The sun shone (mostly) and the River Severn was being well behaved for once allowing a fabulous weekend of racing for the club.

Friday night brought the hardy campers, or early racers, who couldn’t or wouldn’t brave a 5.30am start from home on Saturday morning. With entries having closed a full week early for the Saturday racing, only a handful of crews had managed to get in, but all was not lost and victory was to be had.

Saturday’s 1000m sprint had the mixed IM1.4x- of Erica Gummery, Andrea Bundon, Tom Scholefield and Dave McCaughan start the wins by storming to victory against Trent. The triumphant W.IM3.4+ comprising of Vicky Haines, Heidi Janicke, Vic Steele and Emily Quinton, coxed by Matilda Haines had afternoon races starting with a semi-final against Hereford RC. Having made it through this heat comfortably by a couple of lengths they then faced Minerva in the final. Following a terrific race, our ladies took the pot by half a length allowing Emily to lose her novice status.

The ladies coxless quad of Annie and Cathy Beaumont, Heather Nicol and Lizzie Hill took on Stourport in their IM2 category but sadly didn’t quite manage to beat the eventual winners. Similarly the W.IM2.8+ comprising of Andrea, Bethan Henry, Lizzie, Annie, Cathy, Heather, Erica and Zoe Hudson coxed by our ever intrepid Dave battled Bewdley but sadly lost by just one length.

Sunday dawned a little drier than Saturday evening and with most people rested the racing started anew. First off was Emily Senior in her WJ15 single who beat Huntingdon resoundingly in the first heat to meet Birmingham in the semi-finals. Having also taken victory in that heat she raced to win the trophy in the final against City of Bristol. Not to be outdone, sister Isabelle Senior and her rowing partner Hannah Ferris also rowed to victory in their WJ13 double against Stourport in their semi-final and then stormed through Worcester in their final. Fellow junior Alex Henry was also a winner, having beaten Huntingdon resoundingly in his semi-final to tackle Bewdley in his final to take the pot easily by three lengths. Despite not having a win, a fabulous effort was also made by Katie Ferris and Becky Mills in their WJ16 2x against Derwent.

The Women’s IM2 eight from Saturday’s events raced brilliantly in their first heat against Stourport, winning by over a length to face the same Bewdley crew in the final that they battled the day before. Sadly victory was not to be again but the girls put in a terrific effort. The ladies quad of Annie, Cathy, Lizzie and Heather had another bash at a trophy, and despite a tremendous row against Bewdley, victory was not to be having crashed into a Black Pearl pirate ship (no joke) at the start line. The men’s MastersD.8+ comprising of Keith Hudson, Charlie Henry, Andy Martin, Scott Ferris, Chris Smith, Nick Maker, Andy Skinner and Ian Hepworth, coxed by Mike Targett had a fabulous first heat against Stourport winning by over a length. Again hopes were dashed in the final despite a great row against a Chester/Grosvenor composite crew.

The ladies IM3 4+ took to the water for a second day, but this time with Kate Henry in bow seat with Vicky, Heidi and Vic and Matilda coxing. With one win already from the day before, hopes were high and indeed fulfilled following three great heats. Firstly Llandaff RC were taken on in a tight race finishing with our ladies winning by half a length. In the semi-finals a second Llandaff crew were to be beaten in a nail-biting effort that resulted yet again in just half a length’s difference. The final however was a true battle against Liverpool Victoria, with our crew half a length ahead from the start until a crab brought the boat speed down and the crews were neck and neck. Determined to win, the ladies pulled out all the stops and stormed to victory by a mere three feet, which had to be relayed to the finalists as it was too close to call on the water. “Three feet” sounding like “repeat” had a few hearts beating even faster, but with great relief the result was finally understood with much arm waving and thumbs up from the distant supporters.

A wonderful weekend yet again for the members of Loughborough Boat Club, and a big thank you has to go to all the friends and family who came to support and cheer everyone on. It can be a long wait on the bank side, although the beer tent was very handy!