St Neots Rowing Club gears up for regatta weekend
St Neots Rowing Club is in full swing preparing to host its forthcoming annual regatta this weekend for around 1,500 rowers. This popular event is the main fundraiser for the club and is very well supported by clubs from as far away as Maidstone and Tyne, as well as the more local clubs. Several London clubs will be participating along with Leicester, Leeds, York and Newark, and the home club will be taking part in some 30 different events.
The two-day regatta is held on the Regatta Meadow in St Neots, opposite the club premises and comprises exhilarating side-by-side 2-lane racing. On Saturday the 1,000m sprints take place every 3 minutes, with some 450 categories spread over 250 races. On Sunday, the course is shortened to 500m with 300 races run every 2 minutes, covering 520 categories.
The age range of competitors spans from 13 to 80 years, proving that rowing truly is good for body and soul. The racing provides exciting spectator viewing from the meadow, with cheers for the home team really spurring them on. There is a licensed bar, as well as a wide range of hot and cold refreshments throughout the weekend and entertaining race commentary to keep spectators informed. St Neots Mayor, Councillor Andrew Hansard and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Ian Gardener will be presenting Saturday’s winning pots at 6.00 pm that day.
The racing categories range from singles through to eights, and from those experiencing their first race to those at the higher end of the sport. The most popular events this year are the women’s novice doubles and singles with the highest number of entries in these categories. There will inevitably be the occasional capsize and all races provide great entertainment at the finish line, with good views from the riverbank.
Over this same weekend, one of the club’s promising juniors, Louise Shorten, aged 16, will be representing Wales in her J16 single, and possibly an eight. Louise will be racing in the Home Countries International Regatta, held in Cork, having been selected following a series of trials and training camps held in Monmouth over the last 6 months.
In the run up to the regatta, four senior eights are taking part in the Cambridge Town Bumps, hoping to regain the John Jenner Trophy. Two men’s and two women’s crews will be aiming to catch their competitors over four evenings of racing on the River Cam.
Club Chairman Mick Staddon said:
This extremely important event takes a great deal of hard work and planning and is completely run by approximately 100 volunteers: club members, their families and friends. The regatta puts St Neots on the map as it is very popular within the rowing community who enjoy coming back each year. We would love to see strong support from local residents and visitors who are guaranteed to have a great time. We also wish Louise Shorten the very best of luck in her event over the same weekend. The next week is a very busy time for the club.’