Gloucester Autumn Head 2014 – J18 1x and J18 2x Preview

Here we go; the build up to another season of GB trials has begun and the Early ID time trial in Boston is just around the corner. The Glouceter Autumn Head, or Long Distance Head as it is sometimes known, is often used as a practice run for those athletes looking to do well come the trials, due to Gloucester’s similar water conditions to Boston and the matching 5km length.


J18 1x

A surprisingly small entry number this year, down on the race of the previous year, and a selection of club names lacking the pedigree this event often has.

Two boys entered from Stourport RC: the first, Bozdoganli, competed recently at the Worcester Small Boats Head finishing third (out of five) in the J17 1x event. This result wouldn’t suggest a huge amount of speed, and I won’t consider him for the win.

The second, McLaren, seems to be a long time veteran of club heads and regattas. He also competed at the British Junior Rowing Champs in the Summer in the Open Junior 1x, coming sixth in the E final which, while not sounding particularly impressive, is actually a relatively good result.

Competing for the Bideford ARC is a boy by the name of Harris. This athlete, by my reckoning, could be either at the top, or the bottom of Bideford’s junior squad. I reckon this because Bideford also have a J18 coxless quad entered in the same division, and it would make sense to either have their top four athletes in the quad, with the spare racing a single, or to have the standout athlete racing by himself, with the rest making up the bigger boat. However, seeing a draw for last season’s Dartmouth Regatta, where he is entered as part of Bideford’s ‘B’ J16 double, I am inclined to think the former might be true.

The fourth crew of one, from Taunton RC, under Foster, comes coupled with some decent results at local heads and regattas; the most recent of which saw him win the IM3 2x event at the Monmouth Autumn Head.

The final entry is one from Gloucester Hartpury, by the name of Kemp. A product of the GB Start Programme, he was a member of Hartpury’s quad that finaled at NSR last year and was knocked out in the second round of Henley Royal Regatta by the eventual winners: Sir William Borlase. However, he failed to qualify for any of the minor finals in a single at the Junior Rowing Champs, suggesting his proficiency in a small boat doesn’t quite match the success he had earlier on in the season as part of a crew.

In terms of positioning, I predict McLaren for the win, with Kemp in second.


J18 2x

A very small entry in this event, with just three crews racing down the full 5km course, so this won’t be the most lengthy of reviews, but I will try to find something to say about each of them.

Setting of first is a crew on it’s home waters from Gloucester RC, under the name of Soubhi. There isn’t a huge amount to say about this crew, I can’t see the same name racing in the other division, and his name doesn’t appear on the results sheets of any recent events I can find. However, coming down that canal is tricky, with bridges and bends all the way, so crews will need to be switched on when it comes to their navigation, or risk letting precious seconds slip by. This will be something this crew will be pretty confident with, after presumably having been training on this stretch of water in preparation, and may be their trump card when it comes to getting a decent time.

The second duo to start is a combination for Bideford ARC, going by the name of Bennett. After doing a bit of digging, I found a crew, rowing for Bideford ARC, competing at last year’s Dartmouth Regatta, as a J16 2x, with the crew names of Bennett and Harris. After finding this one can only presume that that will be the combination racing at Gloucester, with Bennett helping make up Bideford’s J18 coxless quad, while Harris acts as the spare racing in a single in the other division. If that is the case then these boys may have been rowing together for a long old while, and could be a well drilled unit.

The third and final crew is one from Birmingham RC, labelled Smith. Again I am struggling to find results for a crew of this name, although there was a J18 double racing for Birmingham under the name of Stratton at the Worcester SBH, where they finished second (out of two), losing by about a thirty second gap. If this is the same crew, with just an ordering switch, I will not hold out much hope for them to lay down a fast time.

Given the lack of discoverable results for the other two crews, and the potential experience they have, I’m going to place my wager on Bideford for the win.

The Rowing Jesus