Henley Royal Regatta report and results

Finals day at Henley Royal Regatta, an event which started on Wednesday and has featured more than 1600 rowers from 18 nations in 301 crews, produced some fine races despite early blustery conditions and sometimes torrential rain.
Henley’s Blue Riband event, the Grand Challenge Cup for men’s eights, was won by Victoria City R.C. & Kingston R.C. of Canada against the University of Southern California, USA, in a time of 6:29.  The Californian crew, including six members of the Estonian national eight, had a half-length lead at the mile marker but were subsequently overhauled and beaten by two lengths.
South African Ramon di Clemente successfully defended his Silver Goblets & Nickalls’ Challenge Cup (men’s pair) title but victory this time came with a new partner, Shaun Keeling. The duo now head for Beijing and this summer’s Olympic Games.
Earlier an all-American affair opened the programme of finals when Wes Piermarini and Elliot Hovey reinforced the result of the recent US Olympic trials by once more defeating brothers Thomas and Peter Graves in the Double Sculls Challenge Cup.  The winning time was 7:35 and by a distance of one and a quarter lengths.
Estonia provided a Queen Mother Challenge Cup (men’s quadruple sculls) winner for the first time at Henley when R.C. Viljandi & R. C. Narva Energia built on a good start to keep their race well in hand over California Rowing Club in which Piermarini and Hovey were contesting their second Final of the day.
Amongst the British winners, in a time of 7:53, were British Olympian Ian Lawson in the Diamond Challenge Sculls and members of the GB women’s lightweight squad, racing in the Princess Grace Challenge Cup for women’s elite quadruple sculls as a Wallingford RC & Reading University composite. They won in style, dominating their race against the Upper Thames crew. The win returns the trophy to British hands for the first time since 2004.
Conversely the GB men’s lightweight quadruple sculls, racing here as Leander Club & London R.C., were beaten in a tight tussle with California Rowing Club in the Prince of Wales Challenge Cup.
Two composite British entries fought out the Remenham Challenge Cup for elite women’s eights with the Leander & Wallingford clubs composite winning by three lengths in 7:31 from a Leander & Furnivall composite.  The winners form the potential GB women’s eight for this year’s European Championships.
British clubs enjoyed some success in the club events. Molesey B.C. beat Ortner Boat Club to win the Britannia Challenge Cup for coxed fours. The Ortner crew, which contained four rowers from the ARA’s successful World Class Start scheme, struggled to match the experience of the London-based club.
The Wyfold Challenge Cup for club fours was won by Tyne Rowing Club, stroked by 2007 Junior World Champion Kieran Emery. They held off London Rowing Club to record the club’s first Henley win since 1984.
National Indoor Rowing Champion Graham Benton had hoped to add an outdoor title to his indoor successes but Leander Club spoilt the script by winning the Thames Challenge Cup for club eights over The Tideway Scullers School in 6:47.
An early clash in neutral water during the Visitors’ Challenge Cup between Imperial College & Kingston R.C. produced damage to both boats and the race was, therefore, restarted two hours later and was won by the Imperial & Kingston composite featuring Kieran West, 2000 Sydney Olympic Games gold medallist.
The Canadian crew from the University of Western Ontario beat Trinity College, Hartford, USA, in the Temple Challenge Cup for University eights whilst Newcastle University won the Prince Albert Challenge Cup for student coxed fours ­ the University’s first Henley title in that event.
The Thames Challenge Cup, for club eights produced one of the closest races of the day and was won by Leander Club over The Tideway Scullers School with the verdict being a canvas.  Leander Club also won the Ladies’ Challenge Plate with a tightly drilled crew proving too much for Dutch opposition.
Ireland picked up its first Henley title since the 1970s when Caroline Ryan took an early lead in the Princess Royal Challenge Cup over GB squad member Matilda Pauls and was then never troubled.
Cambridge University’s crew out-powered Greek opposition to take the Stewards’ Challenge Cup for elite men’s fours.  The Cambridge crew featured four of this year’s Blue Boat who recently raced as a second GB four at the World Cup in Poznan.
Canada’s Shawnigan Lake School took the title in the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup, for junior men’s eights, emerging from a very evenly-matched contest with Eton College.
After a tough weekend of racing that included the first dead-heat decision since 2001, Peterborough City R.C. & Nottingham R.C. won the Fawley Challenge Cup for junior quadruple sculls. They beat Marlow R.C. ‘A’ in the final.
Full results in order of racing:
Double Sculls Challenge Cup:
W.D. Piermarini & E.M Hovey, California Rowing Club USA beat P.F. Graves &
T.H. Graves, Bantam Boat Club USA. Time: 7:35.
Britannia Challenge Cup:
Molesey B.C. beat Ortner B.C. Time:  7:26
Princess Grace Challenge Cup
Wallingford R.C. & Reading University beat Upper Thames R.C.  Time:  7:53
Temple Challenge Cup
University of Western Ontario, Canada, beat Trinity College, Hartford, USA.
Time:  6:42
Silver Goblets & Nickalls¹
S.B. Keeling & R.P.Di Clemente, RSA, beat O.L.E. Ruckbrodt & F. Otto,
Germany. Time: 7:47
Wyfold Challenge Cup
Tyne R.C. beat London R.C. Time:  7:26
Prince Albert Challenge Cup
Newcastle University beat University of West of England. Time:  7:39
Thames Challenge Cup
Leander Club beat The Tideway Scullers¹ School. Time:  6:47
Visitors¹ Challenge Cup
Imperial College & Kingston R.C. beat Martyrs B.C. & Christ Church, Oxford.
Time:  7:08
The Grand Challenge Cup
Victoria City R.C. & Kingston R.C., Canada, beat University of Southern
California, USA. Time:  6:29
The Prince of Wales Challenge Cup
California Rowing Club, USA, beat Leander Club & London R.C. Time:  6:52
The Ladies¹ Challenge Plate
Leander Club beat R.S.V Univ. Okeanos & D.S.R. Laga, Netherlands. Time:
The Princess Royal Challenge Cup
Caroline Ryan, Ireland, beat Matilda Pauls Time: 9:18
The Stewards¹ Challenge Cup
Cambridge University beat O.E.A & N.A.V. & N.C Thessaloniki, Greece. Time:
Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup
Shawnigan Lake School, Canada, beat Eton College. Time:  6:48
Queen Mother Challenge Cup
R.C. Viljandi & R.C. Narva Energia, Estonia, beat California Rowing Club,
USA. Time:  6:47
Remenham Challenge Cup
Leander Club & Wallingford R.C. beat Furnivall ScC & Leander Club. Time:
Diamonds Challenge Sculls
I.J. Lawson beat S.M. Jacob, Ireland. Time: 8:10
Fawley Challenge Cup
Peterborough City R.C. & Nottingham R.C beat Marlow R.C. Time: 7:10