Henley Dragons Winter Series – Race 4

First of all, big thanks to everyone who braved the weather on Sunday despite the cold and rain – well, that’s Winter Series. We would also like to thank all the volunteers who helped with the event organisation.

The Race Report by Richard Parham

The final round of the Henley Winter Series took place in last Sunday’s wind and rain, with Henley Dragons welcoming crews from Exeter, Bristol, Worcester, Liverpool, Milton Keynes, St. Neots and London.

A previous round of the series had to be put off because the Environment Agency issued a status red warning in the days before the event and last Saturday with river levels and flow rates rising the Agency issued an amber warning. Luckily that status remained unchanged for Sunday morning and the event went ahead for eleven Dragon Boats and three outrigger canoes.

DSCF9638Although conditions meant that crews posted slower times for the seven kilometre pursuit, the results table showed the normal order. First home were Rafters, followed by Wraysbury, Amathus, Typhoon, Henley, Bristol, St. Neots/Secklow composite, Raging, Exe-Calibre, Worcester and finally with an excellent performance in a ten-man boat, Exe-10.

Henley enjoyed chasing down Raging Dragons who started 45 seconds ahead, catching them on the upstream return just as the crews reached the Leander Club. Both boats emerged from the arches of Henley Bridge with Raging Dragons just a nose ahead, but Henley helm Dave Rollinson had chosen the better race line. The crews battled side by side blades clashing occasionally, and Raging’s helm pressing Henley towards the trees on the Eyot. Raging’s skipper repeatedly called for a burst, Henley skipper James Blake called for cool concentration as the battle continued upstream past both islands. Henley gradually pulled ahead and at the turn pressed home their advantage and sprinted the last 500 metres to the finish line.

In the points table for the 2016/17 Henley Winter Series, Henley were disappointed to miss out on third place by one point behind Exe-Calibre in third, Wraysbury second and Rafters top.

Following the event, paddlers were entertained by the Beaufort Band who performed a selection of popular music.

The Results – Dragon Boats

No# Team Time
1 Rafters 30m 51s
2 Wraysbury 32m 55s
3 Amathus 35m 12s
4 Typhoon 35m 15s
5 Henley 36m 21s
6 Bristol 36m 22s
7 St. Seksy 36m 48s
8 Raging Dragons 36m 52s
9 Exe-Calibre 37m 43s
10 Worcester 37m 43s
11 Exe-10 28m 17s

The Results -Outriggers

No# Team Time
1 Barbarians 34m 10s
2 Royal Canoe Club 35m 40s
3 Paddlesport 36m 13s

The Overall Results

No# Team Points
1 Rafters 64pt
2 Wraysbury 60pt
3 Exe-Calibre 47pt
4 Henley 46pt
5 Raging Dragons 41pt

The Captain’s report by James Blake

Today saw HDBC take part in the final HWS 2016 series. The conditions were tough with the river on ‘Amber’ and winds changing direction constantly.

Today’s team saw some last minute changes and thanks goes to Ben Harvey for volunteering at 8 pm last night.

I spoke to the team at the start about a favourite coaching phrase of mine ‘Marginal Gains’. I wanted us to look at all the little things we can change to find the extra few seconds. I wanted everyone to respond to calls and push that little bit more.

We had 9x20s, 1×10 and 3xOC6s racing today so we knew it would be a good event. There were no charity crews today which meant we were racing against strong BDA crews.

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