The Men’s Junior C Crew of Sean Cooney, Marcus Lewis, Isaac Gaston, Jack Gaston and Katya Cherskova raced at the Port of Bideford Regatta on Saturday as part of their preparation for the Open events at next week’s South Coast Championships.
With only a dozen or so outings in a river boat since they started rowing it was a leap into the unknown for them with entries at Men’s Senior C (the local equivalent of Men’s Junior) and J18.
Senior C was always going to be the toughest task with three local crews still contending for the WEARA championship, with Dartmouth Rowing Club holding a slender championship lead.
The boys cruised through their heat winning it comfortably, the turnaround was quick though and they had to immediately return to the start line to prepare for their final.
The Draw for the Final saw the main WEARA protagonists, Dartmouth and Castledore drawn in the favoured quayside lanes 1 and 2 with Christchurch drawn alongside Bideford Reds out in lane 5, they were going to need a lead to protect as the inside crews were going to hit a strong following current over the second half of the race.
A clean start from the whole fleet saw Christchurch move into a 2 length lead and looking good for it as the race moved to half-way.
An immense push by the powerful looking Dartmouth Crew just as they picked up the tide saw them draw level with Christchurch dragging Castledore with them at the same time. It looked for all the world like the Christchurch challenge was over.
But, showing a tremendous amount of maturity and aided by an outstanding course by Katya, the boys waited until the Dartmouth crew had settled back into their stride rhythm and put in their own attack rowing comfortably away from the chasing pack. The final verdict, Christchurch by 2.5 lengths.
Congratulations to Dartmouth who secured the WEARA Championship by squeezing Castledore on the line.
Having already beaten their main J18 rivals at Senior C, the crew would have been forgiven for taking the J18 final for granted. But, with a freshening breeze and a change in the tide, conditions had become a little more challenging and nothing was a formality. The boys took their race heads onto the start-line which might have explained the commentator’s remarks suggesting “over-exuberance” at the start, causing a slight delay. Racing agony’s.
In choppy conditions the boys didn’t get such a great start compared to their rivals, the local champions Bideford reds on their home course and Dart Totnes who had brought a strong Junior contingent to the regatta, they soon hit their straps though and held a commanding lead by half way finishing with an “easily” verdict.