Race Report

London Regatta Centre
31 August 2014

We arrived in London with the rather unusual scenario (at this venue) of the sun being out and the wind not blowing a hoolie…..for a change, a minimum of fuss unloading the boats and getting them dressed meant that all was relatively calm in preparation for our heat. There was even time for the odd bacon sandwich and hot dog to be chozzed (for fuelling purposes only, of course).

Secklow raced in the penultimate 200m heat against Cole Norton, Notts Anaconda and Hurricane Tigers. We had a solid start and kept up with the mighty Anaconda boat over the first half of the race but our now infamous 40-second rule came into force (we’re great for 40 seconds, and then things start to get a bit messy), and we dropped off their bow. In a race for second with Cole Norton, we were pipped by half a second and finished third in 54.98.

As the wind started to get interesting (particularly, it seemed, whenever we took to the water) race times became difficult to judge. The wind speed was always against the competitors but was very inconsistent, making a difference of up to 4 seconds to race times.

In our repechage race against St Neots Dragon Boat Club and LRC Dragons, it was a case of win or bust….winners into the semi finals, losers into the tail races. Secklow pulled our best 200m race out of the day out of the bag to win in 56.69.

The semi finals and final were tough – for both races we ended up in lane 4, the hardest lane and the most exposed (and you don’t want us exposing ourselves). We were some way off the pace of the other crews in both races, finishing 12th overall.

The girls teamed up with Cambridgeshire Royals to compete in the ladies’ race at lunchtime. After a great start in an exciting 6-boat race, the “Secklow Royals” (which was a better choice of team name than the alternative “Cambridgeshire Hundred”, which sounds like a crime syndicate) were narrowly beaten into fifth place in an extremely close finish.

The afternoon = 500 time. In our heat against the two strong Tao boats we had what can only be described as a flabby start (too much sausage-shaped fuel taken on at lunch, perhaps) and finished third. The rep was a repeat of the morning’s winner-takes-all scenario against LRC and St Neots. Again the boys and girls in maroon triumphed, with a well-controlled race, to take us into the Cup semi finals.

With virtually no break between races, bodies were starting to creak. A tough semi final resulted in a fourth place finish and we were into the Cup Tail Race against Tao Too, BA Hurricanes and Henley. We produced our best 500m performance of the day of 2:26, knocking 3 seconds off our previous times. In a brilliantrace where all four teams were less than a second apart, we finished second to Tao, and an overall tenth place finish.

It was a fantastic effort by a relatively inexperienced team, with virtually no respite between races. We now have three weeks of training time to prepare for the National Finals. Let’s have some good numbers attending so that we can get some quality sessions in. We have some Major Finals to smash our way into……


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