In prospect the Pairs Head promises to be a bit easier than the other winter head races. It's shorter for one thing, the weather's a little warmer and we can hardly complain about the paddle back from Hammersmith Bridge.
In practice those mellow delusions are pretty much knocked out of you before you've passed Barnes Bridge. Everyone simply compensates for the shorter distance by rowing harder. This year, the presence of a number of British internationals in the field helped keep standards high.
Pushing off from the Sons pontoon were six of our own crews – a lot of work from Drago and Tony ensuring that every available boat was ready to race. There were quite a number of visitors too from all over the country with doubles and pairs crowding the walkway by the river wall.
A wind that seemed mostly out of the West and a strong stream promised some fast times, with autumnal showers helping to keep heat stroke at bay.
The stand-out performance from Sons has to be Les Scrine and Brad Boerike in the Vet D 2x. Third in the same division last year they improved by one place to take second place, just four seconds behind the winners from Walton Rowing Club.
Almost as close behind the winners of Vet B 2x were Ed Hillyard and Sam Haeta. But very similar performance from the leading boats meant this highly competitive time only secured fifth place. A good row none-the-less – particularly as a number of scullers in this division are rumoured to have been competing at international level fairly recently.
Also worth a mention or a rumble of approval, the fourth place in the Women's Vet B 2x from Faith Jamieson and Alex Ayakatsikas. All in all some decent racing performances from the club – and volunteering too. A number of other members were kind enough to help run the race and make this important national event possible.