HENLEY Royal Regatta is the world’s most famous rowing event and among those taking part was local elite sculler Mark Mitchell.
The Bexhill Rowing Club ace teamed up with Ben Board from Shoreham to race in the international category for double sculls.
They were drawn against the USA team which last month missed out by a matter of seconds on a place at the 2012 London Olympics.
This was always going to be a tough challenge, especially as each of the full time athletes from across the pond was three-and-a-half stone heavier!
Mitchell and Board attacked without fear from the start. Rating at 49 strokes per minute, they pulled away immediately and after 300m had a length lead. By the quarter-of-a-mile marker, they had opened up clear water.
A third of the way into the race, the Americans started to make their move and it was here that disaster struck the local duo.
One of Board’s blades slipped from his grip and immediately swung down the side of the boat and underneath the hull. There was no option for the pair but to stop rowing and pull the blade back into position.
That took some 20 seconds, though, and by the time they had recovered, the opposition had opened up a seven-length lead. Despite their best efforts, the USA team remained seven lengths ahead until the finish line.
See tomorrow’s Bexhill Observer for the full article.