Racing galore at Hexham Regatta

In 1878 the good folk of Hexham formed the town’s rowing club. They could little have imagined that, 136 years later, the club’s regatta on the River Tyne would attract 410 entries with 1,500 competitors taking part in one of the largest single day club regattas in the UK.

Held on Saturday, 7th June, this year’s Hexham Regatta featured hard-fought racing with the Victor Ludorum eventually being shared by Talking Tarn ARC and Durham ARC – who ended up with identical point totals.

With a two lane course, many crews had multiple races to win through before earning the chance to win a special victory medal in their respective final.

Peter Hoare, Regatta Secretary, said: “We had to opt for a free start this year due to the number of entries and races.”

Competitors had experienced mixed weather with racing beginning on time at 8am in – initially – fine and dry conditions. However, by early afternoon rain had set in. Torrential at times, coupled with the breeze made for challenging conditions for all the crews.

The Durham University colleges were well represented, especially in the men’s and women’s fours and eights events. 

The one dead heat of the day was the pick of the close racing, with two exhausted crews from University College and John Snow College in IM2 fours returning to the start for a re-row that University College hung on to win.

Collingwood College had a good day in the eights, winning women’s novice and men’s IM3 eights.

Junior racing was also well represented with Hexham Rowing Club’s emerging junior section gaining a rare win at their home regatta in the boys’ J15 doubles.

Hexham juniors are usually overshadowed by their boathouse neighbours Queen Elizabeth High School (QEHS), who again had a successful regatta in the junior sculling and rowing events.

The QEHS J16 girls’ crew won J16 fours and quads in fiercely contested races and then split into a double and single to win those events too.

Durham’s Aidan Rushworth brought his club two victories towards their Victor Ludorum in a notable display of single sculling, winning both J15 and J16 singles.

Those athletes who made it into the last few races of the day were rewarded when the rain finally stopped, the sky cleared and the River Tyne became flat without a breath of wind as they left the water to collect their medals.

As the event drew to a close, Regatta Committee Chairman Barney Hawkins said, “People love coming to Hexham Regatta because of days like today. Good job.”

To find out more about the 2014 Hexham Regatta, visit www.hexhamrc.co.uk/regatta.html.

Kevin Oates

For more photos from a fantastic day on the River Tyne, visit the Northern Rowing Facebook page.

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