The first national regatta of 2016. The event that people dread for the frosty weather and onslaught of waves. The event that has club member and Icon Sports owner Mark Ressel rubbing his hands at the prospect of flogging a fresh batch of spray decks. The event that requires a scouting badge for bravery (or foolishness) to be given to anyone that opted for a tent over a B&B.
But not this year. This was no normal April regatta. It was warm! It was sunny! And there was even a pleasant tailwind on the Sunday!
Held at the National Watersports Centre in Nottingham, the first national regatta of the year was an opportunity for club members to put their winter training to the test. Those that have spent the last few month battling the flow of the Thames and the encroaching winter nights, were finally given an opportunity to shine. And shine they did!
The Royal team camped out together at one the final 100m stretch of the course to cheer on the paddlers when they most needed the support.
The supporters didn’t have to wait long for the first success of the day. The first kayak final down the course saw Abi finish in first place as part of scratch crew, comprising members from other clubs. Her excellent performance meant the all-Royal crew drew a close second place.
This was quickly followed with another strong performance from Commodore Jon Boyton. Racing in the Mens A 1000m K1 final, Jon once again proved his credentials as the fastest British paddler over the distance. Only Irish rival Mike Fitzsimons could edge Jon into second place. Job will no doubt have his revenge when on the international stage throughout the season.
The club’s other top senior male paddler, Matt Bowley, had a remarkably consistent weekend. He notched up a total of four wins, including a win in the Mens A K1 500m – a considerable coup for a man known more for his endurance than his raw speed. The other wins came in the K2 1000m, K4 500m and K4 1000m.
The results sheet of junior girl Rene Myburgh was equally impressive. She won all the races she entered in the Girls A division (K1 200m, K1 500, K2 500m) and claimed a second place in the joint senior/junior K4 500m race. Her junior crew came just 3 seconds down on the first placed senior crew.
The weekend also saw terrific performances from junior girls Zoe Clark and Molly Carter, who were both promoted to higher division. Zoe was promoted to Girls B, after a string of strong K1 performances in Girls C (2nd in 200m, 3rd in 500m and 4th in 1000m). Molly was promoted to Girls C, having raced well to finish 7th in the Girls D 500m.
These are just a few of the many great achievements by club members. There will no doubt be many great results throughout the sprint racing season, as we build up to the all-important Inter-Club regatta in September. And, of course, the next regatta is less than a month away now.