Record entries at 150th York Regatta

As the GB Rowing Team men’s four, stroked by Yorkshireman Andrew Triggs Hodge, battered the competition at the second World Rowing Cup in France, another crew was celebrating in the 150th York Regatta at the weekend.

A women’s novice eight from Van Mildert College from Durham University had their own special victory when they won their first race and put points on their tally for the first time. 

Audrey Bellis at stroke – like the rest of the crew – was ecstatic. She said: “That was a great race. We had a really strong start and went away from St Aidan’s College (also from Durham) from the beginning. We were rating an average of 36 but at one point we went up to 40. We’re delighted.”

With its long bend at the start, York Regatta is a testing race for all crews but makes for interesting competition with all the advantage on the Minster side of the River Ouse until crews come under the railway bridge where the race is normally decided, or, at least, balanced.

And so it was for the men’s IM3 coxed four which was taken by York City, beating Durham University’s Trevelyan College by two lengths at the boat house, stroked by Luke Cooper and backed up by Micah Cooper, Sebastian Reid and Paul Wainwright at bow.

One stand-out event was the Masters I quad race between York and Nottingham. The York quad featured local legend Dick Gradley, 82, an Olympic gymnast at the 1960 Games in Rome. Though beaten by the visitors from the Midlands, both crews earned the respect of the crowds who applauded enthusiastically.

Rounding off the regatta was the Challenge Cup, a blue riband event at York for coxed fours, which was captured mercilessly by the host team at the end of a long day.

Stroke, Dan Lewis, Ben Bollans, Gav Campbell, Chris Wright and cox Andy Wilkinson took the trophy from Durham University’s St Aidan’s College by a length and half.

A special mention must be made for Nottingham’s newest club, Devil’s Elbow, whose novice women’s double made an excellent debut and collected their first points.

Afterwards Regatta Secretary Anne Homa said: “It’s been a good day of racing. We’ve had 198 entries which is a massive record for us and very encouraging when you consider we had to cancel this event two years ago for lack of entries.

“We’ve had a lot of entries particularly at the junior level with schools across the region putting in crews. And, it being end of term, we have had a lot of crews from Durham University for their last hurrah.

“Also York is such a lovely setting, with the cathedral in the background, and the fact that the Tour de France is coming here in two weeks has brought a lot of people in as competitors and spectators.”

By Ian Green