Continuing our recent run of form, this year’s Bedford Fours and Eights Head saw us take home three wins from the seven boats entered, a very good return. The other crews posted good times against stiff opposition, largely from the college and school crews who were out in strength. The event itself seems to go from strength to strength and attracted a record entry this year – the downside to this was, as we were a bit later in submitting entries, we wound up being there from Division 1 to Division 7. Still, this meant we were still around to pick up pots!
Second outing for the Men’s Eight this year, with Gwen swapping in for Steve (compared to Northampton). Although a bit rough in parts, there were patches where we got the boat running well and there’s obviously real power in there. Helped by not having my seat collapse, we put out a time of 7:11 to put us level with Bedford RC with only Broxbourne beating us in the club crews.
Women’s Masters C 4+
Third win in a row for the Ladies, with Paula, Lou, Karen and Clare (coxed by Steve) putting down a time of 8:29, over half a minute ahead of their rivals from Bedford RC.
Women’s IM3 4-
A good, fast race by Andi, Ash, Liz and Sam saw them across the line in 7:50, some 43 seconds clear of their competition, from Exeter Uni, giving them another win.
Despite a last minute change of crews, with James suffering a bereavement, the scratch crew of Josh, Nelson, Benn and Gwen (with Liz coxing again) were good enough to finish as the second club crew (well behind a very fast Abingdon boat), beating off two Star Club boats, in a time of 7:45
Masters C 4x-
Our usual crew of Pierre-Yves, Simon, me and Steve actually posted the fastest Masters Quad time of the day, at 7:23, but lost out on handicapping to Masters D boats from Star Club and Oundle, by 4 and 5 seconds respectively.
Mixed IM3 4x-
What started out as a “fun” entry turned into a very respectable boat, not only winning the category but setting the fastest MK time of the day. Also a first marital double for Andi and Tim, with Josh and Liz (rowing for a change!) completing the crew.
Women’s IM3 4+
The second race of the day for the Masters Ladies showed remarkable consistency, at just three seconds slower than their first run in the Masters event. This was enough to place them fourth of seven in a strong field, a very good performance by Paula, Lou, Karen and Clare (Steve coxing them a second time)
Unusually for Bedford, the weather wasn’t perfect (maybe the sacrifices weren’t up to standard?) but despite this another thoroughly enjoyable day’s racing. I do love the way they keep to time, chivvying crews along and taking no nonsense but always good naturedly. Being there all day did make it a long day (watching the crews for the last division trying to get motivated after an hour in the club house was quite amusing) but did allow us to be there to collect the well earned pots.
Must put in a special mention here for Liz – not only did she win two pots but spent the rest of the day coxing. In particular, the way she spun our eight at the start was simply jaw dropping – there can’t have been more than three feet spare at either end as she manoeuvred the boat, spinning it on the spot. Sheer class, totally impressed.
Also thanks to the wonderful lady at Bedford RC, who’s birthday it was, who kindly fed the gannets from MK the food left from her party. It was hugely appreciated.
Finally, octuples… I know they have to learn and take part in races but I do feel there should be a restriction on putting little kids in charge of little kids. Clearly, some of the crews were barely capable of sculling and having a young child attempting to steer them is an accident waiting to happen. Fortunately, we only caught one of them just by the butterfly bridge but even so, Steve was working overtime to avoid them as they zigzagged along the course. I do feel for the fastest fours who must have had to negotiate their way between them. Would it be possible/desirable to insist on a minimum age for coxes for junior boats to give some degree of control? Also, is it worth starting these boats at the back of the division, to remove any chance of interfering with faster adult crews following them?
As ever, the results were through in amazingly quick time and can be found here.
My photos are also on-line, these can be seen here