Wallingford triumphs at Veteran Fours Head

A year after having to race upstream due to tidal conditions, competitors in the Veteran Fours Head of the River found themselves having to accommodate the weather again on Sunday, as heavy rain before the start prompted the organisers to shorten the course so that it finished at the British Rowing raft just short of Hammersmith Bridge.

The move was precautionary, taking into account previous races where rain and adverse winds had swamped crews on the stretch from Hammersmith to Putney.

No worries for the Wallingford C4x, which retained the Head of the River title in a time of 11 minutes 22.73 seconds, although it was a closer affair for them this year as they finished less than a second ahead of the Peterborough City/Upper Thames/Star Club composite B4x, which clocked 11:23.22.

Despite all the grey clouds, Wallingford had a brilliant day as they also won the G4- (with Quintin) and women’s D4x- events – a very happy hat-trick. “We have a very strong vets section,” said club captain Tim Brock. “For these rowers it’s all about hard work.”

Third place overall went to the A4x crew from King’s College School, which numbered several of the School’s rowing coaches and finished in 11:28.45. They finished a place clear of the Twickenham/Auriol Kensington/Thames composite which finished second in its C4x class behind Wallingford in 11:33.14.

In sixth place overall, retaining their D4x title, were Walton RC, who recorded a time of 11:42.70.

Two of the Broxbourne crew narrowly beaten in that category last year – Rob Alexander and Chris Heathcote – tasted success on the day in the C4- category, recording 11:57.64.

First women home were the WB 4x composite from Reading/Marlow/Strathclyde Park, finishing 21st overall in 12:12.39. The fastest women’s four was a WA/B crew from Mortlake, Anglian and Alpha who finished in 12:34.38 and 37th overall. 

Meanwhile a US crew from the Marin Rowing Association, coxed by former GB gold medallist Adrian Ellison, won the E4+ in 12:34.37.

Report by Mike Rowbottom
Photos by BigBlade