Race Report

Liverpool - 2012
06 May 2012

Firstly, let's start off with a formal welcome to Secklow-style racing to Clare, George, Dan, Alex, Tim, James, Steve and (that lovable dragon boating tart) Justin...it was a pleasure racing with you all, and I hope that there will be more instances of seeing you in that beautifully maroon Secklow battle-gear.

Secondly, let's send 'get well soon' messages to those who were hoping to race...but ended up sounding more like extras in Casualty...Emma C, Liza and Kim.

Ok, so on to the racing. We started the 500s with an 18-man crew, half of which had never raced together before. We were up against the two Worcester crews, and held on to the Open boat for about 200m before their heavyweight 20 pulled away. We spanked Dragonflies for the first time in the day, and were off to a reasonable start in the lovely Liverpool sun (I don't think I've ever said that before)

Race two saw us in a rep against Dragonflies (again) and Notts Anaconda. We gave Notts a flash of something scary off the start (Nick got his top off, as well as a great start) and held on to them for about 300m before, again, their superior grunt...well, grunted...and away they went. In spite of my best attempts at leading the boat's stroke rate from my Row 4 seat...Dragonflies, again, were a boat length or so behind The Most Attractive Crew In The National League.

So, Plate semi final: Secklow vs Dragonflies. 3 out of 3 for the boys and girls in maroon in that particular head-to-head contest.

Plate Final: Secklow, Amathus Bees and Typhoon. Having lost in two photo finishes to Typhoon at Caldecotte, we wanted this one a little bit. And we got it. Great race...coming through them from halfway and winning by about a third of a boat.

Time for the ladies to shine. With only a team of 16, the girls did brilliantly to keep close to Worcester and Amathus, both of whom had close to full crews. We'll ignore the pointless inclusion in the race of the GB juniors, who had lads in the team (most of whom had hairier chests than me). Third place: well done girls.

On to the most pointless introduction to the BDA race programme: 450m with a turn around a buoy half way down. Quite who thought of this event I'm not sure, but our involvement lasted about the 2 minutes it took for the Worcester open boat to re-run race 1, beat us by a length, and knock us out. Which then led to the next two hours spent sleeping / eating / chatting whilst Amathus beat everyone. In a competition that only Amathus had trained for. Funny that. By this point, we were down to a crew of 17, with Blacko having also joined the Casualty cast list.

Finally...quite possibly the best introduction the BDA have made to the race programme. 2000m, paddled in one race Henley-series-style with crews setting off at 15 second intervals based on the 500m placings. Two turns were involved (a la Henley) and it was possibly the best dragon boat race that I've ever been involved in. At one point about halfway in, we were catching Typhoon whilst Notts were on our left, about 2m from our gummel, and Pershore were on our right, close enough to be clashing paddles. 200m later at the turn, what occurred next was carnage. Notts attempted a manoeuvre that can only be described as 'bravely insane' to get inside Amathus Bees, and took out the Bees tail (literally), the Bees boat, Typhoon, Pershore and themselves, not to mention an expensive-looking houseboat moored nearby. Meanwhile our helm calmly kept us out of trouble to sneak in seductively on the inside..it was poetry in motion. Unfortunately Pershore and Notts (the naughty scamps) got themselves going again to re-overtake us, but our efforts were enough to win us the Plate competition overall and therefore finish 7th.

It was a fantastic day, competed in great spirit and camaraderie, so thank you to everyone who took part and I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did. I have attached a crew photo with our latest trophy. (Nick, I'm not sure where you were...looking for your paddle probably...sorry mate)

Considering the inexperienced and relatively lightweight team we had, we did absolutely brilliantly. A special thanks to Tim and James - loving your work guys, and you're always welcome to race with us.

We move on to Bristol on Sunday 20th May. It would be great to get a strong team out to continue our good start to the season so, if you haven't let Liza know already, please confirm your availability.

Cheers

A Happy Chairman

Dan x


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