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Bedford Regatta

Bedford Regatta

On Saturday 6th May, GMSBC went to Bedford to compete in one of the few remaining old style river regattas.  These events have two boats racing each other for the right to proceed to the next round; a straight forward knock out competition with three or four rounds. To win an event means racing four 1 kilometre long races spaced throughout the day. That is if you are only participating in one event. Four of the GMSBC crews doubled up into other events meaning, in several instances, back to back races against fresher opponents.

The first race was at 08:20, following an 05:15 departure to make it, for our top Girls’ Quad. While a few crews had a more leisurely start we were quickly into rapid turn over of crews and boats as we progressed through the rounds. Of the eighteen races we competed in, the semi final of the Year 9 Girls’ Octo was the closest. Half a length down, with a minute left in the race, the girls made a determined attack and edged ever closer to the lead. Four separate spectators, including two GMSBC coaches could not be sure who had won as they crossed the line neck and neck. The official verdict went against us by 1 foot. Apart from this epic battle, every crew won at least one race and the senior girls, who split into a four and a quad, both raced well but were beaten by the winners by under a length in their respective events.

The last race of the day was at 19:30, over 11 hours after our first race and involving the four girls from that first race. It was the final of Elite Women’s Eights. The Girls’ Eight had already eliminated two top class adult crews to reach the final, so the quad  had already raced six times and lost in a tight final to Shiplake, as they sat on the start line for their last chance of glory this day.

Due to the river being slightly curved the crews do not actually start level but have a stagger, which unwinds over the course. Our eight started one length down and as the curve gave them an advantage, they gradually clawed back some distance but by half way with the vast majority of the stagger unwound they were still 2/3s of a length down. Legs completely shot from their previous races, still not being able to see their opponents, the prospects were not great.

However, marginally at first, their boat crept forward against the opposition. With 60 seconds left of the course, the question was could they make up the deficit in time, with screaming thighs and bursting lungs, the crew as a whole drove forward. The GMS senior Girls’ Eight won Open Elite Women’s Eights in the fastest time of the day, after 11 hours of racing and a total of 9 races.

Well done to everyone, you have made GMS very proud indeed.

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