Hot on the heels of the first West of England Championship regatta of the season at Plymouth last week, the Wimbleball Lake hosted its regatta on Exmoor on Saturday.
The venue provides ideal racing for all crews over the 1,000 metre course with no tidal constraints or advantages to be gained by all the competing crews.
There was a large entry from just about all the clubs in the South West which included entries from Gloucester, Taunton, and Kingswood School from Bath.
Although securing a number of second and third places, Bideford Reds had to thank the efforts of their ladies’ eight for their only victory of the day.
The crew of Emma Prust, Eloise Hunt, Rebecca Parkyn, Chloe Pennington, Hannah Vincent, Libbie Willis, Jess Cox and Abbie Jones along with cox Adam Curtis held off a challenge from Paignton to win the race in a boat borrowed from the home club.
Following their equipment failure at Plymouth when an oar snapped in half part way down the course - which still saw them limp home in third place - the junior 16 ladies’ crew of Kayla Johnson, Georgia O’Connor, Olivia Pearce and Freya Vincent at least had the opportunity of getting themselves back into championship contention with a second place.
For the Blues, it was a busy day for Declan Monaghan who gained third place in the men’s novice single sculls heat and went on to finish fifth in the final. In his third race of the day he finished eighth in the under 18 single sculls.
It was the first regatta for the new crew of Sam Dolby, Mandy Mills, Shauna Thompson and Christine Michael who put in a very good effort and finished sixth in the women’s novice fours. They replaced Christine with Keeley Mills to take part in the women’s senior C race and came a very respectable fourth.
It was two races for Ricky Kelly, Tim Henry, Brian Andrew, James Yeo and cox Charlie Colwill. The crew finished third in the men’s novice race and eight in the men’s senior C race.
Club wins came from Kirsty Snow, Charlotte Berry, Shelby May, Shannon Monaghan with cox Colin Pennington in the ladies’ novice race. In their next race, this time with Tina Robertson coxing the girls, they put on a fantastic performance and won the ladies’ under 18s’ race by three lengths from Plymouth.
It was also victory for Dave Byrnes and Ali Peake in the men’s senior B double sculls. Dave went on to finish third in the men’s senior B sculls.
It was an exciting race in the men’s masters. The crew of Dave Bates, Dave Powe, Dave Brown and Ali Peake trailed behind the other Blues crew of Neil Pennington, Colin Pennington, Nigel Cann and Steve Clements until the finish line when Bates, Powe, Brown and Peake made a surge for the line and claimed victory.
Ali Peake, Colin Pennington, Mandy Mills and Sam Dolby joined together for the masters’ mixed race and claimed first place.
The championship circuit moves on to Exeter on Saturday, July 11.