ones 😊

10 teams competed in Open Men and Open Women categories over 2 days of racing, in all 4 disciplines (Sprint, H2H, Slalom, Downriver).

See you all in 2022!

Dracula Race bites into judging and organising

Dracula Race bites EC 2021
A couple of spills and chills © tomanedeleaserban

From Jasmina Marčok:

They say it is important to have a good plan in life. However, what life has taught us in the last year is that planning is a relative thing and that life can bring us unexpected changes. So I spent the weekend in mid-April, instead of in Serbia, with my other, rafting family, at a competition in Romania.

Despite the uncertainty that accompanies us during this pandemic, Dracula Race Euro Cup 2021 was held on April 16-18 in Nehoiu, Romania. Organiser Mihai Mares and his team made an effort to hold the competition in compliance with all extraordinary regulations and proved that it is possible to organise a good and successful competition despite the restrictive measures in force.

The weather forecast was good, fresh, but sunny. The necessary papers for crossing the red zones were obtained and the adventure could begin. Eight domestic teams in the Open Men and two teams in the Open Women category registered. The gathering began under the bridge in Nehoiu on the Friday afternoon for downriver training. It was nice to meet old friends again, the weather was ideal, the water level was even better.

After training, we gathered at the pension to make arrangements with the judges and captains. Due to better logistics and time savings, we agreed to start the slalom competition on Saturday, to continue with the sprint that will determine the pairs for H2H. Downriver and the announcement of the winner was planned for Sunday. Restrictive measures deprived us of further socialising and the inevitable party, we missed friends from other countries, but we were all focused on making the competition go well. So it was!

On Saturday, we gathered on time, the gates were set up quickly, the judges were deployed to their positions, the teams were ready for clashes on the water. At the beginning, I was nervous because of the function of the head judge in the competition, but when the first team started, the nervousness disappeared. All that remained was the focus on collecting points, calculating and printing the
results. The logistics worked great, there were no delays at any time. Part of Saturday’s competition was also successfully completed followed with short briefing for tomorrow.

Due to various restrictive measures in the two municipalities where the competition is held, we decided to award the prizes on the river bank immediately after the downriver race. Exactly at noon, it started to rain at the award ceremony. It was as if the rain was waiting for us to finish everything. Even rain started falling at the right time.

Dracula Race bites EC 2021
© tomanedeleaserban

We were happy and satisfied in the end, we greeted each other with the wishes to see each other again soon. We have managed to prove to ourselves that plans are made to be changed, and that we have to adapt to those changes. And we have learned that changing the plan and the way it works can give a good result when the goal is clear. Mihai and his team proved it with the perfect organization of the competition, despite all the obstacles.

Full race results can be found here.

Photo album from the race is published on the @IRFEuroChamps facebook page here.

Got the urge to race in Europe this year? Here’s a quick summary of what’s coming up.

#dracularace #romania #strongertogether #thisisrafting #weareirf

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