By Ime Udoh
Typhoon arrived in Stockton after a huge protein fest the night before at locally rented cottage in Great Ayton, Middlesbrough. After a number of chicken selfies, a quality BBQ and birthday celebrations we departed to our beds to rest up for the following race day.
For a number of Typhoon, Stockton was a new venue with the Infinity Bridge cutting a striking shape over the River Tees. Unsurprisingly, the weather lived up to the northern stereotype…cold and wet.
After helping to unload the borrowed boat from the Kingston Royals and setting up the tent, Typhoon completed a quick warm up and huddled for a team talk before setting off for the 200m heats. The Stockton BDA hosts 200m and 500m races with 3 boat racing. The winners and three fastest losers would go through to the Semi’s. Typhoon lined up against Kingston Royals and Three River Serpents in our first heat. Pulling away at the start, Typhoon put into practice good set up and raw power finishing strongly in first and qualifying for Semi’s automatically with a time of 51:23 seconds.
In light rain and overcast skies, Typhoon lined up against Worcester and Kingston for the Semi’s. Again, at the start, Typhoon pulled away strongly and powered through to a time of 53:84 secs.
Typhoon were 0.96 seconds behind Worcester therefore qualified for the Minor Cup Final but the boat felt good and Typhoon knew the areas to improve on for the next race. Matched against Notts Anacondas and Cambridge Royals, Typhoon had a snack or two, warmed up and gulped down some water before loading the boat. After a good fight, Typhoon finished second (overall 5th), only losing to Cambridge by 0.28 seconds.
Some Typhoon were happily distracted throughout the day by a particularly beautiful set of huskies. With striking clear and blue eyes, who seem to have been present for every BDA this season. Of course Typhoon concentration on the boat remained sharp as a knife when on the boat with ‘race heads’ on!
An interval ensued, with the Ladies races taking place. Two teams were out on the water preparing for the race (LRC Ladies and the Powerhouse/St Neots mix) but the Amathus Ladies were still loading their boat. Race Control decided to keep to the schedule and the race went ahead with only two teams. LRC Ladies dropped Powerhouse Ladies at the start with half a boat lead by the halfway point. Powerhouse ladies slowly began to claw them back but the LRC Ladies crossed the line first adding another Cup to a rather busy trophy cabinet.
500m heats began in earnest with Typhoon finishing their heat ahead of the competition with a time of 2:25:07 minutes. A number of issues were reported on the boat despite the win and the coaching team made a few changes to ensure composure and timing. Qualifying for the Semi’s ensued and Typhoon battled through the elements to post a time of 2:18:95 minutes finishing second.
The improvement of seven seconds is testament to Typhoon taking on critical race feedback and working as a team to push the time. With the sun peeking through the clouds, Typhoon lined up for the final race of the day. Paddling with purpose, Typhon finished in a closely fought fight, second to finish fifth overall in the 500m.
In unusual Typhon fashion, we packed up the tent early (due to lack of rain in the afternoon) having already taken team photos and were one of the first teams to leave the venue for the dash back to London!
Many thanks go to the various helms who volunteered to helm the Typhoon boat showing great team work across the dragon boating community. Thanks to Kingston Royals for allowing Typhoon to borrow their boat for the Stockton BDA. Another notable mention to Fay in her first stint at drumming for a BDA; her marked improvement throughout the day is commendable.
We also very much enjoyed seeing the great coverage of the event in The Gazette newspaper, check it out! They managed to get lots of great photos, despite the poor weather, and we really like seeing more exposure for our favourite sport!