After the disappointment of the original event being postponed because of thick fog (see earlier blog entry), the 2011 Star Head was finally rescheduled for January 22nd 2011. Despite our concerns that this would also be affected (this time by very strong winds) it did go ahead as planned.
Although we’d put together a bumper entry for the original event, unavailability reduced us down to “just” ten crews entered. Out of this entry, we managed to come away with no less than six event wins, with the ladies again proving dominant with three wins and the Ladies Masters’ boat narrowly missing out on handicap time.
A strong crew of Helen J, Paula, Alice and Kate (in her first race for MK) with cox Yemin put down a fast time of 7:53 in the first division. This was to prove more than quick enough, beating the Star boat (their only competition) by a substantial margin of 31 seconds to win the category.
Another very strong looking boat, with Kate, Alice, Lou and Jenny, with Yemin again coxing. With this being Jenny’s first MKRC race and Kate’s second (her first being the W.IM2 boat earlier) we weren’t sure how it would go. The answer was “quickly”, posting a faster time (7:46) than the IM2 crew, easily enough to again take the win by 28 and 57 seconds over Star and St. Neots respectively.
WMas B/C 4x
With Jenny switching to sculling and, very creditably, steering the quad in her first ever row at Bedford, the crew of Andi, Amelia, Karen and Jenny overcame the handicap time and sculled to victory, proving too strong for Star and Oundle.
Mas D 2x-
This saw Steve and I out in the double for the first time in what seems ages. This showed as our race wasn’t as fluent as those at the end of last year, and certainly felt like hard work. Despite this, Steve steered a near flawless course and we posted a respectable time of 7:54, comfortably ahead of Oundle, to pick up another win
Mas B 2x-
Despite not having raced together for a very long time, Tim and Pierre-Yves put in a great performance, not only winning their category but posting the fastest MKRC time of the day! Their time, 7:28, put them 29th overall for the day, comfortably beating many fours and quads and even one eight!
Mxd Mas A/C 2x-
Not only taking on their competitors, but running a significant risk of marital fall-out (would YOU let your spouse steer a race or would your spouse let YOU call the pace and tactics????) Tim and Andi also beat the handicapping to see off two “C” boats and win the category by 23 seconds and 33 seconds from Oundle and Sudbury respectively.
A new combination saw Steve, Pierre-Yves and I swap sculls for sweep and add Chris (in his first MKRC race) to put out an IM3 four. After a “hot swap” as we were sharing Mistral with the Women’s IM3 crew (with Helen J jumping in to relieve Yemin from coxing a third straight race!) we paddled down to the start. Not really knowing how this would go, having had just a couple of outings, we set off at a reasonable rate. Unfortunately, we’d been placed immediately ahead of what was obviously a very quick Star quad and coming up to Star club, Helen had to steer very wide to let them through. Despite this we settled back onto the racing line but as we came through County bridge it was like rowing out into the Atlantic. Very high waves, rough water and boat stopping winds made for “interesting” conditions – a bit like rowing on Caldecotte Lake! This persisted through to the Suspension Bridge where the water calmed down a bit and from the Butterfly Bridge it all really clicked and (for the last 200 meters!) felt really strong and balanced. A good end to a reasonable race but we finished last of the five, but a mere three seconds covered 3rd, 4th and 5th. Still, 30 seconds off the winners in what was basically a Masters’ boat wasn’t too bad, especially not for a first outing and had, we not had to avoid the quad, could have been even better.
WMas C/E 4+
Despite a very good row, the Ladies Masters were just unable to overcome the handicap (racing “C” against a St. Neots “E” boat) and although 23 seconds quicker, Paula, Karen, Lou and Clare, with Amelia coxing, lost out by 4 seconds on the handicap time. Had Clare not had to do a third straight race (see the WMas CDE 2x- race), maybe they would have been able to close that little gap.
James and Alex out in a junior double, were up against two strong crews from St. Neots and Kings School Ely and their lack of experience showed as they trailed in a long way down. Still, they can only get quicker with practice.
Alex found himself up against three other J16 scullers, from Kings School Ely, Star and St. Ives. Again, still learning the ropes, he was well beaten although the times posted by the others were extremely fast (winning time was a scorching 7:31!).
WMas CDE 2x-
Clare and Trish, in her first race for the club, had a torrid time. Having raced down in Division 1, they got to the end to be told that their time hadn’t been recorded! They then had to row back, up to the start and do it all over again. This clearly affected their performance and they came in well off the pace with a time of 10:03. Still, a first race together out the way and hopefully next time they’ll only need to do it once!
So, all in all, another good day at the races, especially for Jenny and Kate who picked up wins (two in Jenny’s case) in their first races in MKRC colours. A reasonable first race for the Men’s IM3 4+, although last, this was by just a few seconds, so a bit more practice should see us further up the field.