Bedford Autumn Head Race Report

Star Club once again performed strongly at Bedford Autumn Head with numerous crew winning medals.

Senior Women

Holly Keats writes:  “The senior women entered more boats into this Bedford Head race than in many previous years – showing the breadth and strength the squad now has.

“And despite torrential downpours for much of the day (which saw boats needing to bailed out at the start and finish), the squad achieved more pots for the trophy cabinet. The ladies entered two quads and achieved first and third, with Becca Thompson, Evelyn Burke, Freya Parry and Rhi Duckett winning with a massive margin of 15 seconds over the rest of the field.
“Two doubles were also entered into the race, with Ingrid Holder and Rhi narrowly missing out on a win by only a few seconds, and Sacha Lynch and Jess Copeland racing for the first time together.
“A great benchmark for the start of the season as the squad gears up to build on the success of last year and strives towards further challenges.”

MASTER’S WOMEN

Elizabeth Appleton writes:  “The Masters Women’s squad entered three crews at Bedford Autumn Fours and Small Boats Head, all of which competed in torrential rain in Division 1.

“First to battle their way through the driving rain was the Women’s Masters E coxed four of Kim Taylor, Jo French, Sarah Russell and Liz Appleton, coxed by Pamela Swain. This crew had suffered set backs over the week leading up to the event. With Jo gallantly subbing in on her less favoured side, the crew had planned a couple of outings, but these were thwarted due to high winds. On the day, the crew set out “untried”, with no expectations, but a strong desire to row their best. The crew executed a “long and strong”, relaxed row, rating just 26 to 28, with a final push at 30 strokes per minute.They had a couple of incidents along the way, having to move out of the way for a faster junior double and pair behind, which unfortunately affected their course and their rhythm. Imagine, then, their surprise when they discovered that they had beaten local rivals St. Neots by a significant margin, and had lost the event to mighty Milton Keynes by a mere two seconds. Relaxation is clearly the way ahead.

“Then there were two Women’s Masters C double sculls, one following the other. The leading and faster double was the experienced partnering of Sally Knight and Anne-Marie King. They were chased down the course by the newer pairing of Alison Winder and Sasha Lynch (from the Senior Women’s Squad). Both crews put in plucky performances, but were beaten into second and third places by Lea. They are now looking forward to a re-row at Star Head.”

MASTER’S MEN

Peter Isaacson writes: “For three of us competing in the Masters D+ four at Bedford head: Sean Costello, Tim Isaacson and Pete Isaacson, it was 25 years ago that we had raced in this sport that once dominated and shaped our lives.

“We are indebted to Steve Sangster who must have had thoughts of this row becoming increasingly more difficult as we progressed along the course. For the three of us reality dawning that we are not as young as we once were and the euphoria and excitement of racing being overtaken by pain, shock and despair. Thank you Steve, it may have only been Bedford Head but to us it signified that we could still compete and that the journey to 2019 and beyond was just beginning.

“The weather was horrific on the day with very heavy rain and a head wind developing for the PM divisions. A relaxed and solid row up to the start gave hope to us all and despite the weather there was genuine belief that we could hold it all together. Turn, tops off, pray, here we go… It is hard to remember details when you are concentrating so hard but the two things that stick out for me are getting to Bedford Rowing Club and knowing that no ergo can prepare you for this experience, boat time rules every time and how happy I was to pass under the suspension bridge with us still rowing well and solid as a unit

“7 minutes 38 was our time and that was good enough to beat the other Masters D crews on the day by some margin. Although beaten by our own Masters E four of Richard White, Kevan Armstrong, David Sogan and David Gowing who covered the course in an amazing time of 7 minutes 12. For our first race, we are pleased and see this as a spring board and have the opportunity to do it all again at Star Head in a few weeks’ time.

“Finally a special mention to our Cox. Cathy was permanently drenched on the day and laid down in a front loader four, three times. Thank you Cathy!!”

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