With regatta season gathering momentum Richmond Rowing Club saw themselves heading out to Dimboola for a Saturday of sprint racing followed by a Sunday of head races. Most made the 3.5 hour journey on Friday evening, rooms had been booked in Horsham for the majority and a few of us chose to brave camping near by in Dimboola. The campers had dinner in the Dimboola pub and I have to say it was the most ‘English Pub’ I have been to in Australia which was a great start to the weekend! We survived a night under canvas with the wildlife (kangaroos and emus a plenty and no, there weren’t any monkeys, they were kookaburras but plenty of other interesting noises.)
Anyway – Saturday morning was time for the 132nd Dimboola regatta. And we were ready! A few of us walked up the river to see the start and check the course. 3 lanes, not buoyed but well marked with a couple of bends (probably insignificant to anyone not steering), 750m.
The Female Masters 4x+ started the day by example winning their race, well done to the ladies of Richmond for getting the first medal of the day Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, Cox: Aline Dejaegher. We hoped it was a sign of things to come. Unfortunately the Male Masters 4x+, Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Cox: Christine Sullivan didn’t follow the lead coming second in their race to Powerhouse.
Next up were the Mens Open 4+ with a crew of Jon Roberts, John Carey, Dennis Beck, Michael Gehling, Cox: Michael Calvert the boys didn’t quite manage to bring it home coming second to Melbourne RC in their final.
Shern Timmins was next up for the girls in the Masters 1x placing third.
The following round was the C Grade Male 1x and Dario Sportelli and Keith Wong were representing Richmond in 2 different draws. They both came through their heats first qualifying for the final and finished both their finals off in style (or did the final finish Keith off…) with a gold medal each. Well done boys!
The Female D Grade girls 1x were next with Lillian Van Oosterhout and Kirsty Fergie in 2 different heats. Both girls came through first in their heats to face each other in the final. It was a fun race for the girls managing to get a Richmond 1,2 with Kirsty just coming in front of Lilian.
Ally Dejaegher and Susanna Mullner were in the masters 2x placing third followed by Amy Catlin and Lily Innes-Irons coming third in their first race in a 2-.
Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Michael Calvert, Tim Evans, Cox: John Carey of the Male D Grade 4+ came down the course in third place in their heat followed by Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Leigh Sullivan, Guy Ayres, Cox: Christine Sullivan Male Masters 4+ also finishing third.
Male Open 4x+ Jon Roberts, Michael Calvert, John Carey, Michael Gehling, Cox: Aline Dejaegher finished third in their heat. It was now time for the Mixed 8+ to take to the river consisting of Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Denis Henry, Philip Munson, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, Cox: Imogen Smith. Finishing 2nd in the straight final but missing out on the win.
Keith and Dario were back in a boat together hoping to mirror their C Grade 1x success however the energy spent in the earlier 1x races took its toll and they came in second place.
Ally and Kirsty took to the river again for their D Grade 2x. Having won their heat they managed to narrowly push past Horsham City in the final later in the day to claim the win and another medal. Unfortunately they didn’t get out of the heat in the C Grade 2x, coming a respectable second.
The winning streak continued with the Female D Grade 4+ Shern Timmins, Amy Catlin, Lily Innes-Irons, Lilian Van Oosterhout, plus cox Keith Wong seeing off their competition to win another gold medal – well done girls!
With races coming in thick and fast boats continued to get on and off the water,
Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Dennis Beck, Tim Evans, Cox: Shern Timmins represented in the D Grade 4x+ managing a second place in their heat.
This was followed by Mike Gehling and Dario Sportelli back in a single for the Open. In different draws Mike came second in his heat followed by Dario coming first in his heat he then powered through to win the final.
The afternoon of racing was drawing to a close with Keith Wong, Michael Calvert, Jon Roberts, John Carey, Cox: Christine Sullivan in the Male C grade 4x+ coming second in their heat followed by Shern Timmins, Lilian Van Oosterhout, Lily Innes-Irons, Susanna Mullner, Cox: Denis Henry in the Female D Grade 4x+ winning their heat but being pipped to the medals in the final.
The masters mixed 4x+ were up for the penultimate race of the day (exc finals) with Christine Sullivan, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Cox: Denis Henry Despite their handicap they came through strongly to take the win, seeing off E grade crews Wentworth and Warrnambool and another medal was theirs.
Finally was the mixed 4x+ Anthea Amos, Amy Catlin, Richard Verheyen, Dennis Beck, Cox: Aline Dejaegher who finished off the day coming third in their heat.
Overall it was a great day for Richmond with too many athletes to count taking part in 24 events.
Whilst people weren’t racing there was an awesome cheer squad at the tent with really good viewing. When we weren’t on the water it was equally fun watching other crews battle it out on the water and obviously prepare our vocal chords for when a Richmond boat was passing.
After the conclusion of the day the happy campers went back to the campsite for some fire cooked food (I tried a new Aussie delicacy of bananas stuffed with chocolate cooked on the fire in foil – YUM) and the other Richmond-ers headed back to the motel for some more civilised thai food.
And then it was Sunday and we were ready for the Head of the Wimmera. A 6.2km course finishing in the same place as the regatta. Special thanks to the coxes, some of whom I am sure would have preferred to row but enabled other crews to do so, it is always appreciated.
The Richmond crews were:
Male Open 4x+
Jon Roberts, John Carey, Dario Sportelli, Michael Gehling, Cox: Ka Ki Wong, Coach: Derek Begg
Female D Grade 4x+
Shern Timmins, Lilian Van Oosterhout, Kirsty Fergie, Aline Dejaegher, Cox: Dennis Beck, Coach: Dario Sportelli
Richard Verheyen, Steven Sheppard, Amy Catlin, Lily Innes-Irons, Cox: Michael Calvert, Coaches: Dario Sportelli, Ainsley Raggatt
Mixed Masters 8+
Christine Sullivan, Diana Vernon, Philip Munson, Tim Evens, Guy Ayres, Leigh Sullivan, Susanna Mullner, Anthea Amos, plus Denis Henry.
The row up the river was a great warm up however I’m sure I wasn’t the only one thinking, ‘I’m going to have to come back down here at race pace!’ With a couple of tricky bends on unfamiliar rivers the coxes all did a great job.
Congratulations to the Female D Grade 4x+ and Mixed Masters 8+ crews who both rounded off the weekend coming first in their categories and bringing back more bling.
With boats packed and the trailer loaded we then made a weary journey back to Melbourne, and for many a winning feeling inside!
A big thank you to Barry and Anthea for towing the trailer. Steve Sheppard for BRO’ing and to Shern for organising the accommodation and dinners. Not forgetting the coaches who constantly do a dedicated, fantastic job as well as all of those who work hard behind the scenes to make regattas happen. We all greatly appreciate it.
Having missed the Dimboola regatta and the Head of the Wimmera last year I was excited to be on the road for the long trip late on Friday afternoon. For those who don’t know Dimboola is a small country town almost halfway to Adelaide. The Richmond contingent of 13 made it to Horsham on Friday night for some food and refreshment allowing us to bring those who hadn’t been to Dimboola before up to speed with the regatta format.
The Dimboola regatta is a 750m sprint on the almost straight section of the Wimmera River that runs up to the Dimboola rowing club. It is only wide enough for 3 lanes and no transit lanes. The regatta is broken up into brackets of 5 or 6 races at a time every 20 minutes. Crews get on water and assemble just past the finish line, when the previous bracket is complete all crews row up past the start line and wait for their race to be called. Typical of country regattas there is a toggle system for stroke seat to hold to asset lining up boats at the start. With a bend just after the start and one just after the finish it make for an interesting row in singles, double and pairs.
We woke early in Horsham on Saturday morning for our 30 minutes’ drive to Dimboola to rig boats and get ready for the day. We had great conditions all weekend, 25 degrees on Saturday and 29 degree on Sunday, no rain and little wind.
Shern was first up in her single, the locals from Dimboola knowledge of the river allowed them to get away to a good start which although closing this over the race, not enough to win. The Mike’s (Gehling and Calvert) were next up successfully winning their heat in the D grade double with some tidy rowing, they came a close second to a powerful Argonauts crew in the final.
Next up was the Men’s Open 4, with Andrew Yuile unfortunately injured, myself, Allan and John Carey we were joined by our Head of Rowing Tim Evans. I was slightly concerned by Tim’s stretching and complaints of his sore back as we pushed off from the landing, but he said he would be fine. We lined up against an experienced Argonauts crew, with Stef coxing we flew off the start finding ourselves a quarter of a boat length ahead. Extending this slightly by half way, the other crew pushed for home reducing our lead, but with the encouragement of the crowd we lifted to take it home and win by 1.05 seconds.
With the unusual arrangements to get on and off water we decided to stay in the boat for the next 40 minutes until our race in the D grade 4. This time we were up against Argonauts and Melbourne crews. The previous race showed as we let Melbourne get away to a half boat lead, but regaining our composure we pushed through the last 250 meters to win by 4.77 seconds.
The races were coming thick and fast now, with Leigh, Denis, Guy and Phil, coxed by Christine up next in the Male Masters four, but unable to beat a fast Powerhouse crew.
After a quick lunch break and some more rigging of boats we could hear the local brass band starting their residency by the river for all the spectators. Up first was Shern and Stef in the double. After a strong start, they edged into the lead, only to be crashed into by one of their competition. The restart saw their competition again come towards them, with a clash of oars the Hamilton and Alexandra crew capsized their boat, but the third crew in the race had already took advantage and went on to win.
Next up was the men’s D grade 8, the scratch crew of Leigh, Guy, Tim, John C, Mike G, Mike C, Allan and myself, coxed by Christine made it comfortably through the heat with some composed and relaxed rowing. In the final we were up against Melbourne in one of the closest races of the day. Richmond getting a solid start and leading by almost half a length, both crews dug deep with Richmond holding off the fast finishing Melbourne boat by 0.85 seconds.
Mike G had a quick turnaround from the 8 into his single (which required a quick bit of rigging), in a close race he came in second. Myself and Allan zig zagged the unbuoyed course in the pair, beating Melbourne but unable to overcome the experienced Wentworth crew.
Last up for the day Denis, Guy, Phil and Leigh were joined by Wentworth in a composite male masters 8, coxed by Christine. Unfortunately they were not able to claw back enough time to beat the older Powerhouse crew.
After picking up our medals we headed back to Horsham for dinner where we recounted the successes of the day and make sure we were well hydrated for the head race the next day.
We were back to Dimboola the next day for the Head of the Wimmera, a 6.2km head race through the most picturesque area. For this race, all crew are required to get on water and row the 6.2km to the start, line up in order and then race back. It’s a real coxswain’s race, with lots of corners, including 2 very tight no overtaking bends where the right line can save vital seconds.
Richmond had 2 crews competing and one cox helping out another club at short notice. Allan, John C, Mike C and myself were coxed by Stef in the D Grade 4. Through some brilliant coxing from Stef we had an excellent line throughout, overtaking our competition in the first kilometer we pushed on to pass a number of boats and pick up the winners medals at the end.
Leigh, Guy, Denis, and Phil were again joined by Wentworth in the Open 8 coxed by Christine, with a good performed against some stiff competition on the day.
Shern was asked at short notice to cox the Argonauts C Grade 8, who came a close second in their grade and thirst fastest of all crews on the day.
A huge thank you to all those who made it a great weekend in the country, Leigh for towing the trailer, Mike G for being our official photographer. Most of all thank you to Stephen Shepherd who made the long trip for the weekend to BRO on Saturday, completing all requirements he is now a level 1 BRO!!! It’s great to see our new members getting involved like this, we always need to people to help out as BRO’s as we are required to provide a BRO (Boat Race Official) for virtually every regatta we attend. Thank you Stephen.
This really is a great regatta, an opportunity to see part of Victoria you may not otherwise visit and support the country rowing clubs who go to great lengths to organise. Hopefully we will see even more members attending next year.