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Competitive Rowers News Section - 2006/7
Henley Veterans and Kingston 14th July
Two regattas on the same day ! This was only possible due to Bob Taylor's fantastic effort of towing the trailer to Kingston and then carrying onto Henley with the double now transferred onto his roof (and of course the return two legs later in the day).

Henley Veterans is the second major regatta for our veteran squad, but in the end we only entered the D double. Whilst the sculling events offered by Kingston meant this was a chance not to be missed for our few remaining novices, to gain a win.

The first chance was in novice doubles, where Mark and Richard had drawn Vesta and Calpe (from Gibraltar). In the three lane race all the doubles struggled with steering and the launch washes , but it was Vesta who had the better first half to lead by 1 length. Ardingly kept attacking and beat Calpe by 3 lengths, but just couldnt close the gap on Vesta who held on to win by a length. The Vesta double were experienced Senior 2 level sweep oarsmen from their first eight, (fresh from racing in the Thames cup at Henley), and although clearly not so comfortable sculling carried all that race experience with them.

Mark and Richard had a chance to gain their revenge as combined with David Avery and Tom they were also in Senior 4 quad sculls and drawn against Vesta. The Vesta crew was the same double combined with two more members of their Thames Cup crews. This race followed the same pattern with Vesta getting ahead and Ardingly snapping at their heels. Coming up the enclosures Vesta were leading by a diminishing half a length, when with just a few strokes to go they half-crabbed. Unfortunately for Ardingly it was just to late as Vesta were able to fall over the line and win by a couple of feet. The Vesta quad went onto win the very large 3 pint pots by clear water in the final.

Earlier Tom and David had qualified for the senior 3 doubles final with a mature performance against Globe and Kingston. Whilst five minutes before, in the first heat (of 3 ), Sebastian and Paul had lost to Dulwich by half a length. In the final Tom and David rowed well but couldn't match Christchurch and Dulwich after the first minute.

Our only other competitor was John Liebers in novice singles, who coped surprisingly well with the difficult water to finish second in his heat, beating a sculler from Twickenham.

At Kingston it had been a day of trying to chase down leads and just failing with 3 close losses of 2 feet, half a length and 1 length, so if we were to get a win it would have to be down to Keith and Slavo at Henley.

With five of the finalists from National veterans entered in the 7 boat draw, including the top three doubles who had been separated by less than a second, this was going to take some tough racing. Poplar had qualified through Fridays heats and were Ardingly's opposition in the semi. Using the towpath side off the start well, Slavo then hit his race rhythm strongly and the double were able to control the race to qualify for the final. Here they faced Tees, and determined not to repeat the manner of the champs narrow victory, Ardingly went out strongly. Like in the semi Keith and Slavo executed the plan well and were able to then keep opening the gap and win by 4 lengths to retain their second title in a month.
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Richmond regatta - 30th June
A large squad travelled the much shorter distance up to Richmond on the last Saturday of June. David and Paul ended up in racing in Senior 3 double sculls when Jon had to withdraw due to illness and won both their races by easily verdicts to win the event (gaining pots and points as 5 crews raced). With Jon also unable to race in veteran doubles this turned into a straight race against Poplar for Keith and Slavo. The distance between the two doubles at Nottingham had been a second so a hard battle over this longer course was expected. The Ardingly crew was pleased to draw the outside station and thus start a length up on their opposition. This gave them the chance to see their opposition all the way, provided they could keep their lead round the outside of the bend. They did this and held the start margin, perhaps moving away very marginally in the last bit to win by one and a half lengths.

The third Ardingly double racing was Jess and Chloe, this week entered in their age group (Junior under 16). Despite travel difficulties they were able to race away from Thames Rowing Club and win with an "Easily" verdict, to claim their second win this year (over the same course as the first one).

Everybody else raced in singles, David Law won his heat in Senior 3, but then lost to Jaques of Globe who went on to win the final. Richard recorded his first ever sculling win in his heat, but lost in the semi-final of novice singles. David Phillips raced hard but lost by 3 lengths to a Twickenham sculler who went on to win the final by a bigger margin.

With the Whitgift headmaster making a first ever visit to a regatta Tom was not racing for Ardingly, but (using his normal club boat and blades) fought his way through four races to reach two finals for his school.

Our final sculler was Bob racing in the straight final of Veteran E singles against a Guildford sculler. Starting down on the staggered start Bob got away well, but his opposition opened the gap a little more in the first minute. In the second minute Bob held the gap and by the third minute he was closing it. Passing his opponent at the boating area Bob held on to claim his first ever singles win and his second win of the year.

So another successful days work claiming four wins, despite Jon's illness and the Hong Kong double rather un-sportingly withdrawing from the senior 2 doubles (to leave no event).
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National Veterans Championships / Loughborough 17th June
The third weekend of June involved another long trek north, this time all the way to Nottingham, for the combined UK Veteran Championships and Loughborough regatta.

We had Alex and Sebastian racing later in the day in the Loughborough regatta and 6 veterans racing in 3 doubles who due to the early heat times had travelled up the night before. In the first race of the day the Vet C double 'A' crew of (David Avery and Jon) found themselves in a very tight race with all 5 doubles within a few feet at half-way. With only 2 to go though Ardingly showed their fitness by stepping it up and qualified in second place. In the very next race, with four boats racing, the 'B' crew of Pete and David Phillips were working their way through the field to qualify much more comfortably again in second place. So by ten past eight in the morning things were going well. with both crews qualified for the Vet C doubles final from an initial field of 13 entries (11 raced). Pete and David were also entered in Loughborough Senior 4 doubles and by qualifying for the Vets final had given themselves the task of two finals in 32 minutes.

Defending their title from last year Keith and Slavo qualified comfortably from their heat in D doubles, but experienced the speed off the start of Tees RC before both crews paddled in.

First of our finals was the Vet C doubles with the A and B crews separated by as much as possible in lanes 1 and 6. Both crews failed to match the early pace shown by some of their more experienced opponents, and despite solid rows ended up in 4th and 5th. Pete and David then stayed out to race their four boat Senior 4 final. Abingdon were far too fast as they went away to win comfortably but the Ardingly double were a clear second, ahead of Doncaster and Bradford. This meant that in their 3 races over the morning Pete and David had beaten doubles form 5 different clubs.

Based on the two heats the Vet D final was set to be a great race with a pack of closely matched doubles trying to catch the fast starting Tees, and this is exactly how the race developed. Hollingworth Lake, Poplar, Molesey and Ardingly were racing stroke for stroke as Tees looked back with a clear water lead. At half way the Poplar double made a good move, so that by 750 m Keith and Slavo were sitting in 3rd with time running out. At this point they obviously decided they weren't going to give up their title easily, and pushed through Poplar, with the leaders now coming under pressure. At the finish Ardingly and Tees crossed the line together with Poplar just a third of a length down. After a rather nervous wait the tannoy announced Ardingly as the winners by 4 hundredths of a second. (see the gallery pages for the actual photo-finish).

Alex and Sebastian were entered in Loughborough Senior 3 doubles and singles, and they started out by qualifying comfortably from different heats for the singles final. Then they had a straight six boat final in the doubles, which would be the second ever outing in the double. Away to a good start they took the lead with a solid rhythm that was too fast for most of the other crews, with only Leicester able to stay with them. By halfway there were only two crews in it, with Ardingly leading by a length, and at 750m the Leicester double started to attack. The last 100m was pretty desperate (and not pretty) but Sebastian and Alex just held on, with the photo-finish confirming a win by 0.19 seconds. Later on they went round for the singles final, which also included one of the losing Leicster double. He gained his revenge as Alex came in a clear second and Sebastian won a close tussle for fourth place.

This just left the Veteran C quads race, where Keith, David Avery, Jon and Slavo were up against a very strong field. This included Tees and Quintin who had earlier raced in the younger B category and come first and second, a Peterborough crew who had been one second faster than Ardingly (when they raced Senior 2) last weekend and the usually very fast Broxbourne. So we knew it would be a fast race but had gained some confidence from the Peterborough race.

Tees as expecetd led off very quickly gaining a length by half-way, with Ardingly right up with Broxbourne and Petereborough and ahead of Quintin and York City. In the second half first Broxbourne and then Peterborough attacked but Tees held on, with our quad not quite able to go with the very fast pace. At the line we were fourth two thirds of a length down on Paterborough in third but clear water ahead of Quintin in fifth.

So two wins, including a national veteran title defended (just), and the total squad wins now up to 19 for the season. However there was a little disappointment with the two fourth places in the C events and the trip back down the A1 wasn't as buoyant as last weekend . (Although the sweet count was aided by David Phillip's bag of mini-m*rs bars).
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Peterborough 9th June
On the weekend of the 9th, the double were joined by seven other squad members for the long trip up to Peterborough. The course is not full size but with 4-lanes and a 1000m this regatta had been ear-marked as a good event for the whole squad. Also with National Vets the following weekend, it would be a particularly good warm up event for the veteran members.

David and Alex's double was entered in both Senior 2 and Senior 3 doubles, and with large entries in both events they had a tough programme of 5 races. They came through the heats and a semi safely to make the finals in both events. Unfortunately these two races were only 24 minutes apart and the long day took its toll as they finished 3 seconds behind the winners (in second place), in both events

Three single scullers were entered in three different events, first up was Sebastian in senior 3. In his first race since winning novices, he found himself in a tough heat and missed qualification by 2 seconds, in a time faster than the winners of the first and second heats. David Phillips in Senior 4 was also in a neck and neck battle and like Sebastian just missed out by 2 seconds. In Veteran E/F singles Bob raced strongly in the straight final and gained more useful experience

The other veterans had entered in a C and a D double and also as a combined C quad scull. Unfortunately the regatta didn't run either C event, but had asked if the quad would like to race in Senior 3 quads. Mostyn jumped at the chance for the crew to get a good race before Nat Vets, but some of the crew thought that racing schoolboys and students might be too big an ask. However having qualified with something in hand from their heat, the crew was excited about the final. But first bow and stroke had to go out and race their Veteran D/E doubles final, which they won to claim our first win of the day. The line up for the senior 3 quad final had our veterans (Keith, David Avery, Jon and Slavo) racing the students of Nottingham Trent University and juniors from Royal Docks and St Peter's School York. The conditions had been almost perfect all day, with sunshine and a light head wind giving fair conditions across all 4 lanes. After 250m the crews were pretty level, but by 500m Trent just led Ardingly with the other two crews starting to drop back. In the second half sensing the chance to beat Trent, Ardingly pushed on and moved through the higher rating students to win, still going away, by a length. This was a very satisfying win that also gained the veteran's a qualifying sculling point each.

It was along way to come for a days racing, but the course and organisation (oh and the two wins) made it very worthwhile. The trailer drive back was a happy one as Jon and Mostyn munched their way through bags of sweets (David A couldnt take the pace).
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Metropolitan 2nd June
Following their earlier good performance on the Eton Dorney course at Wallingford regatta, David Law and Alex entered Senior 2 doubles at the prestigious Metropolitan regatta on the same course. This would be there first ever full 2000m race and with the quality of the opposition in their 7 lane heat, we were prepared for an early return to Sussex. After a good start the double settled strongly and even before half way they looked comfortable in one of the three qualifying places. Without trying to push on they passed a welsh double and comfortably qualified in second place. Pleased and slightly surprised by the way they had qualified the crew felt that a good row in the final could put them in the top half. After a long wait for the race, the crew failed to recapture the sparkle of the heat row and could only manage 5th place.
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Seven up (Twickenham report)
Much to Mostyn's surprise we picked all the right events to enter at Twickenham regatta and everybody had at least one event to race in. Jon Carter got the fully loaded trailer there just after 7am, as we had a whole flurry of early heats to race in.

Novice singles had a large 12 sculler entry, including Sebastian and Pete. If either was to win the event they would have to win 4 races, but on top of that they were also together in the Novice doubles which would require a further 3 wins to claim the pots. Pete fell at the first hurdle in the singles but Sebastian with his winning margin decreasing in every round, went all the way, taking the final by just half a length. In Novice doubles they had an easier time winning all their races by 3 lengths or more. So they both lost their novice status and Sebastian invoked the little known rule of gaining a point for winning two qualifying novice events in the same day. (Wins 1 and 2)

Tom Bloomfield was entered in the Senior 4 single sculls and after two preliminary rounds against scullers from Tideway scullers and Reading he faced a Furnivall sculler in the final. They raced neck and neck up to the boating area, until a well timed push gave Tom the edge and he went on to win by 2 lengths and gain his first sculling status point. (Win 3)

The Senior 4 double of two Davids (Phillips and Avery) went straight into the final when their opposition scratched. Racing a Marlow crew with an average age 30 years younger than them, they made them work really hard for their win. On the outside station the David's were still overlapping with 4 minutes gone, but the younger legs had a little bit more left as Marlow moved away in the last minute.

We had two scullers in senior 3 singles, but they were up against some pretty tough opposition. Alex raced a sculler from Globe, who had won for the last three weekends on the trot, and lost by just half a length. Paul looked good winning his heat but then had to face Graham Benton the British ergo champion in the semi. Paul made him work all the way but in the end Benton's physical power and fitness won the day.

David and Alex started with a comfortable win in Senior 2 doubles but having led early on succumbed to a Tideway Scullers/ASL composite, (who went on to win the event).

Two Veteran single scullers had different experiences. Jon having to give his C opponent 12 seconds start in the B/C singles stuck to his task and passed him at the boating area. (Win 4) Bob also starting down on handicap in E/F singles had got into a good stride when he hit a buoy hard, which ended the contest.

The veteran D double, of Keith and Slavo had an uneventful win against Upper Thames (Win 5)

The Veteran quad scull of Keith , David Avery, Jon and Slavo strangely had female opposition in their heat. The rest of the draw was made up of Guildford, Maidstone and Bewl Bridge making this a sort of "non-Thames south-east England" showdown. Guildford fought their way through to the final, but like at Marlow Spring the Ardingly quad took the race. (Win 6)

Finally I'm sure it will be reported on the Junior pages but two of the Junior squad, Jess Palmer and Chloe Carter, raced very well to win the Womens novice doubles. (Win 7)

So after a very long day and some heavy rain, 7 wins and 13 pots at a Thames regatta, was a great days work by everybody.

Over the other side of the river Richard was watching the Middlesex sevens at Twickenham rugby ground. He should have come over and watched the Sussex sevens.
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Four wins on first weekend of regatta racing
The Ardingly mens squad opened the regatta season with a busy two days of racing in the Thames Valley. On the Sunday the top two doubles raced at the prestigious Wallingford regatta, whilst the whole squad spent the bank holiday Monday racing in the Marlow Spring regatta.

Wallingford is the biggest one day regatta in the country and is held at Eton Dorney. The standard is high and Ardingly had two doubles racing in the 6 lane final of the Senior 2 event. Jon and Paul racing as Ardingly B are new to this standard of competition and stepped up to the challenge well. Although they finished 6th, they were racing one level above their Senior 3 status and did well to push the 5th placed crew all the way to the line. The A double of David Law and Alex Dombrowe had raced here last year and were looking for a good performance to start the season off. They certainly achieved this, with a very strong 2nd place only one second behind the winners (Marlow), and beating good doubles from all over the country (Hollingworth Lake, Sudbury and Yare).

The next day racing on the river Thames, everybody was entered for at least one event and was racing at their correct status level. We entered 13 crews or scullers in 7 different events, and had crews racing fromr 8:30 in the morning through to 5pm. The top double of David and Alex won Senior 3 doubles, but neither could repeat the feat in the singles, with Alex eventually losing the final of Senior 3 singles by a few feet. The novice entries in doubles and singles were very competitive in their races and look set to lose their novice status early in the season, but it was left to the veteran crews to bring home the remaining trophies. The Veteran quad scull of Keith Crawford, David Avery Jon Carter and Slavo Radosevic raced very strongly and were well clear of the other 5 quads. Keith and Slavo also won Veteran doubles holding off a very strong Walton crew with something in hand. Finally The Veteran Novice double of Bob Simpson and David Phillips, beat 5 other crews, all from famous Thames based rowing clubs. This win, along With David Avery's in the quad, means all three men have lost their novice status.

Visit the gallery to see pictures of all the winners at marlow
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March News
Without access to an eight it is quite difficult to find suitable spring head races in the Thames Valley, but we entered three, namely Molesey Vets, Burway and Weybridge Vets. Sadly the heavy rainfall, that has ensured the reservoir has been full since the beginning of December, has also kept the Thames running very fast for the last few months. So Burway and Weybridge suffered the fate of many other races this winter, when they were cancelled due to fast stream conditions. This was doubly unfortunate for the Ardingly men's squad as we were hoping to win quad divisions in both these two races, whereas at Molesey the quad we entered, although of course aiming to win, was probably really racing to gain experience.

Having said that the Veteran C quad that raced at Molesey acquitted itself with honour, as David Avery steered a magnificent course from the bow seat. The race was held despite the Thames going back onto red boards two hours before, which meant the strong stream made it a very quick race. Pete and Slavo were in the middle of the boat backing up Jon at stroke as the crew rating 29 most of the way finished the course in just 8 minutes and 42 seconds. Walton, who had started in front of us, were the winning quad in 8:29 and Ardingly were second fastest. Notably the Ardingly quad were faster than 19 of the 27 eights that raced.

With the experience of a quick race, and with two crew changes due to be made, we were looking forward to finally beating the Walton veteran quad at Weybridge, but the cancellation put paid to that plan.

In the meantime the squad have been training steadily and working on technical improvements, which has been helped by buying their coach a new video camera.
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November News
A fifth win and a cancelled event
Having taken a full trailer to Weybridge, we set off for the Kingston Small Boats Head with a much lighter load. In the first division we had David Law and Alex racing in Senior 3 doubles and Slavo in Veteran D singles, whilst two doubles Paul and Sebastian in Senior 2 and Richard and David Phillips in novice were entered in the second division.

David and Alex came second in this event, by 11 seconds, in 2005 and had the chance for revenge with last years winners racing again. Over the long 4800m course, and with the crews behind them dropping back, they produced a fairly solid row. The times showed them as the fastest double in division 1 and clear winners of senior 3 (beating last years winners by 27 seconds). Slavo, having returned from Kazakhstan the day before, sculled strongly but couldn't raise his rate in the last few minutes. His performance against some of the scullers around him was encouraging. However the published time, that put him 6th fastest overall, should probably be taken with a pinch of salt!!.

In the second division Paul and Sebastian, who are Senior 4, raced up in status as Senior 2. They started as the last of the four Senior 2 doubles, with Paul steering for the first time. As the race went on it became obvious that they were matching the two doubles in front. The final times showed them as 7th fastest in division 2 and within three seconds of the two Senior 2 doubles that started in front of them. The final double of Richard and David racing in Novice, had a busy time with eight crews in their event and a course long tussle with one of them. In the end they finished exactly half way down the order as 15th fastest double in the division.

The final race of the Autumn was scheduled to be the Burway small boats head, and we entered almost everybody. Having checked out the other entries in the draw, Mostyn was quietly confident of two more wins. However it was not to be, as the Thames was flowing dangerously fast and the event had to be cancelled.

So with the Kingston win added in the final tally for the Autumn head season was 5 wins. Two at senior 3, one at Junior and two at Veteran. Now down to some really solid training for the next few months.........................
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October News
Four wins, including two major titles
Having only started back in training in September, October was the squad's first chance to race in some head races. First up was the Veteran double of Slavo and Keith, who following last summers wins at National and Henley Vets, were hoping to complete the treble by winning Veteran D doubles in the pairs head. Keith was keen to have a warm-up race so the double entered the Wallingford Long Distance Sculls the weekend before. Despite some adventurous steering, involving at least two bushes and a 5 second penalty for going the wrong side of a buoy, they recorded the first win of the new season in Vet D doubles. In the second division they both raced in singles and first blood for the year went to Slavo who was 6 seconds quicker.

The next day Tom Bloomfield went with the Junior squad to take on the twisty course at Maidstone. Tom starting in front of another good junior from Shoreham, kept the gap ahead of his rival and eventually beat him by one second to win the Junior singles event. (The fastest sculler overall was a junior from Maidstone, so he won the fastest single and was thus luckily ineligible for the junior title).

For the pairs head, with Alex and David unavailable, we entered Jon and Paul in senior 3 along with the Vet D double. The tideway in London was in a gentle mood and the race had flat conditions all the way, despite a bit of a headwind in the last 2 minutes. The senior 3 double had a steady race, with Jon steering very well around the long first bend and their time made them a respectable 70th out of the 213 doubles that raced. Further down the start order the veteran D doubles were led off with a clear course by our main rivals Poplar. Whilst Keith had to steer his way through three other doubles down the course. Both doubles looked good and with a large gap between them Mostyn could only predict that it would be close, but maybe he didnt expect it to be quite as close as it turned out. In the final results Ardingly had won Vet D doubles by just 0.7 seconds over a 14 minute course. Also their time was only 1 second slower than Jon and Paul's. Completing the Ardingly team were Tim and Oli who produced a good row to finish as the third fastest Veteran D coxless pair.  

So Keith and Slavo now hold the three major national titles that its possible to win in their age group; National Veteran Champions, Henley Veteran winners and The Pairs Head winners.

Nearly the whole squad raced on Saturday 21st at the 50th running of the Weybridge Silver Sculls, braving the strong stream, blustery headwind and heavy downpours. David Law and Alex were back to lead off the team and raced in senior 3 doubles in the first division. Going off third and surrounded by Walton doubles on their home stretch, Alex settled into a solid rhythm at 29. David was steering well but the Walton doubles, with their local knowledge were all tucked much closer under the bank. David then got Balcombe through the difficult inside arch of Walton Bridge and having rowed the first half more steadily than their opposition they were able to take distance off them all, in the second half of the course. Last year they had finished 14th in this race and Mostyn's target this year was to win Senior 3 and finish in the top three. The results were pretty quick in being published and they were the fastest double in division 1, so we then had to wait 3.5 more hours for the next doubles division. In the final results not only had they won Senior 3 doubles but they were the fastest double overall out of the 100 that finished. To actually win the doubles at a major Thames small boats head is a big step up for the club.

Also racing in the first division were two novice doubles, consisting of David Avery and Pete followed by Richard and Mark. Both were wide coming up to the bridge and thus had no choice but to take the middle arch. Following a good training session the previous weekend Pete's double were a bit disappointed with their row which eventually placed them 30th and 3rd in novice doubles, whilst Richard and Mark were just in the top half at 48th. The second division was for single scullers and it was a rather tired Alex and David who went back out again to fight the stream and headwind again in senior 3 singles. Joining them were Tom in senior 4 and Bob, in his first race for many years, racing as Veteran E. With the course taking so long all of them sculled steadily without ever really racing it. Alex was fastest and Tom was only 12 seconds behind David, and Bob was quite pleased with his performance and new levels of fitness.

The third division was back to doubles, with Jon and Paul racing senior 3, Keith and Slavo in Veteran and David Avery and Pete going round again, this time as Veteran Novice. The marshalling was held in a torrential downpour, with the headwind still blowing hard. David got his double through the inside arch this time (as did Keith) and they thought they had gone faster in their second row. The times showed otherwise, however the double in front of them, that they took about 15 seconds off were given a time 28 seconds faster than them, so one of those times is wrong. Jon and Paul lost to the two senior 3 doubles in front of them by 11 and 1 seconds, so only need a small improvement to be competitive at this level. Keith and Slavo had a very solid row and were very close in time to much younger doubles, if the organisers had combined the age groups this would have been our second win but they decided to save some money on prizes!

Finally the 4th division for single sculls, had Jon and David Phillips racing in Veteran B and Veteran novice. Jon using his new blades and having just raced in the double put in a solid (if low rating) performance. The wind had abated giving this division approximately 1 minutes advantage and Jon took his chance to finish as the fastest Ardingly sculler on the day. David Phillips had an epic adventure and packed more into his hour on the water than is normally considered possible, in the end he was only 36 seconds off winning his event.

With a large junior team racing and the overall win it was a very good day out on the Thames, despite the conditions.
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Henley Veterans and Kingston
14 July
Richmond Regatta
30 June
National Veterans
17 June
09 June
02 June
Seven Up
March 2007
November 2006
October 2006