Blue Friars Head Race, October 7th

8th October, 2023

Yellow vests outnumbered all other boats at our first Head Race on the Avon this season. And there were many Minerva wins – what a great day for everyone!

It was 12.30 on as beautiful day as Minerva had seen all summer but storm clouds were already gathering. A battle of 2 mighty Minerva Midweeker crews – the women’s 4x+ low CRI and the mixed open 4x+ low CRI – was going to put paid to an otherwise serene September weekend.

Numbered 181 and 182 respectively, it was always going to be tense. No chat between crews, distance between boats before for the start. Both ready for a fight to the death. The women’s quad of Sarah, Donna, Lindsay and Flic and coxed by legendary Ian Burdis, crossed the start line at a strong rate. Just not strong enough. The mixed quad of Rod, Brodie, Heidi and Chris, coxed by steely Lorna McIsaac, also started strong. Their blades cutting the water like sharpened swords, this male dominated crew made an early attack taking the women at the first kilometre.

Minerva on water at Blue Friars

The mixed quad continued to draw away for two thirds of the race but in the final 1250, the women’s crew began to make up the distance. Too little too late however. At the end of the 3250 metre race, the mixed quad achieved a rapid 14.03 minutes and the women a respectable 15.33 minutes.

And yet. By some cruel twist of fate (ie, racing rules) the mixed crew were not to be rewarded for their efforts. With no other entrant in their class, it was akin to a dead rubber. Meanwhile, spoils were awarded to the women’s crew who beat their class rival (from Millfield no less) and each received an Avon County Blue Friars mug. Treasure indeed!

Midweeker’s report by Lindsay Whitmore

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