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Big rowing weekend coming up in Wanganui

  • 28 Nov 15


Saturday 5 th and Sunday 6 th December 2015

On Saturday 5 th December the Wanganui Rowing Association are running the annual Jury Cup Regatta, with racing in all boat types and in open, club, novice, and under 15, under 16 and under 17 classifications. This regatta is raced in divisions, with points allocated to place getters in each division. The club accumulating the most points over the regatta take home the Jury Cup.

Then on Sunday 6 th December, single scullers are invited to compete on the Whanganui River in “The NZME Billy Webb challenge”. This is a five kilometre race downstream, featuring a mass start in a similar concept to the Swiss “Armada Cup” event. At the start scullers are stationed in a grid pattern and with the start signal everyone is away trying to be the first to reach the finish line about five kilometres away near the Waimarie wharf. The new format recognises the ultimate winners in the elite men’s and women’s divisions, but also men and women winners Club, Masters and School Age divisions. Winners of the elite divisions win a $1,000 cash prize while every other division races for a $100 purse.

The 2015 race features athletes from the Rowing New Zealand Elite Summer Squad and from the Central and Southern Regional Performance Centres including last year’s elite women's race winner Lucy Spoors and past winner of the elite men's event, Mahe Drysdale.

Mahe has been a stalwart of the Billy Webb Challenge, competing in every event since the challenge was inaugurated in 2008. Lucy Spoors first competed in the 2014 event, winning the elite women’s event, the day after having completed, in a very respectable time, the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge.

In the 2014 event there were 22 scullers participating which provided a very exciting race, and indications are that in 2015 there will be an even larger field, a great spectacle on the Whanganui River.

In addition to the single scull challenge race there were also be a corporate eights challenge event and in a new format a small boat rowing relay teams race. The corporate eights have always formed a part of the Billy Webb challenge and in the past have been well supported by local business.

The team relay is a new concept, featuring a team of five athletes, three male and two female, racing a single scull, a pair, and in the final leg a double scull. The athletes are allowed to distribute the athletes through those three boats as they see fit, so developing a winning strategy as to who sits in which boat will be key.

The Hits Billy Webb Challenge commemorates World Champions Billy Webb’s historic defence of his title on the Wanganui River back in 2008.

Entries for both the “Jury Cup” and the “The NZME Billy Webb Challenge” close on 30 November 2015. Entries for the Jury Cup are done via the Rowit website while entry information for The NZME Billy Webb Challenge is available at billywebbchallenge.co.nz