The first of the Blinkhorne & Carroll Forestry Winter Series races was held last Sunday, over 5km on the Whanganui River.
It was a very good turnout of 39 crews racing, even with our top kayakers away in Adelaide racing in the Asia Pacific Kayak series.
With prize money and reputations on the line, it was as expected to be a hotly contested race, with rowers from Wellington, Levin and even a former Olympian, as Union Boat Club's Justin Evans was joined by Alistair Bond, the brother of double Olympic champion and recent Commonwealth Games cycling medallist Hamish Bond.
There were heroic performances from the likes of Bond and Evans (third), Jonty Thompson and Luke Watts (fourth), Star Boat Club's Ricky Kiddle (fifth) and Maadi winners Leo Hanna and Blake Hogan (sixth).
Wanganui Collegiate's new NZ Junior Sculler Jamie Harris was in second place with a 92.31 per cent prognostic time, but it was the elusive Trevor Rush and Richard Brock who proved dominate again – winning with a 93.62 per cent.
For those that think they just have a easy handicap, due to being "old fellas", think again.
Prognostic times adjust for age and give a fairly exact comparison of ability between any boat type and age group.
Rush and Brock are comparatively about as fit and capable now as they were 45 years ago, and train as much as most school and club rowers in Whanganui and New Zealand.
Rounding out the Top 10 were North Island Under 18 rower Niamh Monk (seventh), Kyle Malone (eighth), Bob & Jenny Evans (ninth) and Levi Carroll (tenth).
The next Winter Series race is scheduled for Sunday, June 10, over 6km starting 9.30am at the National Library Building, then turning opposite Caffray Avenue and finishing at the end of the 2km regatta course.
I failed to report previously on the Legions Masters Regatta, one month ago at Lake Karapiro.
Aramoho Whanganui Rowing Club took a group of 13 rowers, 2 cox's and myself (from Union BC) and we came away with 12 gold medals, three runnerup placings and four third placings from a great day's racing, out of the 21 clubs and 290 rowers taking part.
Every Whanganui rower won at least one gold medal, with Richard Brock dominating with five gold medals, even after damaging his back and boat prior to the day's racing, after a rower crashed into him on the course, while Colin Wright picking up three goldsin his first ever regatta.
I sat behind Colin in a mixed masters eight and would never have picked him for a novice, but Colin is a capable athlete and former Ironman Triathlete, so is a bit of a natural.
Finally, Union BC had its annual prizegiving last Saturday night, with a good turn out and an interesting speech by Alistair Bond, who doesn't appear to suffer any hang-ups from being described, even on Google, as "Hamish Bond's brother", even though he is of course a World Championshi silver medallist and Olympic finalist himself.
A number of deserving awards were handed out on the night, but the two best performances of the season must surely have been the bronze medal for Kurt Browning and Donny Thompson at the NZ Club Champs in a composite quad with Aramoho RC, plus the 11th overall at Maadi Cup under Cullinane College colours by Browning, Thompson, Xavier Mohr, Brennan Knoff and cox Amelia Keenan.
They entered the Boys Under 18 Coxed Quad at Maadi and finished just one place outside of a Under 18 Top 10.