Last Friday and Saturday the club had yet another great set of races at Henley Masters Regatta. With 7 crews, this was our biggest entry for many years and although there were no gold medals this time round, there was the highest number of finals and close races for our crews that I've ever seen. Every one of our crews had been training hard, and every one of them should be very proud of their performances.
MasD 4+: Phil C, Pete, Mike P, Chao, cox: Steve B. Lost to Talkin Tarn in quarter final by 3 feet.
First off was our men’s masters 4+, with half the crew back at Henley after a gap of a couple of years and half experiencing it for the first time. Their quarter final was against Talkin Tarn Amateur Rowing Club, and a good start saw them pull slightly ahead for the first part of the race. Very gradually though Talkin Tarn came back, and despite sterling efforts the crew couldn’t quite maintain their lead and lost out by just 3 feet. Nevertheless it was our best performance by an MKRC men’s 4 here for years, and I am sure they have learnt a lot and will be back next year for more!
WMasC 8+: Karen, Paula, Jo, Jayne, Katharine, Kate S, Helen S, Suzanne, cox: Chris. Beat Bradford in quarter final by 5 lengths in 3:52. Lost to Chinook Performance Racing in semi-final by ¾ of a length.
Next up on the Friday afternoon was the quarter final for our women’s 8, against Bradford. There were two ‘Henley virgins’ in the crew and quite a few nervous rowers, but our experienced and fitness shone through immediately with a strong start and rhythm leading to a convincing win. In the semi on Saturday we knew the race would be harder as we were up against Chinook Performance Racing, a club that is open to the fittest masters rowers from across the whole of North America who then get combined into crews for big events. MKRC were up against a continent! Our start was good, but despite that we were half a length down as we hit our rhythm. We didn’t give up though and sustained an awesome, long and powerful rate 34 throughout the race, holding Chinook right where they were and even pushing into them once or twice, but it wasn’t quite enough, with us crossing the line ¾ of a length down.
MasE 2-: Rod, Steve L. Beat Stratford Upon Avon in semi-final by 2.5 lengths in 4:07. Lost to Upper Thames in final by 4 lengths.
Later on Friday afternoon, Rod and Steve were in action with their semi-final race against Stratford Upon Avon. They gave a confident performance, cruising through to finish 2.5 lengths ahead In the final they came up against last year’s winners from Upper Thames, who are one of the best performing clubs at Henley Masters, and who won the E2- event last year. Rod and Steve gave it their all, but weren’t quite a match for the other crew. Getting to the final of their event was a great achievement though and something they should be proud of.
WMasC 1x: Helen M. Beat Durham by 3 lengths in semi-final in 4:29. Lost to City of Bristol in final by 1.5 lengths.
Helen has wanted to race her single here for years but has never managed to before, having prioritised the double. Luckily this year a space opened up, and she was determined to make the most of it! First thing on Saturday morning she had a great race in her semi against Durham and winning by 3 lengths. In the final she came up against a sculler she knows well from City of Bristol, where she gave it her all but couldn’t quite overcome her nemesis, missing out by 1.5 lengths. Nevertheless she was very happy to have had the opportunity to race and get to the final, and to have put in two excellent performances.
WMasE 4+: Karen, Paula, Helen S, Suzanne, cox; Kate F. Beat Twickenham by 2.5 lengths in 4:23. Lost to Weybridge in final by 1 1/3 lengths.
After winning their first race the day before in the 8+, the crew were looking forward to their race against Twickenham. They had a good start, which put them well ahead, and allowed them to cruise to the win. In the final against Weybridge they knew they had a tougher race on their hands. Despite a good start they couldn't quite keep up, losing by 1 1/3 lengths. They were disappointed, but know they can improve for next year to come back and reclaim their medals.
WMasC 2x: Jenny, Helen M. Lost to Star in semi-final by 2.5 lengths.
Helen and Jenny have raced Star before, sometimes winning and sometimes not. Our dynamic duo had a good race in excellent conditions, but unfortunately this time it was not to be, with Star coming out on top.
WMasB 4+: Jo, Kate S, Katharine, Jayne, cox: Kate F. Beat Putney Town by 0.5 lengths in semi-final in 4:15. Lost to Gloucester by 5 lengths in the final.
The last MK crew to start their campaign, our women's B4+ had a good but very tight semi-final against Putney Town, winning by just 0.5 lengths. This was immediately followed by the semi-final of the 8+, which did prove quite a challenge! Nevertheless a couple of hours later they were back on the water for their final against Gloucester, but after two very close races that day and against a strong crew they didn't manage to come out on top.