Following last week-end’s glorious weather at Dorney, for the Met, the Peterborough Spring Regatta took place in more typical British Spring weather. Cold, grey and wet, especially Sunday. Still, the racing more than made up for it, with some excellent races on Saturday, culminating in two wins on Sunday.
First up were the Women’s IM3 4+ crew (Helen J, Paula, Becks and Clare with Lindy making a coxing début). Despite a very early clash of blades with Parr’s Priory they kept their nerve to finish second and secure a place in the repêchage. Next up were the Men’s IM3 4+ crew, a first outing together for Henry, Will, Dan and Pete, Karen coxing them. This was a really exciting race with a the guys making an incredible last charge to force a photo finish with Norwich – that last effort was worth it as they took the heat win and progressed to the final.
The W.IM3 4+ crew were then back in action in their repêchage, but were dropped to third place behind strong crews from Broxbourne and Trafford. Quite a hard race for the spectators with both us and Trafford in virtually identical black/green kit!
In the IM3 4+ final, the guys trailed in last – still, a good showing in their first race together (especially as Dan was trying so hard he came off his seat!). Lots of potential here.
The last races of the day were the IM3 4x- boat (Pierre-Yves, Simon, me and Steve); a good start kept us in contention early on but we fell away in the latter stages of the race to finish last in a straight final. This race also took the edge off of Steve and I who raced just 40 minutes later in the Vet D 2x-, again trailing in last. Our final crew of the day were Nick and Paul as an IM2 2- pair, finishing second in their final (OK, only three boats and one was disqualified, but they were second!
No wins today but some very good performances, especially from the men’s four.
Another Women’s IM3 4+ crew out today, this time the crew that finished fourth at the Met, Charlene, Jo, Lindy and Steph, with Paula making her coxing bow. Quite a surprise for some of the crews from yesterday as they thought it was the same boat (especially one Uni crew overhead saying they had an easy run as they’d beaten MK the day before…). This crew just blew away the opposition in the first round, finishing very clear of the others to move through to the semi-final. Putting down a marker, they were the only crew below 2 minutes in this round.
The second round race was pretty much a repeat of the first; dominating the race from the start to finish at least a length clear of second; again, the only boat under 2 minutes in the semis, this put them into pole position for the final.
Pierre-Yves and I took advantage of a break in our crews racing to get out for a quick practice session. We figured this was a good idea as we’d not raced together before and hadn’t been out in a double together for many months. A good session with quite a few starts thrown in – this was to pay dividends later.
We returned to the course to go out in the IM3 4x- crew that had raced the previous day; another good start saw us in early contention but our lack of race practice as a crew showed and after a couple of mistakes we dropped back to third. This was good enough to see us through to the final though, the first time we’d not finished last so another indicator of progress.
Straight out of the quad and into the double saw Pierre-Yves and I going off as a Vet Novice 2x-. The practice really paid off as we hit an almost perfect start which took us a couple of lengths clear. We were then able to sit on the other crews through the race, finishing first easily. A very nice feeling, watching the other crews trying to hunt us down – not been there before!
Just 40 minutes to recover and Pierre-Yves and I were back in the final of the VN 2x-. Another great start put us in the lead, although Beccles pushed us very hard over the first 200m we powered away to win and de-novice. Pretty proud of our time as well, at 1m 52s in the final. A really great feeling coming through the last 100m knowing we’d got this in the bag (barring any coconut related incident).
Having abandoned Steve for Pierre-Yves, he’d entered as a Vet D 1x in his first solo race for some time. A strong sculling performance saw him come second, still very much in contention with the leader.
It was now time for the W.IM3 4+ final. Clearly their performances had fired up the other crews and DMU flew off the start to hold the lead for the first half of the race. Our girls’ power and strength asserted itself in the second half and they stormed through to take the win with Jo de-novicing at last (15 pots, no points!). Again, they posted a sub 2-minute time – the only crew to break that barrier and they did so in each race.
Our final event of the day was the IM3 4x- final. Very similar to the other races, a good start but fading away during the race.
So, overall a pretty good week-end for the club in general and me in particular! I think I’ve just set a club record as the oldest person to de-novice; I suspect this one will stand for a long time! Sets us up well for the Nat Vets next week (although I’ve just blown our IM3 status!)
Photos on line now at MKRC fotopic site – do check out just how relaxed Pierre-Yves is in both races….