Race Report

St Neots
02 July 2016

We are British. We are obsessed with the weather. Can we not just have one damn day of sun without wind and a torrential downpour?? I know that this is a water sport but is it a hail sport? No. Fortunately, that only lasted for a few minutes at the start of the “3.5km” race. Despite the mixed bag of weather, there were reports of many sun-kissed, tomato-toned faces at the end of the day…..and one beetroot (Trotter).

Anyway, enough of such gibberish. We gathered together a Ladies’ crew for the first time for two years! Whoop! And what a fine-looking bunch. The first heat was against Windy Ladies. It was a really close race but the Amazonian Secklowites were edged out by a quarter of a second. In the second heat (roughly 45 seconds after the first), the ladies were up against Cambridgeshire Royals…..unfortunately, the Secklow sirens were in Lane 1 (which proved to be like paddling in treacle with your paddle tied behind your back) so a respectable second place was all that could be hoped for. This was the first time that either combination of the 12 paddlers had raced together, so I fully expect great strides of improvement as the season continues.

Open and Mixed races, Heat 1:

Secklow Hundred were in the soupy lane 1. After a storming start against our rivals Windy Pandas and Kingston, we forgot to transition……if we were fitter it would have worked……but we aren’t, so it didn’t…..and so we finished with a third place against two strong crews. In the build-up to this race, our Captain contrived to implant bits of his paddle in his right hand. With blood streaming and plastic interfering with normal finger operation, it was time to head to A&E with St John’s just happy that they’d been useful……

Secks Appeal were up against Powerhouse and Notts Anaconda. With only 14 paddlers (and, again, a combination that had never raced together before) it was a fantastic effort against a Prem crew and a wannabe Prem outfit. Looking strong throughout, they were undone purely by paddler numbers and stamina. Both will improve!

Heat 2:

Hundred were in lane 2, with Cambridgeshire Royals in 1 and St Neots Too in 3. A strong start burnt off St Neots, but Royals were up (slightly disappointingly). Royals were getting reeled in slowly but surely but, in the last third, it all got a little excitable and frantic and we were pipped on the line by 8 hundredths of a second.

Appeal were in the (quite horrible) lane 1 against Prem crew Raging Dragons. Another strong performance but, again, undone by lack of numbers in the boat and a ridiculous disadvantage in the lane draw.

Heat 3:

Appeal were in lane 2 against Prem crew Typhoon (champs over 200m) and the flying Henley team. Despite being better looking than either of the other two unfortunately, in this competition, it is speed that counts and third place beckoned.

Hundred were in the coveted lane 3, with those pesky Royals on the inside in lane 2. Again it was a closely-fought battle. Again, there were only hundredths in it. Royals thought we’d won. The officials thought otherwise. Again, the final third of the race got a little snatchy and that is where the business end of racing counts.


Secks Appeal came second in the Bowl! The first non-scratch trophy of the Secksy regime! Congratulations!!

Hundred: another close race against Powerhouse and Windy Pandas. Second. After a phenomenal start, we ran out of steam and got short in the final third again.

3.5km Race (yes…..I’m running out of steam with this report):

We fired up well and the run upstream felt good and strong. Calls for leg drive, reach and rotation brought an excellent response each time and we were catching Windy Pandas with every stroke. Powerhouse were nowhere near us. At the turn……well, we tried the amphibious approach. Unsurprisingly, a boat does not gain wheels when exploring the undergrowth so we were stranded for what felt like several minutes (but was probably only 20 or 30 seconds). It was enough for Powerhouse to get on our chuff and for Windy to be a speck in the distance……however, once we’d fired up and got going again, we lost the northerners and were oh-so-close to reeling in the Pandas. We crossed the line fifth in the Plate but within reach of 2nd and also the last few Cup places. A very entertaining race all around.


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