Favourites prevail at Royal St. John’s Regatta
There were no surprises Wednesday as the two favoured crews — sponsored by a pair of St. John’s law firms — emerged as victors as the 194th Royal St. John’s Regatta drew to a close on Quidi Vidi Lake.
Rogers Bussey men’s team won its third straight championship with relative ease, while Roebothan McKay Marshall enjoyed a five-second victory in the women’s final race.
Rogers Bussey — comprised of coxswain Ben Colbourne, stroke James Cadigan, Adam Kavanagh, Ronnie Whitten, Daniel Cadigan, Craig Whittle, Matthew Manning and spares Jon Ledrew and Brent Hickey — clocked 9:06.64 in their final, 13 seconds ahead of their nearest competitor, Toyota Plaza.
Roebothan, McKay, Marshall — comprised of cox Gord Delaney, stroke Jennifer Carroll, Alison Jones, Kerri Ann Evely, Beth Davis, Krista Carew, Heather Tizzard and coaches Mike Power and Doug Trainor — crossed the finish line in 5:04.18, while the second-place OZ-FM masters crew stopped the clock in 5:09.12.
The win erased memories of a heartbreaking 2011 Regatta, when Roebothan McKay Marshall lost the first race of the day by 46 one-hundredths of a second to m5, and then lost the final by just over two seconds to the same m5 squad.
The two winning crews also capped off the Triple Crown of rowing after both also won the Placentia and Harbour Grace regattas last month.
“It’s unbelievable,” said winning stroke Jennifer Carroll. “I didn’t know if (the championship) was ever going to come.
“There are some people who row down here for 20-odd years and never get it, so it’s a sweet victory.”
“It’s always great to win,” said Ronnie Whitten, the veteran No. 4 oar for Rogers Bussey. “No matter if you’re playing cards, there’s no better feeling like winning.
“It’s a great feeling to come out with a championship. It’s a lot of fun.”
Although the day didn’t start out the best from a weather point of view, as the Regatta opened under overcast skies, the sun appeared by noon, shining on the thousands of Regatta patrons at lakeside and providing warm temperatures in the low 20s for most of the day.
For the rowers, winds Wednesday were moderate at best, making for favourable pond conditions.
But it didn’t make for course records, as Crosbie Industrial’s 8:51.32, set in 2007, and OZ-FM’s 4:56.70, set back in 2003, remain intact.
James Cadigan, Whitten and Kavanagh were part of that Crosbie Industrial team, while Siobhan Duff, Tracey Hogan and Jackie Handrigan, who rowed with this year’s OZ squad, were part of the 2003 crew.
Still, there were a pair of record-breaking performances. With their time in the final, OZ — which also includes cox Ben Colbourne, Tina Hunt, Bernadine Ring, Patti Pittman and spare Cherie Whelan — shattered the masters record which they set in the first women’s race of the day. That time of 5:12.53 beat the 5:28.87 set by Daley Brothers in 2004.
Keeping with masters, the 3M Masters crew — coxswain Mike Shea, stroke Bill Janes, John Handrigan, Gary Collins, Robert Bradbury, Jim Carroll, Sean Brophy, spare Ross Poole and coach Bill Holwell — bested the old masters record of 9:40.48 set by ICT/Outer Cove in 2004 with a time of 9:40.11 Wednesday.
Wednesday’s Regatta gave a glimpse into the future as two intermediate-aged teams (under-21) made the men’s final.
Scotia Bank — coxswain Colin Pike, stroke Mitchell Thomas, Eric Hanna-Quinn, Andrew Bonnell, Francis Norris, Alex Brandt, Charlie Price, spares Chris Fitz and Liam Robbins and coaches Kiersten Van Gulick and Michael Noel — finished third in 9:29.19, while Marco Group — cox Gerard Doran, stroke Paddy Griffiths, Garrett Murphy, Perry Doran, Jason Abbott, Jason Bentum, James Halley and spare Cameron Raman-Nair — was fourth in 9:38.28.
And for the first time, squirt-aged rowers (under-12) were part of the official Regatta program. Five boys’ teams and five girls’ teams rowed in a pair of races later in the afternoon, covering a quarter of Quidi Vidi Lake — from the women’s turn to the finish line.