With 1000 crews entered and racing scheduled from first thing on Saturday morning through to 6:30pm on Monday evening, the mad, chaotic and highly entertaining beast that is the BUSA regatta, kicked off over the bank holiday weekend for possibly its last ever appearance at Holme Pierrepont.
The regatta, which primarily aims to provide good, inclusive racing for all-comers whilst discouraging an overtly anal application of ARA rules, has finally got to the stage where most aspects (weather permitting) are bedded in and run smoothly – ironic then that the unsecured future of the National Water Sports Centre from 2009, combined with a 2008 booking for the course for the usual BUSA weekend for Olympic trails, by the British Canoe Union has left organisers searching for an alternative venue.
With Dorney an obvious no-go, the only options available are Strathclyde, Cardiff, or somewhere in Europe... none of which are likely to be that popular with the masses. University clubs will be asked to vote on the options soon, but the scope and format of the regatta may well have to alter accordingly and it's already been suggested that the Sprints part should be run separately.
The 2007 regatta demonstrated all the usual highs and lows associated with BUSA. Withdrawals, collapsed heats and straight finals in some events tempered the top level racing on show in others, but overall it did what it said on the tin despite problems with the weather on Sunday and Monday.
The wind made things interesting on Sunday, but it was towards the end of play on Monday when things got really nasty just as the lwt singles and novice fours finals were about to start. The remaining finals, including the junior and champ eights, were each followed down the course by multiple umpire's launches and safety boats, and although it looked more like survivial rowing than racing at points, all finals did eventually happen.
Other points of note:
- Battle of the nasty, nasty kit: - Just when the slug was thinking that Newcastle should be flogged for sporting grubby white lycra leggings with a 'fetching blue star' near the crotch area, the Imperial college "Buck Rogers in the 25th Centuary" metallic silver version scarred our eyeballs for life... WHY? please someone, tell me WHY? (did they not learn from the camouflage lycra episode?).
- The entertainment value of the concept 2 Fresher's challenge was somewhat enhanced with the news that Durham had scored a bit of an own goal by completely omitting to enter the sprints event (despite last minute prompts from the organisers), and therefore ensured that they wouldn't be taking home a brand new eight... a rather expensive admin mistake?
- The ever-lovely Mr Adam Freeman-Pask (apparently named one of For-Him-Magazine's top 50 eligible batchelors don'ch'know) and his day-glo orange hat sculled and rowed their way to numerous medals for IC much to the amusement of the extended commentary team.
- Brookes coach and blue-eyed Scotsman, Peter Haining, who's daughter Lizzie was competeing for Birmingham, spent most of Sunday night in hospital in Nottingham with a fractured wrist after colliding with another cyclist at the course, He was also spotted wearing leather trousers under his waterproofs, but we won't go into that any further...
- Following the weather related farce of the 2007 Henley races, The Oxford and Cambridge women's blue boats turned up at Nottingham to race each other over 2K in Champ eights. When they finally came face to face in the final (with added extra shit weather), the light blues proved the Henley result had been the right one winning a tough race having lead from the start.
- The Sprints had to be momentarily delayed on Sunday to allow for excessive wash to die down after one Mr David J Chick, performed an outstanding back flip and double Pike off the boating pontoon whilst doing control commission, and ended up swimming in the lake.
The resultant piss-taking from the other umpires is expected to last for at least five years (if John Friend's dive off the stakeboats at Nat Schools is anything to go by), and true to form things got off to a good start on Monday with water pistols, swimming badges and lifesaver rings round the steering wheel of his launch.
You may have missed this once in a lifetime event, but you can still buy the commemorative T-shirt at
Pics to follow.
Results on the Rowing Service
|QUESTIONS IN THE HOUSE?|
The much heralded ARA trip to Parliament took place last week. Unfortunately - and to be fair, it was pure bad luck - they had a bit of a duff week with many Members being away for the elections. Though, despite this small spaner in the works, they still managed to get into the Guardian and got some fairly big names to take part (e.g. the Minister of Sport).
But, even so, a few facts and figures:
As to whether it was all a worthwhile use of SportEngland funding and CDO time?
- total time stall manned: 24 hours
- staff present: normally around 5
- equiv staff cost (inclding travelling time etc): £4000
- equipment cost: 2 new plasma screens (although they will be reused), 3 new ergs borrowed from schools
- Total number of people recorded as participating: around 80 - and most of those were policemen and doorkeepers, rather than Parliamentarians.
|BALLARAT STAYS DRY|
A while ago we posted some photos that displayed the poor state of Lake Wendouree in Ballarat, site of the 1956 Olympic rowing regatta.
Alas, the condition has not improved and the lake is still completely dry. This, however, has not dampened the spirits of the many schools and clubs that are based there! Rowers have been training in other locations in the area, despite the difficulties of organising camps and buses everywhere, and many school crews performed well in various regattas.
Attached is a this picture of the Ballarat Grammar School boys crew, in their formal end of season photograph on the lake (or lake bed!).
|MARATHON ROWERS (now with extra added charidee)|
Well done to all rowers and coxn's who successfully completed the London marathon on Sunday - if you or someone you row with did it, mail me the runner's name, rowing club and time and I'll do a list like last year (first few for 07 below).
Name Rowing Club Time (hr:min.sec) Rob Holliday Ardingly RC 2:29 (wheelchair marathon) James Waite London RC 2:57.23 Chris Morris CUBC, Jesus College (Cambridge) 3:06.58 Rad Hart George Thames RC 3:10.04 Jack Arnold Aberdeen University Boat Club 3:28.12 James Silk Thames RC and Rob Roy 3:31.41 Phil Harfield Tideway Scullers, ARA bod 3:32.56 Sheena Jack Victoria Bridge, Aberdeen (Robert Gordons University Alumni) 3:45.34 Tariq Hussain Marlow RC 3:49 Rich Dewire Black Prince 4:10.32 Sarah Dwyer RUMS BC 4:24.35 Amanda Skailes Globe RC 4:29 Louise Engel Thames RC 4:35.34 Claire Waterworth AK 4:58 Katy Young Bedford, Star, ULBC & Agecroft 5:39 Paul Cox Marlow RC (ex-captain) 5:47
|IS THERE A DENTIST IN THE HOUSE?|
Much mirth among the spectators, I hear, at Strathclyde Park Regatta last weekend, as Jonny Stevenson of Glasgow Rowing Club, racing in lightweight men’s pairs, caught the most spectacular crab while passing the mid-course commentary position.
With typical absence of sympathy for the competitor’s plight, the commentator gleefully noted that
"his blade handle would have gone right over his head if his jaw hadn’t got in the way..."
Bet that loosened a few fillings!
There was a packed race schedule in Nottingham on Saturday as the 2007 Junior Inter Regional regatta got underway at Holme Pierrepont, with most of the twelve regions sending a complete team to the regatta.
Racing started at 8.30am and ran through to 6pm without a break to accommodate the introduction of men and women’s J16 eights which brought the total number of events up to 25.
The weather wasn’t quite as good as forecast, and as the day went on the strengthening head wind made things difficult at the start However, despite the conditions, the last race started a mere 15secs late.
The eights races made for an exciting end to the day, with Abingdon School putting in a strong performance in the men’s A final, pulling away from the rest of the field to secure a comfortable win for Thames upriver. With another 5 golds, 6 silvers and 4 bronzes under their belt, the Thames Upriver team won the Victor Ludorum but not quite as easily as they have done in previous years, as their lead was threatened by a strong team from North West, who came in second and won the boys events overall.
There was a dead heat in the WJ16 4- final, and as no amount of pouring over the finish photo could separate first and second, both Eastern (Dame Alice Harpur) and Thames Downriver (KGS) got gold medals.
As well as some good racing on show, the crowds were entertained by the Canford J14 4x+ representing Wessex who did a full triathlon during their heat: warm up run, row to the start the right way up, followed by an upside-down row!
Although a bit soggy (can someone please tell me how they managed to flip a quad?), they recovered from their exploits enough to race in the B final.
Finally, a digital camera was found in the boating area after the regatta finished. If you think it is yours, please contact Chris Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org, tellling him the make of camera and who the pictures are of, and he will return it direct to the owner.
Full results and points breakdown can be seen at www.JIRR.org
|CREW WINS RACE|
Friday’s veterans’ boat race was the dummy run for the ITV cameras, so as well as making them race all the way to Furnivall, the crews then had to continue to the finish of the championship course before being allowed to return to Putney (cue much grumbling). Cambridge won by a country mile and this result added to the light blue spare pair win, meant that as of Saturday morning the tally was Oxford 4, Cambridge 3, with two to go.
The gorgeous spring weather made the previous week’s HORR conditions feel like a horrible dream, and with the race back on a Saturday where it belongs, there were plenty of crowds and a good atmosphere down at Puntey – ‘enhanced’ by the pre-race commentary coming out of Crabtree (where do they get them from, eh Potts?).
Before the race, I asked Peter Drury the ITV race commentator if ITV were putting in a time delay on the sound this year, he laughed nervously "no, we’re live".
Both coxes seemed quite well behaved on that front as well as the steering and although the umpires were kept busy flag waving during both races, there was no clashing and instructions were followed. As for Seb Pearce, he was happily doing his duty with the finish flag.
Overall the tone of the day was definitely light blue, with Goldie and the Cambridge blue boat winning in surprisingly similar times.
Ante Kusurin, the Oxford stroke, said last week that he wanted to "make Cambridge hurt" – and he looked to have succeeded when the crews came through Hammersmith with the dark blues 3/4 length up, however in the end it was Oxford who started hurting first.
Cambridge, with an extra foot of cover started to creep back as the Oxford four man, Magnus Flemming, started to show signs of exhaustion, his catch going in half a blade late. With the door now opening, Rebecca urged her crew through and upping the rate they crossed the line one and a quarter lengths ahead.
Oxford, obviously spent after giving their all, ended up drifting through the Surrey arch of Chiswick bridge. It’s never a nice race to lose whatever the circumstances, but credit where credit is due, and the dark blues put in one hell of a performance.
Back on the bank the champagne was flowing and there was a feeling of relief from the Cambridge camp. Tom James, finally winning one as president after 3 previous attempts, made it clear just how close it had been, claiming that he was only sure they had won it in the last thirty strokes.
There was a strong military presence around Ibis lane, as the Royal Marine Reserves were drafted in to protect the crews, media and VIP guests at the finish of the boat race. Rumour has it that threats had been received by animal rights activists but on the day HM forces did a great job controlling access and smothering everyone going in and out with Royal Marine Commando stickers.
Finally, kudos to the winning Cambridge blue boat, who took the trophy into the Quintin bar after the race to show it off in a real rowing club. Quintin salutes you (even though their kit is about to turn back to Oxford blue).
Snapper Ron has been busy updating the Committee of the Dee website at cofd.co.uk with photographs of the Universities' Boat Race (no, not that one, the one that took place in Aberdeen last month).
Of more general interest, he has also posted a lot of shots from last Saturday’s Tideway HOTBOR (Head of the Bottom of the River). These include a series of shots of the lightweight pink-sock crew struggling to get through Hammersmith.
At one point, you can see the stroke man stop rowing to (very sensibly) loosen his feet in anticipation of going down stern-first.
|THE WHEELS ON THE BUS|
Saturday morning and Cambridge coach Duncan Holland pops into a local barber’s in Putney to get a quick trim and shave so he’s looking sharp for the press.
While his locks are being cut, the barber starts the usual chatter and asks him if he’s in London on holiday
"no, I’m working" replies Duncan
"oh, what are you doing” asks the hairdresser
"I’m at the boatrace, I’m the Cambridge coach" he responds
"ohh… how long did it take you to drive your coach here then?"
|ALL RIVERS LEAD TO...|
Overheard at the Women's Boat Race in Henley last weekend:
American Oxford student to friends:
"So how far does the water go past that island?"(points to Temple Island)
|WHO ATE ALL THE PIES|
Warning - the attached is a good illustration of what can happen when you stop rowing and start eating in the BBC canteen.