Olympic finalist Steve Bird has made a victorious return
to domestic ranks winning the K1 200 final at GP2 in Penrith as Jaime Roberts
impressed across a number of races.
Having forgone international selection in 2017 in favour
of a post-Rio break to focus on study, Steve Bird showed he is still the man to
beat over the shortest form of sprint canoe.
Off the back of strong time trial performances in Perth
in recent weeks, Bird admitted the transition back to race day power had been a
learning curve as he ramps up preparations for next month’s national
championships and selection trials at the same venue.
"It was a solid race even though I was caught a bit off
guard at the start,” Bird said.
"It’s my first year back and it’s interesting to be back
racing others. I have been paddling really well at home and just had to find it
"I’m happy to get one out of the way and build towards
selections in three weeks,” Bird said.
The 29 year-old broke the line in 35.73sec ahead of Matt
Goble (36.30) and Mark Stowe (37.12) to claim the win.
Bird and Goble combined for third place in the K2 500
final, whilst the duo were also part of a K4 500 crew that took second place
behind Riley Fitzsimmons, Murray Stewart, Ken Wallace and Jordan Wood.
Jaime Roberts showed plenty of evidence at the Sydney
International Regatta Centre that she can build on her representative honours
in 2017, after teaming with Alyce Burnett, Aly Bull and Cat McArthur to win the
K4 500 final.
Fellow West Australians Shannon Reynolds and Yale
Steinepreis were members of the second place crew.
Roberts was also third Australian in the K1 500 final –
taken out by Burnett, clear of Bull. Burnett and Bull reconnected to claim
victory in the K2 500 final, which saw Roberts and McArthur take second.
Roberts capped off a busy weekend of racing with a second
place result in the K1 200 final, which was claimed by the dominant Burnett.
SIRC will host the Australian Canoeing Selection Trials from
March 4-5 before the National Championships run from March 6-10.