LRC Race Report: Hexham Regatta 2018
By Lakeland Rowing Club, Jun 3 2018 12:07AM
It was an excellent start to the day, with the weather proving to be much nicer than expected. The relatively late start for the first Lakeland race of the day meant we didn't need to set off with the trailer until 7 am - almost a lie in when it comes to race days!
First up, for the day's racing were the mixed double of Fiona Grove & James Waterfield. There was a bit of nervousness going into the race with this being the first real test of the pairing in race conditions, with the added pressure of racing in the senior category against a much younger crew (their average age being around twice that of the competition). This didn't distract the duo, however, and after a strong start, Lakeland fought the younger University of Northumbria crew down the length of the course and made them work hard for their victory. While LRC may not have beaten UofN on this occasion, it was undoubtedly a positive sign of things to come from this novice pairing at future events.
For the second race of the day, we had the highly tuned athletes of Nick Cowen & Sam Ayers in the Masters Mixed double - D/E (MasMx2xD/C). It was a straight final against a familiar crew from Abingdon Rowing Club. With the two teams having met the previous weekend at a national regatta in Nottingham, so there was a little extra rivalry to help egg the Lakeland crew on. The Abingdon crew had a younger average age (C) and as such got a 6-second head start on Lakeland. Although Lakeland put up a good fight and ware definitely closing the gap, the 6second handicap proved just a little too much for the 700m distance. Although disappointed with the result, the Lakeland crew kept their heads up and are looking onwards to the National Master championship in few weeks time.
That completed division 1, although there were still two more divisions to go.
Division 2 saw three Master singles entered & two women's master doubles. The singles included one in the A category, one in the F category and one in the E category.
First up we had club development officer David Thomas in the masters F single. Although he gave it his all, he didn't quite manage to pip the competition to the post. So far no big results to report.
Well, Nick Cowan, fresh from his excellent performance in division 1 changed all that by storming down the course and flying right through his heat into the MasE1x final later in the division. (More on that later)
Next up we had the (relatively) young gun James Waterfield in the MasA1x, which was another straight final. After a strong start, James managed to creep ahead and maintain it all the way to the finish to bring the first Lakeland medal win of the day. And a mere two minutes later, Nick Cowan was cruising down the course in his final to make it two medals won for Lakeland!
Next up, after the winning streak the boys had started, were Sam Ayers & Julia McCumiskey in the WMasA/C 2x. With two previous wins for LRC, there was some added pressure, but the ladies rose to the occasion and flew down the course, comfortably taking the win and taking home more silverware.
Unfortunately, this is where the winning streak ends, but it's not just about the winning. Case in point being the next race of Celia Whittam & Lisa Waistell in the WMasD2x. There were quite a lot of nerves before the race, especially from Lisa, since this was not only her first double race in this crew combination, but it was also the first time she had ever been to a regatta event. These factors, coupled with a race against some highly experienced competition, meant it could have been all too easy for the Lakeland double to psych themselves out, but they didn't. Both Celia & Lisa, performed well in their first race event together, and managed to complete their race with grace & style (even if there were one or two hairy moments along the way)!
It had already been a long and exciting day of racing, but we still had division 3 to go! Division 3 was lighter on races, with only the two events for Lakeland. A Masters Double and a Masters mixed quad.
First up were the two David's (David Pratt & David Thomas) in the Mas2x. Again, this was another first time racing combo of the Davids, but the duo held their own. After a challenging start to the race, they put up a good fight and got into their stride. Sadly they couldn't quite hold onto the competition, and the opposition beat them to the finish line. Although not a win, still an impressive performance from a green pairing.
Last race of the day was the Mixed masters quad of James Waterfield, Sam Ayres, Julia McCumiskey & Nick Cowan. Having all medalled in their previous competitions the pressure was on a little; however, the crew was facing a whopping 12 seconds handicap, so they were always going to have a massive challenge on their hands! The Lakeland crew got off to a solid start and made some tremendous speed down the course, but alas it just wasn't quite enough to take the opposition, who managed to pip them to the post, winning the race by a mere three strokes (around 2 seconds) in the end.
Racing finished, the boats loaded and trailer packed, it was time to head home, Hexham Regatta done, but not quite finished for the day just yet.
After a quick unload back at base and some "interesting" manoeuvres to get the trailer turned around on site, we finally put the Lakeland trailer to bed at 10 pm, a mere 15 hours from when we set off!
All in all, a long, hard-raced day with victories all around: whether those involved medals, personal firsts or individual achievements, a great day out was had by all and another excellent result for Lakeland as a whole.
Our thanks and congratulations to Hexham RC for such a well-organised event and a great day of racing.
Now time for a well-earned beer....or 5!
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