BTC Rowing Club have hosted their River and Coastal Boats Head of the River race today (Saturday) which was the second opportunity for the Hampshire and Dorset Association Clubs to race each other in 2015. 

With the main season beginning in late May, the BTC Head Race gave some early indications of which association crews could be battling for the championships this year, while there were also some good performances from non HDARA clubs Deal and Solent University. 

In Division One, which began just after midday on the three and a half miles Itchen river based course, the fastest time was set by the winning Men's Junior River Four crew from the home club.

BTC won the race in 19 minutes, eight seconds ahead of Itchen in second place on 19:47 and Christchurch in third. 

Visiting club Deal, who have travelled down from the Coast Association, won the Mens Senior River Four in a time of 19 minutes, 34 seconds with BTC just 11 seconds behind in second place.

Coalporters, who are based just down the river from BTC, won the Men's Masters River Four category with a time of 19:47. Lymington were second with a time of 20:12. 

Another local club to BTC, Itchen Imperial, won the Mens Novice River Fours category in a time of 21:48 ahead of Southampton Solent University in second. 

The Mens Senior Coastal Single Sculls prize also went to visitors Deal, with their sculler Dennis finishing in 21 minutes, 22 seconds. Second went to Lymington's Schreiber with Benham of Itchen finishing third. 

The Masters Coastal Single Sculls was won by Hume of BTC in 22:45. Gisborne from Southsea was second, ahead of BTC's Maxwell in third. 

Westover's Pulford took the victory in the Mens Junior Coastal Single Scull category, finishing in a time of 22:40. Deal's Rowarth was second with a time of 23:03 ahead of Lymington in third. 

A strong performance from Shanklin's Miselbach saw him win the Men's Novice Coastal Single Sculls in a time of 22:21. Second place went to BTC Vice Captain Ratcliffe, with Southampton's De Courcy crossing the line in third. 

The River Ladies Open Double Sculls was an all Itchen top three, with the B crew winning in 22:19. Itchen C finished second ahead of the Itchen A crew in third. 

Isle of Wight based club Newport took a victory in the Ladies Junior Fours category. They finished in a time of 22:12, with Deal second and Solent Uni third. 

Lymington's first win of the day came in the Senior Coastal Pair category, with their duo of Lock and Bladen winning in 20:28. Shanklin were second with a time of 21:28 ahead of Coalporters in third. 

The Boys J16 Coastal Quad Sculls race was won by Itchen with an impressive time of 20:28, with BTC earning another second place finish ahead of Southsea in third. 

Following on from that third place, Southsea won the Ladies Novice Coastal Fours after beating 10 other entries in a time of 22 minutes, 19 seconds. The runners up were Shanklin with Southampton third. 

Itchen earned a 1-2 finish in the Girls J16 River Single Sculls with Lewis beating Daniels to first place. BTC's Gooch finished in third place. 

Onto Division Two, which started shortly after 2pm, and it was Lymington who recorded the most impressive victory of the day. The Men's Open River Double Scull of Peter Lock and Jack Bladen began taking on water throughout the race but the Lymington crew continued on. 

Despite this, they actually won the race in a time of 20:59 ahead of Itchen in second place. 

The Men's Senior Coastal Fours race saw Coalporters take the category win in a time of 19:27 ahead of Deal in second with a time of 19:57. 

Home club BTC won the Junior/Senior Coastal Fours race in a time of 20:01 with Southampton finishing second. 

Shanklin finished in a time of 19:57 to win the Mens Junior Coastal Fours race ahead of Deal in second and Westover in third. 

The Mens Novice Coastal Four featured a total of 13 entries. The race was ultimately won by Solent University in a time of 20:47 with Christchurch finishing 13 seconds behind them as runners up. Lymington were third. 

Two Itchen crews finished first and second in the Ladies Open River Quad Sculls category. Itchen A finished in 22 minutes to win. The Itchen B crew were second in a time of 22:37. 

Solent University picked up another win in the Ladies Junior River Four category with the crewing completing the course in 23 minutes, 11 seconds. Second place went to Itchen whilst Deal finished third. 

BTC earned another home victory in the Mens Masters River Double Sculls. They won in a time of 20:59 ahead of Lymington in second while the BTC B crew finished third. 

In the River Single Sculls events, BTC's Cosens won the Open Men's race ahead of Southampton's Kneller. 

A sculler from Itchen won the Masters River Single Sculls race ahead of Wyatt from BTC. 

The Mens Novice River Scull category was won by Piggot in 23 minutes, 37 seconds ahead of Maxwell from BTC in second. 

The Boys J16 River Single Sculls was another 1-2 finish for Itchen. 

Lymington took another pairs victory by winning the Ladies Senior Coastal Pairs race ahead of Coalporters in second and Southampton in third. 

BTC then took a final win in the Ladies Novice Coastal Double Sculls category with a win over Itchen who finished second. Southsea were third, finishing the day with another top 3 result. 

The next race is scheduled to be Christchurch's Head of the Stour event. For video highlights of the 2014 HDARA Season, please visit the Video Archive.  

7th March 2015 - Alex Barnes