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MADS Releases 2002 Wildwater Race Series

Mid Atlantic Downriver Series prepares for another successful run

by Chris Norbury
USAWildwater K-1,
U.S. Wildwater Committee Vice Chair

Jannuary 8, 2002 -- Hershey, PA

The Mid Atlantic Downriver Series (MADS) began in 1999 as a group of races designed to increase awareness and participation in Wildwater in a region where traditionally a large number of people have paddled Wildwater boats. Two years after its inception it continues to grow, with plans for a big water series this year that incorporate existing races on the Upper and Lower Yough as well as the Upper Gauley and Cheat Canyon. The series will challenge any paddler in the country.

2001 began brightly, with races on the Lower Yough in freezing conditions. National Champion Andrew McEwan showed good form after a winter break to take the honors, and won all of the races he participated in to take the overall series crown. Unfortunately an increasing workload prevented 2000 MADS Champion Ted Newton from putting up an adequate defense of his title, but there is little doubt that he will return stronger and faster in 2002.

Dave Bonomo took advantage of lower participation in the Lehigh to take the honors there, and Steve Kauffman won both spring races on the North Branch of the Potomac to finish with an excellent second overall standing in the series--a fine cap for his first year on the U.S. team. Chara O’Brien dominated the women’s field, finishing a 7th overall. Participation in the C-boats remains slim, but look out for increased C2 racing next year with the availability of local C2s. The Fall North Branch of the Potomac race is designated as a C2 race, with special prizes awarded for the best tandem of the day.  
Chris Norbury strokes through Little Falls on the Potomac River, a featured course of the 2002 MADS Series. (Photo credit: Emmy Truckenmiller)

Next year’s MADS schedule remains similar to this year's, with the addition of the Elk Classic race in the depths of West Virginia, an existing race with a great local turnout and support. There is opportunity to race Classic or Sprint races, on courses with low (Cheat Narrows) or high (Main Stem Potomac) flow. So there is something for everyone.

This year sees the return of the Cheat Racing Weekend with favorable release dates, bringing three races in as many days. This will hopefully attract some of the best racers in the country trying to hone their racing skills before heading off to Europe to compete in the 2002 World Championships in Italy.

With the addition of the Big Water Series we incorporate challenging races on Class IV and V rivers, along with probably the hardest of all races, the Ohiopyle Circuit race, with downstream and upstream legs.

My thanks goes to all the organizers and helpers who make this series go smoothly, along with all of the athletes who participate and race in such a friendly and fun loving spirit.

2002 MADS Schedule
#1 March 3 Lower Yough Sprint Pennsylvania class III Jesse Whittemore
#2 March 3 Lower Yough Classic Pennsylvania class III Jesse Whittemore
#3 March 17 Tohickon Classic Pennsylvania class III Ted Newton
#4 March 31 Lehigh Sprint and Classic   ? Ted Newton
#5 April 7 Elk River West Virginia ? Gary Weir (304) 847-2145 or
#6 April 14 Main Stem Potomac (Little Falls)     Chris Norbury
#BWI May 3 Cheat Canyon Pennsylvania: Cheat Racing Weekend Rick Gusic,
#7 May 4 Cheat Narrows Cheat Racing Weekend Greg Akins
#8 May 5 North Branch Potomac Sprint Cheat Racing Weekend Chris Norbury
#9 May 5 North Branch of Potomac Classic Cheat Racing Weekend Chris Norbury
#BWII July 23 Glorious Upper Yough Race Jesse Whittemore
#10 Sep 9 North Branch of Potomac Sprint Bob Vernon
#11 Sep 9 North Branch of Potomac Classic Bob Vernon
#BWIII Sep 23 Animal Upper Gauley Race West Virginia Donnie Hudspeth (
#BWIV Sep ? Ohiopyle Upstream Race
#12 (final) Nov 3 Tohickon Creek Pennsylvania Ted Newton
For more info, contact Chris Norbury at

Chris Norbury is Vice Chair of the U.S. Wildwater Committee and an active race and training camp organizer living in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Reach him at