LVISRC Race Report – 3 Challenge Events on the River Wye – Summer 2016
The LVIS Rowing Squad have been busy this summer, showing the famous purple and gold colours on the river once more with some success
An equal split of Bristol green and Vegas imperial purple lycra populated the flagship Hudson racing shell at Monmouth regatta on the 28th of May in perfect racing conditions for the Phil Mathew Challenge Vase event for open VIIIs. Confidence was high and proved well founded in the opening heat against a somewhat sluggish Cardiff University “A” crew; result: 4.5 lengths to CBR/LVIS.
A couple of hours of lounging around, interspersed with isotonic drinks and sugary snacks (whist cleverly avoiding the burger stand and cans of cider) saw the crew through to what was anticipated to be the race of the day against a strong Bath University crew. A good start saw the LVIS boat take a half length lead; despite numerous pushes by the student boat the advantage was maintained through to the line, due in no small part to the Vegas 5 man apparently trying to pull the rigger off the boat after an earlier defeat to Bath Uni in the double scull event. Verdict: ¾ length.
Dispatching Bath Uni
Late in the day, the final race pitted the crew against Cardiff City’s VIII, having eliminated a strong Old Monmothian crew and also Dart Totnes, the Cardiff boat put up a strong fight in the first third of the course only to be out gunned by the technique and general heft of the “Nevada” crowd.
The winningest team, L to R: LVIS Butler, LVIS Partridge, T Clark, W Japp, LVIS Haycock (c), LVIS Wadsworth, LVIS Turner, E Piercy, G Acton.
With Tiny Elvis affixed to the Empacher slot, the mostly unpracticed crew of Chris “no peas”, Jim, Oz “no scooter” and Al took to the water in Hereford to attempt the capture of the West of England Challenge Vase on its 5 year cycle to the upper Wye club. The first two races were both against Worcester crews containing, in the first and second rounds respectively, an enthusiastic junior crew and a seasoned senior outfit comprising half of their 2015 HRR Thames Cup VIII.
A little More Air Resistance?
Both rounds were cleared with a little more sweat generation and high stroke rate than strictly necessary, setting up a final in the early afternoon against a seemingly innocuous crew from Monmouth. In reality the crew contained a ex GB swimmer, ex Aussie squad rower, recent Brookes stroke with the 4th man being a previous winner of the vase; it turns out that they were fairly keen on winning the race. The Wye based crew stole a ½ length lead off the start and were able to maintain this to the finish despite some valiant/desperate pushes by the LVIS boat. Perhaps the air resistance of the “hood ornament” came into play more than predicted…
With Chris No Peas and Jailhouse Ray indisposed at the 11th hour; some last minute emailing and cajoling bought an eldery Aussie and a human Twiglet into the line-up for the “Pointless VIII” event at RossVegas International Regatta, the traditional close to the summer season on August bank holiday. With some tweaks to the crew order, including the installation of Twiglet as the most unlikely bowman on the river at 6’7”, and no race plan to speak of, the first contest of the round robin part of the event saw LVIS take on Neptune, a completely unknown outfit from Dublin. Either these were serious boys who had made the trip over to make off with as much silverware as possible…or they were on a p*ss-up disguised as a rowing holiday. Within a 100m of the start, it became clear that the latter was correct: a win for the purple and golds.
Beating the Irish
A fairly soft second race against a crew from the Staines Massive gave opportunity to practice some race strategy and general gelling of the crew. A good thing, as it became clear that the boat to beat would be a crew named in the programme as “Nottingham”. Some surreptitious glancing at the entry forms in regatta control indicated that this crowd was in fact a crowd of highly motivated students of various UK origins, fresh home from the European Student Games in Zagreb.
Somewhat unbelievably (for the students) the boat full of randomly sized and aged blokes with strange lycra crossed the line a quarter of a length ahead. The youngsters didn’t seem pleased, particularly after no small amount of banter while awaiting the start. This happy result indicated that the LVIS boat would in all probability have to face the same crew again the following day in the grand final. Knowing this, an evening of recuperation by the Vegas members would include variously: greasy food, ”isotonic” Chianti/beer, and milking a dairy herd.
The vinegar strokes
A quick warm up race for half of the crew in a 4x and some token stretching on land, whist watching the student boat apparently going through some sort of complicated prayer routine, and LVISRC was ready to go for glory in the final. A solid start and a race rhythm that saw the rate remain above 42 for the duration was not quite good enough to hold off the younger competition who stole a few feet somewhere in the middle of the race, taking the win by a canvas. Revenge, or more probably relief, was clearly sweet for the East Midlanders following the ego bruising defeat the previous day. The praying had obviously paid off…
That’s it for 2016… Similar events and more planned for next season, starting with Vet’s Head in March. Contact Al and Oz for more details…and kit orders
Ross Photos courtesy of Ben Rodford Photography