Star Club crews turned out in force for Bedford RC’s Fours and Eights Head of the River on Sunday 11th February and brought home the bacon with six solid wins. Challenging conditions made the row a battle of wills for many crews and the six category wins were backed up by two second places and four third places.
The fastest (and second fastest) crew over the line was Bedford School 1st VIII in an impressive course time of 05:51. The fastest Star crew was a winning time of 06:37 for the Boys J18 Quad. The Bedford/Star Men’s Masters D VIII composite (below) continued its Peterborough form recording a super-fast 6:24, only being pipped by one second on handicap by Abingdon RC.
Star Masters also appeared in a second Bedford/Star composite VIII which debuted on Sunday. Although the results list the boat as a Bedford Masters D crew, it was stroked by Andy Chillingsworth with Mark Fulford, Chris Higham and David Cestaro, who returns to the water after recovering from a badly broken ankle. Welcome back David!
STAR CLUB RACE REPORTS
Catherine Upex reports: “Bedford Head provided some tough conditions that tested all crews on the day. However the Junior Squad battled through the wind and the swells and came away with three wins.”
Mens Junior 18 Quad Sculls
The boys quad (Jack Murphy, Toby White, Ed Tame, and Harry Ashby) impressively won both the J18.4x and the Open 4x, with only one second between their two times.
Womens Junior 18 Quad Sculls
The girls quad (Millie Wardley, Hannah Hawkins, Abi Nwang and Catherine Upex) raced the course twice. On their first outing, they won the WJ18.4x beating rivals, BMS. On their second run racing in the open category, the crew managed to improve on their time by six seconds, a time that surprised them all. However, it wasn’t enough to win the W.4x and the girls lost out to St William Borlase by just one second!
Catherine added: “All junior boats performed extremely well and produced promising results that all crews can build on as we move closer to regatta season. It was a great day for Star Juniors.”
Junior photos by Emily Eagles
Senior Womens Quad Sculls
Holly Keats reports: ”All the seasons convened on the river Great Ouse last Sunday for Bedford Head race.
“There was snow at the start of division 5, as four of the Senior women’s squad embraced the challenging conditions and set off in their quad. Ingrid Holder took bow seat and deftly navigated the crew through the chop, with Rhiana Duckett in the number two seat. For the stern pair this was their first rowing race, not just for Star Club but ever! Evelyn Burke at 3 seat having come on leaps-and-bounds since joining the club on the Learn to Row Scheme in late 2017. Holly Keats sat at stroke and completed the quad, setting a stern pace to see the ladies home in a winning time – 14 seconds ahead of their nearest rivals! A great scalp for the senior ladies’ squad, in some very tough conditions, and a great stepping stone for all 4 women to go forward into 2018 – well done!”
Women’s Masters C/D/E Eights
The Masters Women boated one Masters D eight and two Masters E eights in the Women’s Masters C/D/E eights category, against opposition of a largely unknown quantity from Broxbourne (Mas C) and Abingdon/Falcon (Mas D).
Some very interesting and co-incidental results ensued. All three Star crews were within seconds of each other, with the two Masters E crews clocking identical times and the Masters D crew just three seconds slower on raw time. What’s more, Broxbourne and Abingdon/Falcon were joint winners also with identical times after the handicaps had been applied. Our Masters E crews were just 13 seconds behind the winning time.
Liz Appeleton reports: “Our first two crews to race in Sunday’s very sporty conditions were from the regular group which trains in the eight, in preparation for the forthcoming big events on the Trent and Tideway.
“First off in Div 1 was the Masters E crew of Julie Clarke, Judith Gowing, Rhonda Lawrence, Lynne Taylor, Janet Williams, Jo French, Alison Winder and Bernie Smith, ably coxed in the strong tailwind by Kim Taylor. This crew battled with the gusts and the waves, taking 22 seconds off the eight group’s recent 2k race at Star New Year Head – so a very encouraging result.
“Then in Div 3, fresh legs arrived in the form of Sue Davies, Carrie Rainbow and Nicola White, who replaced Janet, Lynne and Rhonda. This was a very tidy Masters D combination which coped well in the tricky conditions. Another encouraging result as the crew took 19 seconds off the eight group’s time at Star New Year Head – and would surely have been faster if cox Janet had not suffered an unfortunate loss of sound early on in the race.
“The third crew took to the water in Div 5, just as the tailwind eased off and a snow cloud loomed. The purpose of this crew was to give some small boat rowers and scullers the opportunity to compete at this “larger boat” meeting. This Masters E crew comprised Liz Appleton, Sarah Russell, Sue Lamb, Jo French, Rhonda Lawrence, Trina Payne, Janet Williams and Kim Taylor, driven by a very spirited Anne-Marie King in the cox’s seat.
“This time our “shout outs” go to Trina – her first race for two years; and to the redoubtable Jo, who raced three times. Good stuff, both of you!”
Next stop for the Masters Women’s squad will be Nottingham Masters of Trentside, which is run as part of the Head of the Trent on Sunday 25th February. This is the major training event ahead of Vesta Vets Head on 25th March.
Men’s Masters E/F Quad Sculls
After snow flurries on the way to the start, the Men’s Masters Quad, stroked by Andrew Thomson, had a good solid scull concentrating on length and rhythm. Clive Thompson in the bows steered the crew through the centre arch of the town bridge to get full advantage of the stream and tailwind. With a good build towards the finish, the crew scored a comfortable victory over Sudbury to achieve first head wins for George French and Simon Bennewith.
Men’s Masters C/D/E Coxed Fours
Andy Crook reports: “The Masters Men’s E4+ of Andy Crook, Ivan Higgins, David Gowing, Andy Lynn & cox Catherine Upex, scored a solid victory from a field of 6 entries, testing out this combination for the first time. After a strong start, the crew went over the course at rate 30, keeping good length in choppy water and with only one call for a push (partly because the cox box had stopped working). With a course time of 7:22 and an adjusted time of 6:56, the crew saw off a strong challenge from Abingdon RC (Masters D) by a margin of six seconds.”