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Bedford Eights and Fours Head 2007

Sunday 11th February

Previous event: Peterborough Head of the Nene - Following event: Pembroke Regatta

1st Men's VIII

Bow: Will Kerr‑Muir, 2: Ed Day, 3: Philip Garsed, 4: Ben Evans, 5: David Hardeman, 6: David O'Brien, 7: Chris Baker, Stroke: Joel Jennings, Cox: Mary Flook

Winners (out of 18) of S3 VIIIs in a time of 4:28, 2nd/20 in S4 VIIIs in a time of 4:30

Will Kerr-Muir reports:

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Winners of S3! It came as a surprise that we were leading S4 by some margin after the first race, given that the row was scrappy compared with training, although we were to be nudged into second by Oriel later. The result encouraged a better second race in S3: still a little untidy, with room for some technical refinement, but enough for the win.

Conditions with a light wind were perfect for bumps practice in slightly churned up water, so once our lightning-fast standing start is put into practice and the remaining scrappiness is cleared up, this boat will really move.

The head was the first event where we've been able to compare ourselves properly with immediate oppo over bumps distances. Even the shortened course was a little long for our target race distances in two weeks' time. Beating most of the crews close above us in the charts (barring day 1 victims Tit Hall, but they were seen off at Peterborough) should make for some fun racing when we line up at Pembroke Regatta and then for the bumps themselves.

Uploaded Tuesday 13th February, 1:18

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Philip Garsed reports:

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S4:

We headed to Bedford on what looked to be a pretty wet day, only to be pleasantly surprised as sunshine appeared as we arrived. Walking through the town to the start (our coach thoughtfully having dropped us at the other end of Bedford) we discovered that because the river was in flood , this years race would be a mere 1500m - 500m less than what we were expecting. The crew was reasonably pleased about this, as the opportunity for a sprint would be good practice for Pembroke Regatta. The row up was not particularly good, and we got to the marshalling point nice and early, taking the time to enjoy sitting with a tree in the boat. The start felt very rushed, as encouraged by Peterborough we took it up to a excitable 36 or so. Unfortunately we didn't really hit a rhythm as the rate came down to 34 after the first minute, and rowing was at times tough because of this. It was however very strong. Approaching 2/3 of the course, we regained some of the balance and were able to put in a good push for the finish, but we did finish the course in a very very wet state. We then enjoyed sitting in the boat shivering slightly as the entire division span in front of us, and were very glad to make it back to the trailer to find some nice warm clothes. We were however pleasantly surprised to find out that as the (Very prompt) results were published that we were leading S4 by 6 seconds. Unfortunately this didn't prove to be quite enough, with Oriel College beating us by a couple of seconds in a later division, but gave us the confidence we needed to take on S3:</P>

S3:

Following the first race there was a general consensus that if we rowed as powerfully as in the first race well then we would go really really fast, giving us the two seconds we'd need to equal the best S3 times. So this is what we did. Taking the start in a little bit more of a relaxed way (reaching a maximum of 36), we settled at a (possibly a little to leisurely) rate of 33. The rowing was not quite as powerful as the previous race, with people being a little bit tired, but it was much much neater (though still plenty of room for improvement). With Mary's slightly excited call of "You're going to get under 4 minutes" we made a big push for the finish which was very effective and powerful. This was just what we needed to finish, and gave us a time of 4:28 - 2 seconds faster than previously. An excellent result and my first pot! Now we need to combine the power of the first race with the better technique of the second and we can hope to do very well in the races to come.

Uploaded Sunday 11th February, 19:54

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Photos of the 1st Men's VIII: click to view full size.


1st Women's VIII

3rd/13 WS3 VIIIs in a time of 5:13; 2nd/12 WS4 VIIIs in a time of 5:08

David Jones reports:

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Arriving in Bedford on a much sunnier than anticipated Sunday morning, we learnt that the course had been shortened fairly substantially to around 1.3km, because of a very quick stream.

This stream, along with some rather special marshalling, some equally special parking by me and not knowing where the race was being timed from left us faffing a bit around the start. However, this actually seemed to relax us somewhat, and we settled into a very nice rhythm right from the start of the first race which we managed to hold fairly well. Not being used to the feeling of control we managed to find, it felt a little too easy to some, but the time of 5:08 was the fastest college time of the day, and 1s off winning S4. (In fact, it would actually have won us S3!)

The strong rhythm we'd found in race 1 gave us confidence that we could push a little more in the second race. However, we unfortunately may have pushed a little too hard, and never found the rhythm of race 1, and we ended up 5s slower than earlier in the day to finish 3rd in S3. However, a few seconds of this may have been due to choppy water and the slightly sub-optimal line we had to take after catching a fairly special Falcons crew with about 150m to go.

Uploaded Sunday 18th February, 17:57

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2nd Men's VIII

19/20 S4 VIIIs in a time of 4:58; 13/16 Novice VIIIs in a time of 5:00

James Michael reports:

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After a boost of confidence from Peterborough, we knew we had the stamina for the distance at Bedford, easily. After hearing horror stories of narrow bridges and a fast stream, it was surprisingly pleasant, especially after the organisers shortened the race to 1.5k and removed the hardest bridge from the course! The boats were quickly assembled and then we were off. A quick pause at the startline before spinning gave a breather and we set off firmly. After an acceptable start very few crabs were caught as the rating stayed high and constant. There were no other crews visible on the river and so there was very little to work from; nonetheless the guys really got into it and we'd finished before we knew it. The race felt fast- over in an eyeblink compared to Peterborough- and we'd managed to keep the rating above 31 the whole piece.

Spinning and holding ground after the finish was interesting, as the boat drifted and some interesting boat handling was used. Nonetheless the crew, after a break for Tesco at lunch, boated again knowing fully what to expect and fired up ready to give it their all.

After confusion from two marshalls each giving contradictory instructions, we got off. The start was scrappier than the last, unfortunately, and cost us a few valuable seconds. Nonetheless we were right back into it, rating 33-34 constantly, and by the finish line were pushing right through and giving it a lot of welly. We were being chased by Oriel college first men's boat, which beat M1, and they were coming up fast by the finih line. We wound it right up to 35-36 by the line and held them right off; they didn't get overlap before the line, a fact we can be happy with.

Overall some pleasant conditions and great fun when racing. We put in some good times and acheived our own higher rating targets which bodes well for Pembroke regatta; now the start just needs attention. We managed to beat a couple of other college second boats, including LMBC and Queens, and overall came 78th and 80th out of the 200+ competitors- a fact we're extremely happy with. These races have given us confidence for Pembroke, but also a few points that need attention before then.

Uploaded Wednesday 14th February, 15:02

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2nd Women's VIII

12/12 WS4 VIIIs in a time of 5:37; 7/10 W Novice VIIIs in a time of 5:30