With the Squad putting in the miles in Hazelwinkel, and juniors competing in Munich and JIRR, the sole entries under Molesey colours* at Wallingford Regatta were Sylvain Boyer and Adam Pearson, competing in Club Single Sculls. Sylvain has less than happy memories from a wet and windy regatta in 2017, but since achieved a strong result at the Met on Dorney in 2017; for Adam, this was first entry in a single event since 1993. Undaunted, entries were made with the considerable support of Helen Taylor, and despite the best efforts of BROE2 system meltdowns, both scullers got places, drawn in separate heats.
In perfect midday conditions, a light headwind and bright sunshine, Adam set off first down the course. He followed his race plan to stride well down off the start to a reasonable rate and hang in there, and while gaining a lead off the start over all but one of his fellow racers, he gradually succumbed to the fitness and guile of the youth around him, dropping to fourth at the finish. Sylvain was off next in the second race, holding a lead throughout on the glittering turquoise waters, until, confident of qualifying, he allowed one sculler to pip him to the finish.
Several hours later, having rehydrated, fuelled, meditated and analysed the opposition, Sylvain took to the water again for the final, wearing his lucky socks. The starter, obviously hoping to complete his shift sooner and have a refreshing beer, asked the assembled scullers if they would mind starting a couple of minutes early. Sylvain staked an early chance to be the alpha male in the race by raising his hand in opposition of the plan.
They set off at the appointed time at quite a pace, and at 250m, the Lea sculler had about half a length’s lead, chased by Sylvain and the KRC sculler. As the race progressed down the course, Sylvain closed the gap ever so slightly every stroke, rating about 32/33. By 1250 he edged ahead of the Lea, sculling beautifully. Then at around 1600, the race opened up: the Lea sculler couldn’t hold on and fell behind, Kingston surged up but Sylvain extended his lead and crossed the line a clear length ahead.
Sylvain has had his fair share of victories over the years in France and Canada, so I didn’t expect this to be such a big deal, but he was over the moon with his victory. He rowed perfectly against stiff opposition at this popular regatta and took early honours in the club sculling season, so his joy is well deserved. Chapeau, mon ami!
* not the only MBC rower competing....congratulations to Holly Dunsford who rowed as a supersub in the LEH 8+ who won Womens’ Challenge VIIIs convincingly!
Credits for this picture:AllMarkOne