European Championship Team Spotlight: Masters Men – Great Britain (Team Phoenix)

We are rapidly approaching the European Championship in the Czech Republic!

Today we cast our spotlight on one of the Masters Men teams that will participate in the championship.

Great Britain Masters Men team (Team Phoenix), will compete in both the R4 and R6 races.

The team is based at the National Watersports Centre, Nottingham, England. The centre has both flat water and a gravity fed artificial whitewater course.

The team started around 2017 and has added and changed team members ever since. The team members are generally whitewater kayakers, but have come to love the world of raft racing.

The team competing consists of:

  • Peter Wortley – member of the team since its inception in 2017. Competed in the ERC of 2019, and the WRC of 2022.
    In real life, an Embedded Software Engineer, so always glad to get away from the office and out on the water.
  • Simon Hale – a member of the team since 2018. Also competed in the ERC of 2019, and the WRC of 2022.
    In his spare time, Simon runs a local youth group.
  • Stephen Wood – a member since 2018, competing in the ERC of 2019, and the WRC of 2022.
    Stephen has been kayaking for many years. He is also a black belt in Jiu Jitsu.
  • Stephen Bellamy – a member since 2018, competing in the ERC of 2019, and the WRC of 2022.
    Steve has kayaked all over the world, his next trip is to the Himalya later this year.
  • Patrick McNulty – a member since 2018, competing in the ERC of 2019, and the WRC of 2022.
    Paddy has a wealth of experience in all things outdoors, as well as being a qualified Engineer.
  • Andrew Steel – another founding member of the team, he is also currently chair of British Rafting and an IRF Judge.
  • Stephen Butterfield – a recent addition to the team, although has been paddling whitewater in his OC1 for many years.
    This is his first time at a rafting championship.
  • Paul Gill – the newest member of the team, who took up rafting because his son is a member of the U19 GBR team.
    Paul is no stranger to competition, having competed in disciplines as diverse as marathon kayak and squirt boating.

The team trains every week, generally on the artificial whitewater course in Nottingham.

They will sometimes travel to Wales to train on some of the rivers there if water levels allow.

They have also competed in several Euro Cup races, including Romania, Bulgaria, Austria, and Bosnia.

This is their first time at this venue. Some of the team visited Czechia in 2019, but that was for the Euro Cup at Roudnice nad Labem.

“I think, like everyone else, we are looking forward to meeting our rafting friends, and to making new ones too.”

“Obviously, we are also looking forward to the Downriver race on the famous Devils Stream. We’ve heard quite a few stories about how good it is.”

Half of the team are flying to Czechia and will be leaving early on the Monday after the racing has finished.

The other half are driving, so are expecting to arrive before the races start, and may stay for a few days after depending on their commitments at home.