Following last year’s inaugural Jorvik BC vs. UYBC race ended in a somewhat controversial ‘dead heat’, Jorvik returned to Henley on Saturday with the hope of extending their unbeaten run.
With only two returning Jorvikian’s from last year, Matt Richardson at Bow and James Padmore in the 5 seat, there were question marks over whether Jorvik would be able to raise their game with some fresh blood entering the mix. Thankfully experience was on Jorvik’s side (literally) with Bill Pollard (UYBC President 1988) joining Matt (President 1987) in the bows to help bolster the average age of the crew.
Having planned to meet at 2pm to allow plenty of time to faff, the full crew didn’t arrive until 2:30 – naturally. After giving the boat a quick going over – the addition of seats was a good start – and stealing a spare cox box from UYBC, the crew came together for the pre-race chat. After much discussion the race plan was laid out; go off hard and rate as high as you can. Then after a while go harder and then if there is anything left at the finish go harder still. Finally it was agreed that whatever happened at the finish, the crew would celebrate regardless.
The warm up essentially consisted of 5 minutes of attempting to row all 8, followed by 20 minutes of starts which progressively improved. Whereas last year half the crew hadn’t touched a blade in anger in over 5 years, this year Jorvik were joined by 3 recently graduated members of the 2011 UYBC 1st VIII, but now proud Jorvikians – Roz Wood (cox), Tom Bullpit (Stroke) and John Underwood (4). Dan Steele who last year at the 11th hour was drafted into the UYBC boat as a sub, finally got to represent Jorvik in the 3 seat.
As Jorvik approached the start they found that UYBC had already taken up position on the inside of the bend. With experience and guile on their side, Jorvik span in front, stole the inside line and promptly informed UYBC the course had been shortened to approximately 350m to reduce the risk of indigestion and heart attacks. Health and Safety is always a top priority at Jorvik BC!
Once the boats were lined up and ready to go, the crews were started. Led by the stern pair of Tom and Chris Owen (UYBC President 2007). As per the pre-race chat, the rate was high – some would say too high – but was dutifully sent down the boat by Mr Rhythm himself, Jack Savage in the 6 seat. After 15 strokes in, both crews were level and so the make or break ‘Hammer Time’ call was made – 10 of the biggest, hardest strokes you can do. Coming into the last 100m’s the crews were still neck and neck so another ‘Hammer Time’ call came through the speakers. With legs screaming and lungs burning, Jorvik went for one final push, bumped the rate up, shortened their strokes even further and clung on for dear life.
As the boats crossed the finish line Jorvik celebrated as per the race plan. Thankfully, they actually had something to celebrate about, having clinched victory by a canvas! Thankfully no defibrillators were required and after shaking hands and posing for photos with the boat, the crew retired to the pub to savour their hard-fought victory. Jorvik BC crew below:
Cox – Rosamund Wood (Graduated 2011)
Stroke – Tom Bulpitt (2011)
7 – Chris Owen (2007)
6 – Jack Savage (2009)
5 – James Padmore (2006)
4 – John Underwood (2011)
3 – Dan Steele (2011)
2 – Bill Pollard (1989)
Bow – Matt Richardson (1988)