On Sunday last the veteran men’s eight of Sudbury Rowing Club set off for London to take part in the Veterans Head of the River Race.
This annual race is run on the Thames over the famous Boat Race course, in reverse, and attracts the very best crews from across the country and around the world. This year over 260 crews took part from across Europe and even the United States. From this country Olympic medallists, Boat Race veterans and national champions mixed it with club rowers and even those who have recently started rowing. It is a chance for rowers to meet old friends, make new ones and challenge themselves on the biggest stage.
The Sudbury crew consisting of Andrew Blit, Mike Arnott, Adrian Ablitt, Pete Donovan, Tim Hysom, Stephen Nichols, Paul Adams and Lee Adams, coxed by Helen Sharp, very largely home-grown talent trained on the Stour, started at the head of their age category – leading off 32 crews. For the race there was a firm, cold headwind kicking the Thames up into choppy, lumpy waves quite unlike the river at home.
Stroked with purpose and determination by Lee the crew blasted off under Chiswick Bridge into the toughest of the conditions with Tideway Scullers (London) in hot pursuit. The race between the two crews lasted all the way round the long bend and up the following straight with crews and coxes trading stroke for stroke. Later in the race the Sudbury crew also encountered a crew allegedly stroked by one of the Gold Medallists from the Barcelona Games and a huge crew from Marin County, California who forced their way past opposite Fulham football ground.
Sudbury’s time was enough for 16th out of 32 in their category and the crew were 88th out of 262 crews in the entire race, not quite as good as last year but a brave effort considering the alien conditions.
Sudbury Rowing Club continued its early success in January into 2019. Although the 23rd of February started foggy, an uncharacteristically warm and sunny day greeted SRC competitors for the Norwich Head of the River Race.
The Women’s Junior 15 quad of Grace Power; Emilie Larkin; Evie Prager; Amy Wallace and cox Amelia Moule took their second win in a time of 08:20, following on from their fantastic debut win earlier in the year.
More wins followed with the Men’s MasE VIII of Helen Sharp (cox), Lee Adams, Paul Adams, Stephen Nichols, Tim Hysom, Pete Donovan, Adrian Ablitt, Mike Arnott and Keith Paxman. They competed against two younger crews in their handicapped event over 5 Km. They set off last of the three, but quickly overhauled the crew from Norwich RC, passing them within the first two kilometres of the race. Sudbury maintained a strong rhythm through the middle twisting section of the course, and mounted a spirited final kilometre to finish in an adjusted time of 17:30.
In the Women’s single, Jen Titterington won first place in 22:04 with Amelia Moule taking 2nd place in 22:36. Titterington and Moule went on to win their Women’s double in a time of 20:51.
The Mixed MasB-D double of Jeremy Milbank and Kate Wallace came third in an adjusted time of 22:04 beating the Mix MasB double of Poppy Grosch and Tim Wallace into 4th place with a time of 22:51. This was Grosch and Wallace’s first race of the day, they then went on to win their second race in a time of 08:46.
In the afternoon, the Men’s MasD crew of Lee Adams, Tim Hysom, Paul Adams and Stephen Nichols competed as a coxless IV, although they had no opposition, and so were rowing for a time only. This was only the third time they had rowed coxless but they performed well against the Open crews around them to finish in a creditable time of 20:26.
There were also a number of very good races achieving second and third places with the Men’s MasD double of Simon White and Robin King coming second in an adjusted time of 19:01.
The Junior 15 double of Harry Moule and Fergus Grant came second in a time of 07:44 and the J18 2x of Byron Bullen and Sam McLoughlin came second in 19:51.
The Women’s MasD quad of Teresa Moriarty; Tracey Muir; Rosemary Hogsbjerg and Sarah Stirling also achieved second place in a time of 21:10.
Mens MasE single of Sean Moriarty came third with a time of 28:03 and Moriarty also achieved third place together with Stirling in a Mixed MasD double with a time of 23:08.
St Neots Head of the East
Just over a week later saw several more SRC crews travelling to St Neots to compete in the inaugural Head of the East race. In total contrast to the previous weekend’s weather, the competitors had warning of Storm Freya and with some trepidation set off to race in their events.
The first and second division races were a little windy with a hint of sunshine at times. These more reasonable conditions benefitted the Women’s double of Jen Titterington and Bev Goodchild (IPS) who, picking up a nice tailwind won their race with a time of 08:19.
Titterington also won her women’s single race in a time of 09:00, narrowly beating her doubles partner Goodchild (IPS) by just 4 seconds.
Mixed Masters E double of Pippa Kerry and Jeremy Milbank (above) achieved second place in a time of 09:14, with strong cross winds to contend with and very choppy conditions.
The Mixed MasB double of Tim Wallace and Poppy Grosch also endured tough and very windy racing conditions and with blisters to show, also achieved second place with a time of 09:27.
Sadly, race officials had to take the decision to cancel Division 5 towards the end of the day. The wind had significantly gathered strength and even the river’s swans and ducks had got out of the water, taking shelter on the grassy banks instead.
This meant that SRC’s newly formed Ladies Quad of Debbie Nott; Jackie Lloyd; Veronica Yates; Angela Sayer and cox Pippa Kerry, looking to compete in their first race together in the ‘New To Racing’ category, had to be postponed. The crew took their disappointment in good spirits and de-rigged their boat after a very long day of anticipation.
A huge well done to all the SRC crews and competitors. Looking forward to the next race at the Vesta Vets Head of the River on March 31st.
If you are reading this article and thinking you or someone you know may like to try rowing, Sudbury Rowing club’s next Learn to Row course for Adults starts on the 13th April.
Sudbury Rowing Club’s New Year got off to a tremendous start at Bedford Star’s Head of the River Race on Sunday 13th of January. It was a bright but cold and windy day and the course was slightly shortened due to a fallen tree near the race starting point.
A grand total of 8 wins were achieved with the Junior squad delivering a fantastic performance, winning 5 of the first places.
Starting with Harry Moule in the J14 1x with a time of 6:06; Fergus Grant in the J15 1x with a time of 7:53; and Amelia Moule, WJ18 1x with a time of 7:55.
Junior doubles, Amelia Moule and Martha Bullen competed in the WJ18 2x with a time of 7:02 and Sam McLoughlin and Byron Bullen in the J18 2x with a time of 6.44. The Women’s crews also put in a brilliant performance with the Master’s double of Sophie Lovegrove and Jen Ward winning both of their races with a best time of 07:44 and the Sudbury/Ipswich double of Bev Goodchild and Jen Titterington with a time of 06:55.
In addition to all of the club’s wins there was some very close and exciting racing seen for a number of second places in very windy and choppy rowing conditions. Promising new racing teams took their first competitive steps, notably the Junior Girls coxed quad of Grace Power; Emilie Larkin; Evie Prager; Amy Wallace and cox Amelia Moule, achieving a time of 7:53, racing for the very first time along with a mixed Masters Double of Tim Wallace and Poppy Grosch, who achieved a best time of 08:14.
The men’s teams also performed well, achieving some good times including the Men’s Masters coxed four of Lee Adams; Tim Hysom; Stephen Nichols; Paul Adams; Cox Helen Sharp, achieving a best time of 6:41 and the Men’s Master double of Simon White and Robin King with a time of 7:09.
A huge well done to all competitors and a great start to the year ahead.
Sudbury Rowing club held its annual Pudding Races on the 22nd December.
The event, which saw the rowers compete against each other in a bid to win the grand prize of Christmas Puddings (and the honour of best fancy dress) was again well attended.
Many friends, family and past members came along to cheer on the 40 rowing competitors who were split into two teams of 20, namely Team Chestnut and Team Sprout.
The teams were split into different boats, eights; quads; double sculls and an adaptive single, and each pair of competing crews raced along Friars Meadow three times, with the start adjusted each time to accommodate the winning margin from the previous race. The winning team was decided by the number of crews on each that won their ‘best of 3’ races.
The winning rowing team of SRC’s 2018 Pudding Races were ‘The Sprouts’!
The best fancy dress prize in the Junior squad was awarded to Amelia Moule and Pete Donovan won the title in the adult squad.
Great fun was had by everyone and the Sprouts all took home their puddings!
Two Sudbury Rowing Club Juniors represented the club at last weekends Ely Head Race held at the Isle of Ely rowing club.
Rowing over a 3km distance against a number of other clubs Byron Bullen won in the Junior 18 category and Martha Bullen won in the Womens Junior 16 category. Competing against some very high level Junior competition both juniors did exceptionally well in some tough conditions where the strong wind caused issues for everyone competing due to the head wind and very choppy conditions.
Following the first division being completed all competitors observed a two minute silence to mark the 100th Armistice anniversary before Martha Bullen also competed in the Womens Junior 16 quad. Unfortunately the girls didn’t have any competition so were only racing for time and posted a great time finishing 6th fastest from all crews and the fastest female crew in the second division.
Sunday the 4th of November saw Sudbury Rowing Club send two Men’s crews to compete in the Veteran Fours Head of the River Race.
This race is held over the Boat Race course on the Tideway stretch of the River Thames in London, although in reverse, from Mortlake to Putney, and attracts crews from all over the country.
Lee Adams, Tim Hysom, Stephen Nichols, Paul Adams and cox Helen Sharp raced in the Men’s Masters C coxed four. They competed against seven other crews in the 45 – 50 age category and finished a very creditable second place, achieving a time of 20:56.9. They overtook two crews on the water, but otherwise had a smooth row, making the most of the relatively mild weather.
The Men’s Masters G quad scull of Brendan Sullivan, Mike Arnott, Andrew Blit and Keith Paxman competed against ten other crews in their category, finishing in sixth place in a time of 22:11.1. The crew had a very good row for the first half of the race, dicing with a crew from Thames RC and overtaking one from Warwick. Unfortunately the race then took a more eventful turn with the quad coming into contact with two other crews in the middle of the race. This slowed them down a little but they still produced a good performance for such a recent crew combination.
Both crews will be looking to improve their performances for the next race, Wallingford Head, in two week’s time.
Sudbury Rowing Club have had a busy October with some very wet but successful racing.
First was the Pairs Head of the River race covering 4500 metres of the Thames, where overall 400 crews competed from all over the country. Three Sudbury crews competed in heavy rain and blustery conditions.
Byron Bullen and Sam McLoughlin raced in the Men’s Junior 18 Intermediate event, Amelia Moule and Amelia Maskell raced in the Women’s Junior 18 Intermediate event and Jen Titterington and Bev Goodchild (Ipswich RC) raced in the Women’s Championship Doubles. All three crews raced well in their categories.
The next event was Bedford Small Boats Head – a distance of 2000 metres with some bridges to avoid. Another very wet day of racing with some crews racing in three different divisions and in different events.
Winning crews were:- Harry Moule in the Junior 15 single sculls event, Women’s Band 2 quad of Amelia Moule, Helena Griffiths, Amelia Maskell and Martha Bullen. Jen Titterington won the Women’s Band 1 single sculls event and also raced in a composite quad with Ipswich and Lea RC, winning their event. Martha Bullen won the Women’s Junior 16 single sculls.
The most recent win was at the Norfolk Long Distance Sculls in Norwich where Mike Arnott, Andrew Blit, Keith Paxman and Brendan Sullivan (above) were fastest in their category, Masters E-G 4x, coming away with a win. This crew will be competing at the Fours Head of the River race on the Thames next weekend.
Sam McLoughlin, Byron Bullen, Bev Goodchild, Jen Titterington, Amelia Maskell and Amelia Moule at the Pairs Head of the River.