Family aim for double of GB team places

PUBLISHED: 16:58 22 October 2010

The GB Seniors Dragon Boat crew

The GB Seniors Dragon Boat crew

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Tipton family members focus on GB teams

Vicky Carter and her horse Monty competing in an endurance event

A Tipton St John family could soon have two members in British teams for two different sports.

Grahame Shaddick, 44, and his stepdaughter Vicky Carter, 15, are both about to break into their respective British teams, Grahame for dragon boat racing and Vicky for the equine sport of endurance.

Grahame went to the World Fire fighter Games three years ago and took part in dragon boat racing and was hooked.

He now trains nine times a week -mostly in the gym, but three times in the boat - racing for Excalibur in Exeter, competes in a national league, and was selected for the GB senior team for the European championship in August. Although he was disappointed with a seventh place after the categories 200m, 500m and 2,000m he hopes to become a regular member of the senior side.

Eighteen countries took part in 64 different classes, including juniors, open, O40s, mixed etc. Each boat has 20 paddlers, one drummer and one helm. The craft, at 40ft long, has to weigh over a quarter of a ton before any racers get on board.

Exeter have just been promoted to Premier League dragon boat racing. Next year, Grahame has the World Firefighter Games in New York and the World Dragon Boat championships in Tampa, both in August, to look forward to but doesn’t hold out much hope of going to both.

He said: “We have to pay for everything ourselves apart from we do get given a GB race top and bottoms and, as one event is at the beginning of August and one at the end I can’t see both happening! “

Grahame is sponsored by Sidmouth extreme sports shop Shiver.

Vicky, who is a pupil at The King’s School, has already competed at the national Pony Club endurance championships at Keysoe in Bedfordshire this year, where she came fourth on her horse Monty.

She was also selected to take part in a national endurance training camp which took place at the Northern Racing College in Doncaster where she was picked out for a lesson with top GB coach Yogi Breisner.

Since then she has upgraded to British Endurance competitions and qualified for novice to open level. Early next year Vicky will compete in a 65km and an 80km ride (which will take around six hours) and success there will put her in the British Young Riders squad.

In endurance racing, the horses travel at 12-15km an hour and, for the longer rides, are vetted before the start and at the half way stage, where their heart rate must return to 64bpm within 20 minutes.

At the vet stop her crew - mum Penny Carter - washes off and feeds the horse (and feeds Vicky!) before they continue.

She said: “Monty has taken to the sport because he is good at dressage and good balance and rhythm helps the horses cross the terrain smoothly. You don’t have to do hours and hours of work, just get quality training to get them fit.

“But I guess if she gets to go well at the long distances and then wants to step up again I think we would have to go down the route of getting an Arab horse as they are suited to the sport.”

Vicky has sponsorship from clothing company Rockfish Riders after being selected from hundreds of other riders who put themselves forward last year.


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