A week after Wallingford, the top end of the men’s squad travelled to Ghent for the annual British showdown (which could easily be done in the UK).
The same 8 that raced at Wallingford (and 8 of 9 of the crew that won the Vernon at the Head), showed that the Head was no fluke. In the heat we finished 1 second off OBU’s Temple 8 (4th at the Head) and clocked 5:43. In the final, a great race ensued between Leander, Brookes and TRC. At the half way mark we were a length down on Leander and half a length down on OBU, but a strong second half saw us draw level with Brookes, and just over 1/2 a length down on Leander by the line. A 15′ wait for the photo finish gave the verdict to Brookes by about a foot. In the process we shattered last year’s club record to clock a 5:39.8.
On Sunday the 8 was only 4 seconds off Leander in the heat, despite rating only 34 and with a silent cox. The magic wasn’t quite found for the final (for reasons that are known but will remain secret!) and we finished 4th in 5:50. Brookes and LC had another scorching race out in front. All told a very positive and useful weekend for the 8.
The remainder of the 2nd 8 competed in a coxed four and pairs, with Tom Harvey in his single again.
The coxed four tried different combos both days and, in a very aged shell, were about 2 lengths off the pace of the lead domestic Brit crews but showed some promising raw speed. The pairs on the Sunday involved getting straight out of one boat and into the other! Henry and Charles just failed to make the final, but Harry and Nick did. In a great race they manged to overhaul Scullers and just failed to catch the Quintin duo who won the Bronze. Not bad for a maiden voyage.
Brad, along with the Quintin duo and Al Webb of MBC, won a bronze in the 4- on Sunday in a tough field of OBU and TSS.
A slightly frustrating weekend for the 4 but with plenty of promise underlying it.