Sydney University Boat Club’s (SUBC) number one eight equaled the record for the most consecutive wins in the historic Riverview Gold Cup on Saturday.
The win by Sydney University was the sixth in a row and equaled the record established by Sydney Rowing Club from 1978-83 for a straight club crew. Sydney University has now won this event on 10 of the last 12 years – a feat not previously matched.
The 2013 Gold Cup looked to be shaping as a hard fought battle between Sydney University and Sydney Rowing Club and these two crews progressed easily into the final, drawing the centre lanes with Sydney in lane 2 and Sydney University on their outside in lane 3.
The favourites started the 1400 metre course evenly. In such a short race early speed is important and Sydney looked to be making ground early with their initial rating up at 44-45 and University at 41. As the crews settled it was these two boats drawing well away from the other finalists – Scots and Sydney No 2.
The course is a 1100 metre run to a 40 degree dog-leg turn, followed by a 300 metre straight to the finish line at Riverview wharf. The university crew had a slight lead on Sydney as they moved towards the turn at the “leaning pile”.
As the crew straightened, the course announcer called Sydney Uni a quarter of a length ahead. Stroke Nick Wheatley and seven man Nick Purnell pushed a dynamic rhythm to their crew as the rate increased in the University boat. They began extending their lead quickly in the final 250 metres, drawing away from Sydney Rowing Club to gain clear water and cross the line over a full length clear.
The recorded margin was 3.23 seconds. With incoming tide and tailwind the time was a quick 3 mins 46 seconds.
The Sydney crew was led by 2013 World Championship silver medalists (men’s four) Spencer Turrin and Alex Lloyd, alongside London Olympic silver medallist (also men’s four) and six time King’s Cup winner James Chapman. The Sydney crew was steered by cox Angus Bagby (2013 Australian U23 eight) and coached by Tom Morris.
The Sydney University crew was stroked by Nick Wheatley (2013 Australian U23 eight) and coxed by Will Raven (2011 and 2012 Australian U23 teams). Also part of the eight were Nick Purnell (London Olympics stroke of Australian men’s eight), Sasha Belonogoff (National team double scull 2013) and Australian U23 reps Pete Koster, Cam Girdlestone, Hamish Playfair, Kit Cunningham-Reid and Jack Hargreaves. The crew was coached by Mark Prater.
This iconic trophy is a small solid gold cup presented by the citizens of Lane Cove in 1890 for competition at the annual Riverview Regatta. The trophy is decorated with Australian flora and fauna motifs reflecting the social and political interest of the times as Australia discovered its national identity and moved towards Federation.
This tiny cup is coveted by clubs and schools and its 120 year list of winner’s chronicle who was the leading rowing club in men’s competition over that period. It is also one of the few harbour regattas where clubs will field their top crews in what can be challenging conditions.