Loughborough Boat Club’s newly elected Club Captain, Charlie Henry, has overseen the continued development of the Club following on from his predecessor, Tim Ives. There has been a large influx of new rowers and the Club facilities have been expanded to host Loughborough Students Rowing Club and also a dragon boat club ‘The Soaring Dragons’. Charlie celebrated his appointment by leading Loughborough to another highly enjoyable day of competitive racing at Stourport’s Autumn Head Race last Sunday, which included a winner’s ‘pot’ for himself.
Six crews from Loughborough took advantage of a swollen River Severn to clock fast times in a 3.7 km time trial. Following a week of heavy rain in Wales, the water moving down the Severn was flowing rapidly and this significantly increased the speed of the boats racing downstream, as long as the coxswain steered an accurate course in the middle of the river.
With Junior and Novice entries restricted for safety reasons, only one Junior crew from Loughborough participated, but the significant experience of Thomasin Storey and Isabelle O’Toole saw them expertly down the course to finish third out of seven boats in their class, just behind two boats from Monmouth Comprehensive School but ahead of Club crews from Bewdley, Ross, and Monmouth Rowing Club.
Loughborough’s Open Ladies were represented by Matilda Haines and Hannah Ferris rowing a Double Scull, who finished in an excellent time of 13 minutes 58 seconds in a closely fought contest against Warwick, Stourport, Birmingham, and Burton Leander Rowing Clubs.
In the veteran age group Loughborough fielded a Masters F (age 60-65) Quadruple Scull steered from the Bow by Neil Martin with Jonathan Cox in the Stroke seat and Allen Storey and John Scott in the middle seats. This crew finished in style but behind opponents from Stourport and Bewdley.
Mixed male and female crews are a very popular feature of the sport at club level and Loughborough’s Mixed Masters Quadruple Scull highlighted this event, literally, with some shockingly bright pink tee shirts that made them unmissable on the water. All eyes were on them rather than the eventual winners of their race from Bridgnorth Rowing Club. Scott Ferris and Mike Targett had teamed up with Sandra Martin and Karen Senior in a crew that will certainly be seen again.
Wins for Loughborough were achieved in the Masters E Coxless Four, with Keith Hudson, Charlie Henry, Phill Gunning and Jerry Heygate recording the fastest time of the Loughborough crews at 13 minutes 02 seconds, in spite of suffering a failure of their rudder system shortly before the start. Fortunately, a suitable multi-tool was on hand to rig a temporary repair that held firm throughout the race. Just six seconds slower were Tim Ives and Laurence Burke in the Masters Coxless Pair, who beat their opponents from Stourport by ten seconds.
Loughborough is looking forward to hosting other clubs from around the country at its own annual Head Race on the River Soar on Saturday 20th November. This event is much anticipated because it has not taken place since 2018, after being cancelled because of flooding in 2019 and Covid in 2020.