Race Report

28 June 2014

Thank you to all of Secklow for your collective efforts to provide another cracking race day event for the dragon boating community. Thanks in particular to Em, and her support team of small helpers, for her superb catering. I sampled many, many of the fantastic treats (and am pleased to say that, when I tried to avoid paying, I was firmly put in my place by the aforementioned pint-sized assistants…..no penny was left unclaimed……!)

The other contributors are too numerous to mention specifically (and there is a risk that I will miss someone out if I try) but you know who you are, and I hope that you know that your work is appreciated.

So, to the most important element of the day yesterday. The weather. So……who wasn’t doing their goddam sun-dance properly….?? The way that I saw Redmond doing the hip rotation during warm up, I have my suspicions….. 

I have never bailed out of a race day before but, at about 2pm yesterday when the Secks Appeal team was paddling to the 500m start in apocalyptic rain (and, I’m sure, a lightning flash that the BDA either didn’t see or ignored), I was seriously considering telling the officials that we were taking our bat and ball home and, if they wanted to continue with their stupid competition, they should find another great-looking team to finish the hosting. They would struggle with that latter challenge, I suspect. However……..Redmond obviously got his hip action to a point where it was a little more acceptable to the big man in control of the giant watering can: the rain stopped, and we even saw a little bit of sun.

I’ve waffled on for far too long. Let’s talk racing. I am writing this report with the contribution and input of Caz, as race day Captain. I also acknowledge to the older club members that I lied when I said that Secklow had never had two crews out before…..Sandra corrected me on the point later, after several orange juices in the Caldecotte Arms. Apparently that has happened previously (way before my time, so technically speaking it wasn’t a lie…..it was ignorance); we have taken two teams to Finals once before.

I almost talked about racing then. Ok, let’s do it. Both the Secklow Hundred and Secks Appeal teams had a somewhat ropey start in the 200s. Clearly the starter thought “those people are just too good looking……it isn’t fair on the other crews……I shall make sure that I get them paddling backwards when I shout: Attention…..Go!”

Maroon envy is an unpleasant thing. Anyway, we both ended up in the reps which set us up nicely for a long, hard day of racing. I won’t go into chapter and verse on each individual race……or the report will end up longer than the unedited version of War and Peace…..but the Secklow Hundred boat had some great clashes with Pershore, Cole-Conda (Cole Norton and Anaconda Challengers) and Execalibre particularly. Some we won, some we didn’t, but there were some fantastically close races. Sadly, the finals were the ones where we were just edged out. Some areas to work on, for sure. I think that the main problem was that the boat didn’t have its usual hirsute stroke-pusher in seat 3…..

The Secks Appeal team performed admirably, considering that we had several last minute pull-outs and no-shows. This resulted in calling in family favours (a massive thank you to Yasmin and Jess) and a few delightful pom-pom-wielding Cambridgeshire Royals to jump in the boat and paddle, meaning that the team could race the day with 18 paddlers. Secks Appeal was a popular team name for a popular team, and had some good tussles with Crusaders until stamina and race nous told, and Typhoon Scratch (couldn’t they have come up with a more imaginative team name….? Pull yourselves together…..shoehorn a euphemism in there somewhere…..)

I didn’t have a chance to write down any of the race times but my recollection of the big 500m times: Secklow Hundred 2:09, Secks Appeal 2:22. As a comparison, the winners Amathus were circa 2:02. So I think that performance was not too shabby at all. As usual, there were simply lots of teams that were very strong at our event. We shall have to be creative about how we set the rules up for next year in our favour……as you would imagine, I have some ideas……

Anyway, we walked away with a trophy! Congratulations to Secks Appeal for 2nd placed Scratch Crew in the 500m (and 1st placed scratch crew in the 200m – unfortunately the BDA chose to award the trophies on 500m win)

It was extremely disappointing that the ladies’ (and U23) races were the ones that were sacrificed during the heavy weather……sorry girls, but you’ll have to showcase your talents at the next opportunity.

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