On Friday night, Kim, Alex, Dennis and Nick drove up to Bendigo with the boat trailer and arrived at Lakeside Motel on a balmy warm evening. Then up early to discover quite a different Bendigo with howling winds and lashing rain.
Richmond Rowing Club had a pretty good showing at Bendigo with over 26 members plus friends and partners competing in 18 races.
For the novices it was quite new so we met up early and once boats were rigged and checked, we stood around shivering in the cold under the RRC tent. The first Male Novice Coxed Four race was at 11.24am and the crew was Lachlan Stewart, Weijie Weng, Amir Mahdavia, Nick Mercer and coxed by Ally Dejaegher. In the row up to the start we did a couple of wobbly race starts and before we knew it we were under race start orders. Knowing the distance was only 480m we knew we had to start well but given our lack of experience we decided to keep the rating a bit lower and find our boat balance. We were up against the local club novice crew from Bendigo but we rowed home winners by 4 seconds.
The second novice race was the Male Novice Coxed Quad Scull and saw us drop out Amir and bring in Red Skelton with our cox being Michelle Joy. In this race we were up against Dimboola and the ‘fancied’ Melbourne Argonauts. Again, we practiced a couple of race starts and got ourselves ready for the start. This time due to the cross winds the starter held us a bit longer and you could feel a few nerves in the boat. But under the skilled guidance of Michelle we took off with a nice start and flew past Dimboola but in the middle of the race the Argonauts came level. Upping the rating we managed to get our bows level and finished together. Though to be honest we thought we’d blown it but we’d snuck in the win by 0.46 seconds.
The senior teams all performed pretty well and in all, RRC walked away winning six races; The Female D coxed quad scull won their final in a time of 1.40:99 comprised of Sara Houghton, Dana Hill, Karen Doggett, Ally Dejaegher. Coxed by Stef Dudczig and coached by Matt & Derek. In the Male D grade coxed four final, Richmond 1 had the better of Richmond 2 and took out their final in 1.29:80. The winning crew comprised of Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey, Andrew Yuile, coxed by Shern Timmins and coached by Matt and Derek.
In the Male D grade pair final, Jon Roberts and Allan Randall won their race quite easily. And then we had the final race which saw the fastest time recorded that day by a Richmond crew. The mixed coxed eight looked fantastic on the course and romped home in 1.23:07. This crew comprised of Sara Houghton, Dana Hill, Jon Roberts, Allan Randall, John Carey, Andrew Yuile, Karen Doggett and Michelle Joy. Coxed beautifully by Stef Dudczig and coached by Matt and Derek.
The visit to Bendigo was also quite memorable for a couple of other reasons. Firstly, the committee who had already bought a new tent must have known about the howling winds in Bendigo as during the day a huge gust literally blew away our old tent which may not be repairable? And finally, an un-official protest has been lodged by Red Skelton and Mikey G who complained the sound of the finishing bell was way below their audible hearing, necessitating a most spectacular stop into the bank. Gladly there were no injuries to crew or boat.
All in all, despite the poor weather a great day was had by many and RRC won on a number of levels coming away with a total of twenty-six rather nice local pottery mugs, five coxs medals and a better rowing score for many.