2014 Aon Billy Webb Challenge Results
Aon Billy Webb Challenge
Philippa Baker-Hogan Womens Trophy:
Corporate 8s Challenge:
AON RISK TAKERS
Hamish Bond battled the horrendous Whanganui River conditions as much as his Rowing New Zealand team mate and three times winner Mahe Drysdale to claim his first win of the Aon Billy Webb Challenge Trophy.
This year, the fifth running of the event, organisers adopted a new format, accepting entries in Elite, Club, Under 20, Under 17, Master 40+ and Master 60+ for both men and women.
All 22 competitors participated in a mass start above the Aramoho 2000 metre course and then raced the five kilometres downstream to finish outside the Union Boat, former club of Billy Webb himself, and in a further nod to the historic race, Mahe and Hamish were wearing the same colours as Webb and Tressider wore back in 1908.
Conditions were testing with a strong wind creating considerable chop in different parts of the course. Hamish Bond, despite starting on the less favoured side of the course went out very quickly, rating 41, Mahe Drysdale was at 33, and established a small margin over the defending champion. Hamish held that margin to the 1500 Metre mark when Mahe had to check his boat to avoid striking a log in the river. Hamish took advantage of Mahe’s misfortune and moved out to about a four length lead. Three Kilometres into the course Mahe up his rate to around 40 and was closing on Hamish but never managed to regain parity. Hamish crossed in a time of 19.24, with Mahe a mere seven seconds behind. We have a new champion, Hamish Bond, but both put in a spectacular effort, and a very quick time in such conditions.
Lucy Spoors won the woman’s elite division in a time of 22.25 and is the new Phillipa Baker-Hogan Trophy holder. Lucy’s effort is even more noteworthy when you discover that she competed in the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Race on Saturday 29 November 2014, finishing second in her division in the very creditable time of 4hours and 19 minutes.
Another notable result was put up by club sculler, Jamie Saunders, who finished third overall in a time of 20.54, ahead of the other elite mens entrants.
There were athletes on the water aged from 15 to 68. There were 22 starters, 20 finishers including our youngest and oldest athletes.
Other than the wind, the conditions were very pleasant and a large crowd observed the events, informed by a live commentary, and entertained by some knowledgeable local radio personalities.