Henley Race Report 2012

Posted by Graham Everitt | July 1, 2012

Still high off the back of their win at Marlow, Broxbourne A eagerly awaited the draw on Saturday for news of who they would face on Wednesday.



The B crew had unfortunately not made it through qualifiers on Friday despite a strong row into an even stronger head wind. They were just half a second off the fastest non-qualifier, so can consider themselves unlucky not to qualify in what was a very tough year to compete for the Wyfold Challenge Cup.



When Mike Sweeney announced the draw at just gone 3pm on Saturday afternoon, Broxbourne’s name was called out alongside that of Tyrian. The Tyrian crew (University of London’s alumni club) had been racing at elite status at Marlow, so the four were left feeling a little in the dark over how the race would pan out.



However, the Stewards had decided to seed just 4 crews, and the opposition that made up the rest of Broxbourne’s quarter of the draw didn’t contain any entries of frightening pace. Good, close racing was in the offing, with the carrot of a row in the semi-finals on Saturday if Broxbourne could make the most of it.



Wednesday evening arrived, and the Broxbourne crew paddled up to the start conscious of a very strong headwind and stream. These weren’t exactly ideal conditions for a crew who are giving away over 2 stone a man to their opposition. The Broxbourne crew could take comfort, though, in the fact that they had drawn the favoured Berkshire station which runs through a marginally weaker part of the stream at the start and finish of the race.



The umpire started the race with a wave of the flag from the launch, and Ridler’s aggression led his crew out to a length lead by the end of the island where they were still striking 43. Tyrian responded, and the Broxbourne crew’s first push as they passed the barrier was unfortunately timed with a strong gust of wind. The push failed to snap the chain and break contact. Broxbourne dropped the rate to a steady 37 as they tried to work a longer rhythm into the head wind.



The Tyrian crew were now in their element, and they began to erode the Broxbourne lead through the middle kilometre. Lung burning, lactic induced agony ensued, and as both crews entered the enclosures, Tyrian had just over a length lead and were being warned for their steering. Broxbourne raised their rate of striking to 39 in a desperate attempt to get their noses back in front, but were unable to find the necessary speed to turn them over.



While the crew were disappointed not to have won and progressed further through the competition, they felt that they’d emptied the tanks and had nothing more to give. Unfortunately the Tyrian crew were then disqualified the next day for causing a clash at the start, so the Broxbourne crew didn’t have the opportunity to mark their comparative speed.



The pivotal moment had been where Broxbourne failed to break away and take clear water at the first push as they passed the barrier. Had conditions been more suited to lightweights the result may have been different, but now the crew returns to training to face up to the tough challenge on delivering an even better season’s results next year.



Support from the rest of the club was greatly appreciated by the crew on the day and in the build up. In particular the words from President Mould the day before were greatly appreciated, as were the only slightly slurred shouts from what seemed to be most of the master’s squad hanging off the side of a cruiser during the warm up.

Designed and developed by Penny Churchill
Powered by Wordpress