Race Report

Exeter
18 July 2015

~~As the majority of us drifted into Devon on Friday evening, with rain threatening and Sunday looking like a complete washout, the idea of camping seemed like a stroke of anti-genius. For those at Kennford, after a night becoming overly familiar with exactly what industrial road-sweepers sound like…..we maybe weren’t in the best shape for smashing a race event.



A brilliant showing of 29 maroon paddlers, however, gave our Captain a nice problem to have with crew rotation. Numerous people offered to “take a break” whilst casually eyeing up the Waterfront bar nearby…..



Size isn’t everything (apparently) but we probably had the heaviest boat of the day in every race, even with Batty doing her best to singlehandedly balance the equation. The specific 200m race times are now a distant memory, but we did a reasonable time trial; a solid heat against Pershore (I think it was…..for some reason…..probably vaguely related to a beer or two across the weekend…..things are a little hazy) and then we were up against the mighty Worcester for a place in the top four. We were in lane 1, which gave us a decent shout of coming through strongly at the finish. Unfortunately we had a couple of wobbles, listing right (which is unusual, as most events this year have resulted in us being left-heavy) and throwing a number of paddlers off their stroke (and the club chairman into a mild panic as River Exe waves lapped over his nicely-pressed and previously-dry shorts). Despite all this, it was a great effort by the crew to finish half a second behind the Worcester crowd in our fastest 200m performance of the day (55.8 or thereabouts).



This placed us in a 5th/6th race-off against Henley. We had the slightly less favourable lane 2 but were still confident. It was nip and tuck, but another couple of righty-wobbles (a technical term and not in any way related to physical firmness) resulted in us losing to the posh Thames-dwellers by 0.3s. It’s a good job we like them, otherwise it could have been tantrum-time…..



6th place, and being beaten only by Worcester and Henley, is certainly not a performance to be ashamed of. It is massively promising that so many of us were a little bit disappointed with the result.



On to the 1300/1500/2300 (or whatever distance it turned out to be, which I think was about 1.5k). Chasing Raging Dragons and being pursued by Henley, to be honest we smashed it with Jill on drum and Em on helm both motivating and controlling us perfectly. It was long, strong, and perfectly formed…..so the end result of tenth was both surprising and, frankly, complete bullsh!t.



It was a great day’s racing and overall a fantastic weekend. A further report on the Saturday evening campsite games (beer-pong, twister and all) and Sunday’s beach activities will follow……Top Gun was recreated in a style probably never seen before. And an attack of killer jellyfish threatened, just to add to the excitement…..



 



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