‘The rapid was probably the biggest, toughest we’ve ever been up against’

Red Rose Rafters, who finished ninth in their first European Rafting Championships, with former Spalding High School student Tori Jones.
Red Rose Rafters, who finished ninth in their first European Rafting Championships, with former Spalding High School student Tori Jones.
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A Spalding woman and her Great Britain team-mates are thrilled with their performance after finishing ninth in their first European Rafting Championships.

Tori Jones (36), part of the Red Rose Rafting Team, qualified to represent her country earlier this year after the group finished second at the British selection held at Lee Valley.

They travelled to Bosnia for their first European Champ-ionships and were delighted to come away with ninth place after taking part in four gruelling events – the sprint, head to head, slalom and endurance, which all include elements of flat and white water to negotiate.

“We’re so pleased,” said former Spalding High School student Tori who has enjoyed canoeing and kayaking from an early age.

“Three of us were ill prior to the competition, so to do so well despite this, well, we’re just so proud of ourselves.

“We went out there with realistic expectations, but to get ahead of some of the other teams was great.”

Tori, a white goods engineer for British Gas, is part of the 12-strong Red Rose rafters, formed by a group of friends who enjoyed outdoor activities and pursuits back in 2009.

The only team member based in Lincolnshire, Tori has already taken part in many competitions held by British Rafting as well as training with past national teams but this competition was her first on the international stage.

“The rapid we faced was probably the biggest, toughest we’ve ever been up against – it just hit us like a hammer,” she recalls.

“As you go through it you just lose sight of everyone else in the raft, if our feet weren’t locked in, we would all have been washed out.

“We lost our head to head, but we managed eighth place in the slalom which was held at night.

“It was very strange coming down there, but also very atmospheric due to the lighting.

“And then we managed to hold our ninth position overall in the endurance.

“It was our first event on the international stage, and for that it will always be a once in a lifetime thing – hopefully we’ll get there again, though,” she added.

Great Britain’s first team were the overall gold medallists.

Now all the celebrations are over, it’s back to the hard work for Tori and her team who have more competitions on home soil to concentrate on before trying to hold onto their GBR2 ranking and win a place at next year’s European competition.

In addition the group is also seeking sponsors to help pay for kit, equipment and travel expenses.

To find out more visit www.facebook.com/RedRoseRapidsRafting