FORMULA 1 driver Mark Webber swapped his racing car for a paddle and admitted that riding the rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre gave him a bigger adrenalin rush than taking part in an F1 race.

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“White water rafting and kayaking at Lee Valley White Water Centre gave me a bigger buzz than racing in F1,” admitted Webber.

“F1 racing is my job but I don’t get to white water raft and kayak very often. It was a fantastic experience and more fun than racing around in a car at 150 miles per hour.”

Webber admitted that he was amazed at the challenging Olympic Standard Competition Course of the Lee Valley White Water Centre and at the facilities on offer at the venue, the first London 2012 venue to open to the public ahead of the Games.

Australian Webber, who is based in London said: “I have rafted and kayaked in some amazing rivers in Tasmania and Australia but going down the course at Lee Valley White Water centre was just as challenging.

“It’s incredible to think that a course like this has been built so close to London. There are fantastic facilities here and the staff are excellent. They really make you feel very safe. I never expected it to be such an amazing experience, it really was phenomenal riding the rapids at Lee Valley White Water Centre.

Webber, who is currently fourth in the F1 rankings took on the rapids of the Lee Valley White Water Centre as part of his preparations for the Mark Webber Tasmania Challenge, a five day endurance competition which takes place later this year. It involves kayaking, mountain biking, running, swimming and climbing.

“Coming to Lee Valley White Water Centre has given me a good idea of what to expect in Tasmania later this year. I have learnt a lot about white water rafting and kayaking,” said Webber.

Looking beyond next year’s Olympic Games, Webber said: “I have no doubt they will be a sensational experience but it is important to have venues that can benefit people for many years to come.

“That’s why venues like Lee Valley White Water Centre are so important. All sections of the community, from school children to older people can benefit from it.

“The Olympic Games are going to be sensational but you have to have ideas and venues in place that keep people involved in sport once the Games are over. Sport inspires and motivates.”

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