On Saturday 7th September, a mini bus of fool-hardy men, with a jolly boat in tow, set out determinedly towards London with the glory of the Great River Race in their sights. As the sun rose, banter was in full flow between the local five man crew; Robert Jones, Hugh Mackworth-Praed, Carlton Barnard, Ollie Lea and Guy Fisher. Recent success for the two-year-old crew included first place at the Hamble River Raid in their category, but this could not compare with the feats of the 21 mile course they were about to embark on. Hoping to improve on their position of 22nd in last year’s race, the crew limbered up upon arrival at the start among the other competitors. Dutch, Welsh and Sea Cadets there were aplenty and the varied outfits and modes of river transport contributed to the festival atmosphere of the event.
The beginning of the race proved a bit of a bun fight as the river was flooded with boats in their various categories. But as time wore on, the boats spread out as the serious competitors sped ahead of the amateurs. Spectators applauded on every bridge from Greenwich to Richmond as the Henley crew pushed along the course, overtaking the masses. Coming in to the finish after an impressive two hours and twenty-five minutes, the crew were exhausted but happy with their performance, improving on their position from last year by eight places. Representing the River Time Boat Trust http://www.rivertimeboattrust.org.uk/in the race, the crew could be proud that they had done something great for their chosen charity as well. The day culminated with high spirits and ale, and a very jolly crew.
To watch a video of the race go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELqg1OLtFnc