Category Archives: Racing News

Club Racing Successes

Durham Explore Series falls on Boat Race day

By fortunate coincidence round 2 of the Explore Series fell this year on the same day as the Boat Races. April 2nd dawned sunny and warm, the day after DARC’s Boat Race Ball. The discovery of an unexploded World War 2 bomb near Putney Bridge cast doubt over whether the Boat Races could go ahead, cancellation would have put paid to the planned party and screening of the races, but fears proved unfounded and all went according to plan.

This was the first sweep-oared round of the season, the format alternating between sweep-oar and sculling each month. An early start at 11am and a buoyed 250m course, modified from that of previous years to finish nearer the landing stage, along with some expert organisation, enabled the 38 scheduled races to be completed within a 4-hour window. Boating 4 crews at a time from the extended landing stage speeded up circulation and kept the volunteers and near record entry of 19 crews busy.

The Explore Series is a simple and exciting format where relative newcomers can experience some safe and close racing in stable coxed fours or quads, with an opportunity for visiting crews to enjoy different surroundings, meet old friends and make new ones. With Berwick and Gateshead making their first visit to the competition in Durham the standard of racing continues to impress. Honours in the Open league were shared between Hextraordinary representing Hexham and Barcing Mad from Berwick with 4 wins each, while in the Women’s competition there were 4 wins for A Shot in the Darc from Durham as well as for Wine on the Tyne from Tyne ARC and Gateshead Goldstars from Gateshead CRC.

A Shot in the Darc (Sue Lyons, Sonny Shepherd, Jane Auster, Kalpana Ganatra and Margaret Richardson, coxed by John Lyons) were delighted with their second successive maximum points haul enabling them to retain overall leadership of their league with 14 points. DARC’s Open crew Wear Well Away (Colin Lawson, Vaughan Gordon, Steve Auster, Chris Merchant and Dave Green) picked up 3 wins and there was a win apiece for Green Shoots (Zuzanna Zwirad, Paddy Deans, Linda James and Maureen Miller, coxed by Ken Gardner) and Out of Darcness (Louise Forster, Geoff Raw, Andrew Fisk and Stewart Allan, coxed by Gerry King and Dave Green). Hexham lead the Open competition also with a maximum 14 points after 2 rounds.

A tea of pork sandwiches and refreshments from the bar whet the appetite for those who hadn’t seen enough racing for the day who stayed to watch the screening of the Boat Races in the clubhouse, the Cambridge women and Oxford men taking victory.

Round 3 of the Explore Series is at Berwick on May 7th.

Schools Head of the River

Schools Head 2017 was certainly eventful, if nothing else; extreme winds and choppy conditions meant the race was shortened to about 1700m, finishing at the bandstand after Barnes Bridge. 3 crews were sent, and considering the conditions, coming back with 3 was a fairly impressive achievement. All crews performed extremely well in what was definitely the most challenging row that most of us can remember.

First to appear was the J17 quad, consisting of Harry Coe, Josh Stephenson, Matthew Skinner, and Matthew Edge, in their first outing on the Thames. Racing against mostly J18 crews, they were able to come 24th out of 42 entries, and setting a time of 5:47.0, which they’ll be happy to tell you is over 10 minutes faster than the previous course record, even though that record is for the full course (don’t remind them). Racing through some “absolutely massive” waves, some of which managed to make their way into the boat, made for good photos though.

Next was the J16 Girls Eight, consisting of Alex Roberts, Abby Burke, Alannah Baldwin, Georgia Murphy, Elise Goddard, Bethan Hall, Izzy Wilkinson, Katie Strangward, and cox Becky Jackson. With “veteran” Tideway cox Becky at the wheel, the J16s were able to set a good time of 6:32.6, only 30 seconds behind National Schools winners Latymer Upper School.

Finally, the J15s, consisting of Kate Henderson, Catherine Musgrave, Pardis Farakis, Millie McIntyre, Jess Cooper, Gabby Suggett, Mollie Coe, Honor Cessford, and cox Lily Sanderson. In their first race on the Thames, the J15s set a time of 6:38.7, only 1 second behind local-ish rivals Yarm School, and coming 17th in their event. Congratulations to all crews that went (for surviving, amongst other things) and hopefully next year we should see even better results, and get to row the full course!

(with thanks to Harry Coe for the report)

Successful day at Yorkshire Head

There were 5 wins for Durham ARC at the Yorkshire Head on Saturday March 11th, the Masters F eight taking the accolades in division 1, posting the 15th fastest time out of over 200 crews contesting the 2 divisions, and the 9th fastest time (17.28.9) after applying the masters age category handicap adjustment. Division 1 also saw wins for the J18 girls eight and the Mixed double of Kim Forster and David Muse.

A prestigious event hosted by York City Rowing Club the Head takes place over 5km on the River Ouse and attracts entries from across the Northern and Yorkshire regions as well as from further afield. It is the main source of income for the Yorkshire Rowing Council and is run by volunteers representing clubs from across the Yorkshire region.

In division 2 there were wins for the Women’s Masters D coxless quad of Gill Prescott, Helen McMillan, Eva Rankine and Hilary Cairns (Berwick ARC), and for Andy Jaggard in the Masters G single sculls.

Other DARC competitors included the J18 4x-, Women’s Senior 8+, Women’s Masters D 4+, Women’s Masters G 1x, Women’s Masters D 8+, J16 2x, J17 2x and Senior 1x.

The event was one of the first to be staged under the new British Rowing Competition Framework, using the revised Online Entry system being phased in this year. Under the new framework competitors entering in the Senior band are grouped in accordance with accumulated Ranking Index points to enable grouping into categories such as Senior, Intermediate and Beginner to ensure fairer competition. In a head race Ranking Index points are accumulated according to the number of crews beaten. Juniors and Masters continue to compete in age group categories.

Race documents including final results are on the Yorkshire Rowing website. Professional photographs are available from Richard Sharpe.

All to play for on the Tideway

The 2017 Tideway Heads season gets underway with the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race on March 11th and culminates with the Cancer Research UK Boat Races between Oxford and Cambridge Universities on April 2nd, all taking place over the same reach of the River Thames between Mortlake and Putney.

The Women’s Eights Head of the River Race (WEHoRR) founded in the 1930s with 5 crews participating has now become the largest women’s rowing race in the world with around 2,880 women racing and 320 crews taking part. It is the only race in the UK where novices can compete in the same race as Olympic champions and, as such, attracts a wide range of rowers from clubs and universities. The 2017 race is on Saturday 11th March at 3:30 pm.

The Schools’ Head of the River Race (SHORR) is the UK’s largest school-age processional head rowing race and is organised by Westminster School for crews aged between 14 and 18 years old. A significant aim of the Schools Head is to promote rowing in schools and school Boat Clubs. The 2017 race is on Thursday 23rd March at 1:30 pm.

The Head of the River Race (HoRR) was founded by Steve Fairbairn in 1926.  It is rowed annually in March from Mortlake to Putney on the Tideway in London. Over 400 crews of eights take part, making it one of the highest participation events in London. It is the most prestigious men’s head race in the UK and the classic end of the winter training season. The 2017 race is on Saturday 25th March at 2:15 pm.

The special thing about the Veterans Head is that the direction in which the event is raced changes from year to year, dependent on the time of the tides: some years it is raced from Mortlake to Putney other years it will go the other way. It is open to veteran eights (also known as masters), who race in categories determined by the average ages of the eight rowers. The 2017 race is on Sunday 26th March at 11:00 am.

Rowperfect offers several resources for crews steering the Tideway.

DARC is celebrating the Boat Races with the annual Boat Race Ball on April 1st (7pm in the clubhouse) with tickets at £20 including a 3 course meal, live band and dancing. Then on April 2nd there will be a Boat Race Party at 3pm to coincide with the Durham round of the Explore Series. Tickets for the party are £5 and include sandwiches, coleslaw and roast potatoes with live TV coverage in the main hall of the women’s race at 4.35pm and men’s race at 5.35pm. The bar will be open.

Winning start for A Shot in the Darc in Explore Series

The 6th year of the Northern Explore Series got off to a rather uncertain start at Hexham on Sunday March 5th, the previous day’s rising water level on the Tyne causing some concern. After 2 safety inspections and a hastily prepared contingency plan of moving to another venue the go-ahead was finally given by the Hexham safety advisor on Sunday morning, much to the relief of the 17 teams taking part.

The sun shone and rowers from 8 clubs convened on Tyne Green, with Gateshead Community Rowing Club making their first sortie. After welcoming new and old to the fray racing commenced at noon over a 250m course with novice crews sharing four stable quads, two provided by Talkin Tarn and two by the host club. Progress was hampered by the difficult boating conditions, meaning that the number of races was reduced to 3 each as opposed to the more usual 4, to meet the stipulated 4pm finish time.

As a result of the first of the 8 scheduled rounds all is still to play for. Four teams head the league table in the Open category, Hexham, Tyne ARC, Tyne United and Tynemouth winning all their races to lead on 6 points. Clear leaders with 6 points in the Women’s category are ‘A Shot in the Darc’ (Jane Auster, Sonny Shepherd, Kalpana Ganatra, Sue Lyons and Margaret Richardson) from Durham ARC, closely followed by teams from Hexham, Talkin Tarn and Tyne ARC on 5.

Cakes and bacon sandwiches were consumed in quantity, raffle prizes collected and everyone, winners and losers alike, went home happy. The format has much to its credit not least that it doesn’t rely on the deployment of boat trailers from far and wide. The event is open to new rowers, recreational rowers, returning rowers and retired racers. For more on the format see Northern Rowing website. 

The next round takes at Durham on April 2nd (the day of the University Boat Races) with the Explore Series races starting at 11am. To mark the occasion DARC is holding a Boat Race Party from 3pm to which all are invited. Refreshments comprising sandwiches, coleslaw and roast potatoes will be provided at a cost of £5 with live TV coverage of the Boat Races in the main hall, the women’s race starting at 4.35pm and the men’s at 5.35pm. The bar will be open and there will be a sweepstake at £1 per guess to predict the winning time.

Head of the Trent

With the Tideway Heads season fast approaching there was a good win for Durham’s Masters F Eight at the Head of the Trent in Nottingham on February 26th. The crew was 4th finisher of the 13 masters 8+s entered in division 3 over a 6km course shortened due to windy conditions. Taking into account masters adjustments the DARC eight recorded the fastest time of all 65 entries in the division, posting 10.49.3 and beating all the masters B, C, D and E 8+s as well as junior and intermediate crews.  

List of results

Junior Inter Regional Trials

Despite very challenging conditions it was a successful day for the juniors on Saturday at the Junior Inter-Regional Trials at Cambois RC, with wins for the WJ16 8+, WJ15 4+, WJ15 4x+, and WJ14 4x+. Every girl from the club who raced was in a winning crew.

Results of the trials determine crew selections to represent the Northern Region at the Junior Inter Regional Regatta (JIRR) at Nottingham on April 22nd.

For the boys, Sam Taylor, racing in the J16 1x is likely to be selected for the regional composite 8+, while the less experienced J15 and J14 boys also were competitive in their respective events.

The JIRR is open to junior boys and girls in age groups J14 (1x, 2x and 4x+), J15 (1x, 2x, 4x+ and 4+) and J16 (1x, 2x, 4x-, 4+/- and 8+) representing the 12 British Rowing regions. Racing takes place on the multi-lane course at the National Watersports Centre at Holme Pierrepont.

List of results from Cambois on Saturday and photos by Al Johnston starting here.

Durham Small Boats Head 2017

Durham Small Boats Head took place on February 4th 2017 in calm conditions with spells of winter sunshine, the rising river level after overnight rain making the afternoon divisions more challenging. A busy day ensued with a full entry in all 4 divisions and 370 crews and scullers completing the course, with no reported incidents.

St Leonards was the overall winner of the head with their J18 coxless quad clocking 6.06.7 for the 1800m course.

Durham ARC’s senior women’s Elite coxless quad was the fastest women’s crew. Aidan Rushforth was the fastest single sculler for St Leonards, 0.1 sec ahead of Talkin Tarn. St Leonards also taking the fastest double sculls award. Gill Prescott and Eva Rankin won the fastest women’s double sculls award for Durham ARC.

Durham ARC was the most successful club with wins in 17 events spread across the board, the Junior girls winning WJ15 quad and four, women’s J15 double and women’s J14 quad, Seniors claiming 6 wins (IM2 coxless quad, Elite coxless four, women’s Elite coxless quad, women’s IM2 double, women’s IM2 single sculls and women’s Novice coxed quad), and Masters winning 7 events (Masters C and E coxless quads, E coxed four, G double and single sculls, women’s masters E double and women’s masters F single sculls).

George Heriots School and Chester-le-Street were well represented with 7 wins each, Heriots taking the fastest women’s pair and Chester-le-Street having the fastest women’s single sculler as well as providing both joint winners of the Elite pair. Hatfield was the most successful College with 3 wins including the IM3 coxed four. Durham School won the Novice coxed four and Collingwood College the women’s novice four.

The overall results are on DARC website (and XLS), list of Durham ARC wins here and photos here.

Victory for Roger in German Masters

Roger Stainforth continued his good form winning the 70-74 Heavyweight category gold medal at the Deutsche Rudern Meisterschaft (German Masters Indoor Rowing Championships) in Essen on Sunday January 29th in a time of 3.24.9 for 1000m, the fastest recorded by a GB athlete in the age group on the Concept2 records for 2017, a very encouraging performance as Roger also beat competitors in the older and younger age groups who were previously faster than him.

Veteran Fours and Scullers Heads

DARC had Masters representatives in two of the Head of the River races taking place on the Tideway during November. These are staged on the Championship course on the Thames between Mortlake and Putney.

On November 13th Gill Prescott and Helen McMillan entered the Veteran Fours Head as a Masters D composite coxless quad with Upper Thames and Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha and finished 2nd out of 13 in their category in 19m 29s.

John Appleby finished 4th in the Masters G category in the Scullers Head on November 26th in an adjusted time of 22m 23.26s out of a total of nearly 500 competitors