Fours Head and Vet Fours Head of the River

The Fours Head weekend brought with it calm and serene conditions, a reasonable stream and some fast times.

The men in the Fours Head on Saturday put in two crews: the new combination of Alex Marlow, Tom Suanders, Chris Mollison and Matt Nicholls (arguably our 2 best men's doubles); and the Juniors in an unusual combination of Jack Grace, Pierre Flasse, Andrew Collins and Ross Porter (Andrew had to sub in for Jake which resulted in a crew swap around).

The senior quad sculled at IM1, and despite coming 104th with a solid time of 19.53, came in the 2nd half of their category - such is the competitiveness of the Fours Head.  Tom did mention that it was a bit of a slog, as it was a melding of 2 different styles - so some work to be done there.

The seniors can be seen here at about 1.20 into the video.

The juniors came 150th in 20.11.  Pretty good for a scratch crew and when you compare it to the seniors, but at the same time, the Junior category at the Fours Head was very competitive and our boys came roughly midfield.

They can be seen here at about 0.39 into the video:

On Sunday, 3 Men's Vets crews competed.  The superb mixed Medway/MIRC Vet B quad with Lewin Hynes, James Knight and Shaun and Michael from Medway, came 3rd overall in a field of just over 200, and 2nd out of their category of 6 with a very fast time of 19.21.  A fantastic result, though they were a little disappointed at not winning a pennant.

The ex Novice Vet C 4x of Darren Prentice, Bob Barber, Jez Massey and Ali Machin completed the course in a very reasonable 22.02, and should be proud of the achievement.  Despite the reality of promotion to Open status from Novice and then competing at one of the top events of the year, they all seemed very motivated from the experience.

Finally, the experimental Vet D 4x of Ray Phillips, Ollie Barton, Gerraint Evans and Richard Huggins had a strong row and came in mid-field with a time of 20.46.  They are definitely progressing in the right direction: beating Vesta, who just pipped them in the first heat at Henley Vets in the summer, and slowly closing the gap with Ardingly.

A big thanks to the loyal trailer towers, wellie monitors, and general support who came along over the weekend.

Annual Dinner

Three weeks to go until this years Annual Dinner at Dance, Saturday 24th November.   

Mercure Maidstone (Great Danes), Ashford Road, Hollingbourne, ME17 1RE.

Three course dinner:  (vegetarian option available please advise) 

Starter - Freshly made carrot and coriander soup, crunchy croutons
Main - Roasted breast of chicken, smoked bacon, mushroom, sun-blushed tomato, red wine sauce served with potatoes and seasonal vegetables
Dessert - Glazed lemon tart, raspberry salsa  
Entertainment: DJ  

Dress code: Black Tie

Everyone is welcome so please feel free to invite family and friends along.  Tickets in advance only £35 each, please make cheques payable to MIRC, or transfer to sort code 403106, 71230964.
Please let me know if you would like a ticket to this event on or 07783 954371 and let me know in advance of any special dietary requirements.

Upper Thames Fours & Small Boats Head - 2012

A small MIRC contingent made its way to Henley to compete at the Upper Thames Head.  We put 6 Junior crews and 1 Masters crew into a competitive field for the 2 mile race.  Compared to the Medway, steering at Henley with the white posts taken away is a relative breeze, with only a gentle long bend to contend with.  However, the strong headwind and upstream conditions meant that it would be very expensive if you found yourself carried out into the stream.

For the Juniors, Jake and Pierre came 3rd with a time of 12.38 in the J18 2x beaten only by two very strong crews from Star / Leander.  

Ross and Jack also came 3rd in the pair beaten by two crews from Kingston again J18s with a time of 13.12.

Andrew and Dylan raced twice in the J18 2x and IM3 2x but improving from race to race (14.40 and 14.13).

The boys J17 quad racing at J18 came 3rd again beaten only by the Star/Leander and Henley J18s with a time of 11.47. They did beat the Bewl crew that took bronze at Nat Schools by 48 secs, however.
Sally and Tamsin rowed a composite with Bewl and were competitive against stiff opposition on the day

Overall the Juniors have raised the bar with their performances.

As expected, the experimental Masters Vet D4x were beaten by both Ardingly quads.  The time: 12.07 v 11.53 for their Vet D crew and 11.56 for their Vet E crew.  That said, Ardingly have one of the most competitive veteran sculling squads in the country, coming 3rd and 1st respectively at last year's Open events at the Vet Nat Champs, so this was not too shabby.  We will get a better picture of where we fit at the Vets Fours Head in November.

Tour from Medway to Maidstone on 28/10/12.

On 28th October our recreational section organised a short tour for the 11.5 miles from Medway Towns RC at Rochester (on the tidal Medway) back to Maidstone via Allington Lock.  The Recreational Squad was joined by boats from other squads and 6 crews and 39 members took part. It started as a cold wintery Sunday with temperatures as low as 4 degrees but luckily despite forecast rain it stayed dry, other than from some members who got damp from washes from passing boats.

As the cars turned into the Medway slipway one member commented “it’s a bit rougher then we are used to at Maidstone!”  This was part of the reason for the row so we could allow members to have the opportunity to row on more lively tidal water than we are used to.   We had invited Medway Towns to join us but they were in the middle of a big recruitment drive and their members were very busy taking out new members so they were unable to join us.  They considered it to be a relatively calm day, with a following tide and a following wind.

The boats taking part were:-
  • Recreational coxed quad (Captained by Alan Leeson).
  • Recreational coxed quad (Captained by Tom Fuller).
  • Masters B coxed quad (Coxed by Ella Knight).
  • Masters Intermediate 3 coxless quad (steered by Ally Machin).
  • Junior eight (MGS coxed/coached by Lois Birrell and stroked by Mark Tomkins).
  • Masters D eight (coxed by Andrea Barker).
  • Club Safety Boat (manned by Chris Long and Dani James).

The first boats got afloat about 9:30am with the last boating at Rochester about 10am

 Masters 8


 MGS boys with Sean and Mark

The 6 crews all had different reasons for the row with the recreational boats out for a long leisurely row while taking some members for their first long row.  The junior eight were also out for their first long distance row, and the two Masters quads and the Masters eight using the row as tidal water training to get ready for the Veterans Heads in November.

Frozen Lois!

All the crews were well wrapped up against the cold day and plenty of water and snacks were also taken together with balers and other safety equipment.

Allington Lock is only opened 2 hours before and 2 hours after high tide so those using it have to plan this row with the tides.  We also had to allow for the fact that at low tide much of the up reaches around Aylesford don’t have enough water in them for any boats to row.  Luckily, we planned the tides just right and our boats came up fast at the top of an incoming tide with high tide at the lock at 12:15. 

About 11:45am our first crews reached Allington Lock, and the lock keepers opened up the full lock to enable all the boats to get into the lock together. By 12:30 all the crews were back at the club for tea and cakes.

Thanks go to Chris Long and John Clayton for organising the towing and Chris and Dani for manning the safety boat, and braving the cold.

Dani gets some heat in her.

The pictures show the Clubs boats at Allington lock.

It was generally agreed it had been good row and great fun and that the Club should organise more events and rows similar to this one.


We are grateful to both Medway Towns RC and the lock keepers for their help. 

John Clayton

Pairs Head - 2012

MIRC put in 3.5 crews at this year's Pairs Head.

Matt Nicholls and Chris Mollison were our fastest crew, coming 78th overall and 4th out of 7 in the Senior 2- in 12.21.9.  Not too shabby when the fastest 2-, an elite pair from Molesey, did it in 11.48.3.

Alex Marlow and Tom Saunders continued their fine run of form coming 97th and an excellent 3rd out of 28 runners in the IM2 2- in 12.29.1.  Just 7 seconds difference between them and Matt and Chris!!

Keith Jones (today choosing to row in the fetching green of Bewl Bridge) and Ray Phillips came 340th and 5th out of 8 in the Masters F2x in 13.40.6.

Finally, the newish paring of Laura Birrell and Sarah Kendall came 354th and 7th out of 8 in the lightweight women's IM3 2- in 13.47.6.

Maidstone Autumn Small Boats Head - 2012

The weather Gods were kind to us this year after weeks of rain, there was neither flooding nor a particularly strong stream.  Instead we were treated to a glorious autumn day, albeit with a headwind during the 2nd and 3rd divisions impacting times a little.

The clubs visiting us bore a close resemblance to those who came to the Spring Head, with strong contingents from the Lea, Medway Towns, Globe, and Kings School Canterbury in particular.  So, as we are beginning to discover, the days when MIRC dominated the event are long gone, and a thoroughly competitive day was to be had.

MIRC did reel in a good clutch of wins, however,

Chris Mollison and Matt Nicholls were our fastest boat in the pair coming 3rd overall in 9.06, though were without opposition.

Another special note goes to Saunders and Marlow in their IM2 pair who came 6th in 9.15.  Their terrifyingly high rating making up for some unique steering and timing choices, is now putting them in spitting distance of Mollison and Nicholls.  "Game on" says Tom.

The Masters D4x+ of Richard Huggins, Ollie Barton, Gerraint Evans and Ray Philips (coxed by Andrea Barker) came 9th and won the D/Cx category in 9.18 without having to resort to their handicap.

The Masters G4x+ of Tony Marshall, Alan Leeson, Keith Jones, and Robin Chapman (again coxed by Andrea Barker) won their G/Fx category in a very useful time of 9.47.  For the uninitiated - G represents a minimum average age of 65.

Jake Harris continued his strong season by winning the J17 singles in 9.56.

Lucy Maunsell and Andrew Collins won the mixed J182x in 10.38.

Of the other Juniors, a special note goes to the WJ13 4x+ of Louise Holt, Charlotte Burrows, Molly Bishop, Ella Knight and cox Katie Le Lion experienced their first head race and coped admirably with the chaos of pre and post race marshalling. They did well to complete the course despite being smashed into from behind by an aggressive coxless pair wearing orange and thus learning a few new words in the process! Great work to build upon with a benchmark set to beat in Spring. 

And finally, Tony Marshall won the Masters E/F 1x category in 11,45, beating his friend and frequent opponent from Tyne RC, Ian Boyd, by just 3 seconds.

Another fun day out on the Medway was had by all, with only 3 swimmers.  Just need to get those final results out a bit quicker.. hint.

Cambridge Autumn - 2012

MIRC won 8 races at Cambridge Autumn this year.

The wins were:

Mens Junior 18 2x
Mixed Junior 18 2x
Mixed Junior 17 2x
Senior Women Nov 2x
Senior IM3 1x
Masters A Nov 1x
Masters B 1x
Masters B 2x

Lewin and James celebrating their Masters B 2x win

Getting the most out of the Website

The stats are showing us that more and more people are visiting the website as time goes on, which is great news.

I thought it would be good to point out some of the hidden gems.

Never ask when the next regatta is again.

On the Competition Page at the top, you will see the calendar which is regularly updated with our target races. It is really easy to embed this into your own calendar, whether it is Outlook or a web based calendar such as in Hotmail, Google or Yahoo.

The instructions for each will be different - here are a sample of the main calendars.

Go to the Calendar.
In the menu near the top, click on 'subscribe'
In the Calendar URL box enter:
Give it a name.

Go to to your Calendar
On the left pane under 'Other Calendars' - type into the box:
Hit enter - job done.

Yahoo Mail
Go to your Calendar
In the left hand pane click the + next to subscribed
Enter in the box:
Hit enter - job done.

Outlook (latest version)
Go to Calendar
Click the Open Calendar icon in the ribbon at the top
Click 'from the internet'

Enter in the box:
Hit enter - job done.

Now your calendar will be automatically updated with the MIRC Racing Calendar.


If you haven't already, please subscribe to the noticeboard.  You will be asked if you want email updates when a new notice is posted.  We strongly recommend you accept this as it will will enable you to be kept bang up to date with any developments without having to navigate to the website.

Online Booking System

Our online boat booking system is now up and running (under 'Useful Rowing Links' in the right hand pane).  If you want to ensure that a boat is available for your crew, then please use it.

River Conditions

You know the feeling, you get up at 6am for that 7am row (well I don't, but the seniors do), and you look out the window and it is blowing a gale in arctic conditions.  What to do? Dive under the covers and possibly let the crew down, or check if weather will give you a break?

Well also under 'Useful Rowing Links' in the right hand pane, you will be able to get pretty up to date info on if the river is Green or not by clicking the Medway Weather Conditions website run by Allington Lock.  Still in doubt, then check in with your coach.

Maidstone Autumn Small Boats Head - Sunday 30th Sept

Yes - its only 5 weeks away, so get your entries in as soon as possible.

See here for details.

Sudbury International Regatta - 2012

MIRC continued their excellent record at Sudbury this year with a tally of 10 wins.  7 to the Masters and 3 to the Juniors.  We won 14 races last year, but that was with the Senior squad, who did not show this year.  This year was arguably a more difficult field with a veritable sea of orange as a very strong Lea contingent descended on the Regatta en masse.

I don't know how they do it, but the organisers at Sudbury always manage to get the weather right for their regatta, so after a couple of showers in the morning, we were treated to a beautiful English summers day.

The Masters campaign started off badly with a loss in the defence of their Masters A Eights title against Lea.  Who beat us tactically, by racing at 48 at 3/4 slide.  We strode at 40 at full slide, but just could not compete with that stroke rate.  Something to think about next time.

As we are talking Sudbury here, the day was littered with incidents, in particular, multiple flirtations with the infamous banks going both for and against our crews.  Although it was clear that we have an edge from our own experience at Maidstone compared to many other crews.

The Masters B2x of James Knight and Lewin Hynes came across top quality opponents from Medway, who were attracted to the Bank like magnets.  After Medway's first stoppage, our young Masters, very gentlemenly it has to be said, stopped and then restarted once Medway had almost caught up.  This lasted a few more strokes before Medway hit the Suffolk bank again.  A rather unsatisfactory win.

Richard Huggins (Masters D1x) and Ray Philips (Masters E1x) showed their quality in the single sculls both winning their events comfortably.

They combined to beat Broxbourne in the semis of the D2x, only to be just beaten by Paul Kane and Mick Howe (MIRC/Ardingly composite) in the final.  Paul and Mick had beaten Huntingdon fairly easily twice (another gentlemenly rerow) to get there.

You would have thought Sudbury themselves would be immune to the dangers of the course, but after their Masters F crew beat our very own Tony Marshall and Keith Jones (rowing Vet G) in the heats, they in turn succumbed to their Suffolk bank in the final against our Robin Chapman and Roger Mobbs.

Roger then combined with Sue Mobbs in their now traditional Mixed Masters F 2x race against Sudbury (Masters D) in the best Masters race of the day, with Sudbury clawing back against the large handicap every step of the way, and Roger and Sue hanging in there for dear life.  They won by a length.

Finally, the newly promoted Masters crew from Chris Long's Weight Training squad (for want of a better name) played at Masters A IM3 4+.  They were either going to thrash or be thrashed in that event, and fortunately it was the former, as they were placed against a very Novice looking Gravesend crew, allowing them to win by the biggest margin of the day.

Jez Massey, Ali Machin, Mr Mayor, Dani James, Darren Prentice, Chris Long

The Juniors came with a large posse of youngsters, some of whom were enjoying their first regatta. None successful, but a great experience for them anyway.

Andrew Collins and Jake Harris won the J16 2x easily in an all MIRC final beating Broxbourne on the way.  Andrew also made the final of J16 1x eventually being beaten by the boy who beat Jake in the previous round. However the race with Jake was extremely close and the fastest single race of the whole day!

Beth Arscott and Lauren Gilchrist won by 2 lengths in the WJ16 2x, beating Rob Roy in the final.

Finally Beth and Lauren teamed up with Arabella Gordon-Reid and Tamsyn McConnchie in a WJ16 4x+.  Coxed by Connor Gilchrist, the crew racing as seniors (WIM3 4x+) beat Leicester RC handsomely by 3 lengths in a straight final.

Do we know him?

The now usual Veterans celebratory picture in the evening sun.

Another fun day out for us in Suffolk. A big thanks to the parents who helped out, and for towing from Chris and Darren.

Finally, there is some good video footage at Row TV HERE from a number of the Divisions.

Big thanks to the Facebooks of Andi, Jez and Darren for the piccies.

Henley Town & Visitors - 2012

Lewin Hynes was MIRC's only competitor at Henley Town & Visitors this year (I think this is known as "pothunting" - Ed), playing in the IM2 1x category.

Lewin demonstrated some assured sculling; winning comfortably and earning himself a very impressive trophy!

Here he is in the final in slightly choppy water - 7.17 secs in.

The Torch Comes to MIRC!

Early on the morning of Friday 20th July, the Olympic Torch went through Maidstone.

MIRC members had a big part to play as they formed part of the crew that rowed the "Jubilant" with Naval Cadets from the town centre to the club.  All along the way, the Torch was met by cheering crowds, and received at the club by a MIRC guard of honour.

Fantastic stuff.  See here some photos.  Thomas Colgey has more excellent photos of the event on his Flickr site HERE

Ryan selected for GB Junior Worlds Team!

After a particularly brutal trials procedure which included a time trial, a pairs matrix, 17 x 1500m pieces, 12 x 1250m pieces (plus all the paddling in between) and 8 (!) individual seat races over 5 days, I am delighted to inform the club that Ryan Mitchell has been selected to represent GB at the Junior World Rowing Championships in Bulgaria in August!

  Ryan - seen here in the 2 seat of the Wyfolds Four at Henley

The first day saw a time trial over 2km in pairs in which Ryan raced with a boy from King’s Chester. They finished in 12th place which was enough to place them in the B matrix. After a further 5 races, swapping pairs partners every time, Ryan had climbed up to finish in 2nd place. The boys then moved into 4s to start the seat racing procedure. Racing over 1500m, the boys are swapped at random times to see how much impact they have in each boat. A lucky break when a rower dropped out ill meant that Ryan stayed in the top boats and went on to win 3 seat races in a row, putting him in contention for the Worlds team. From then on it was a stressful few days as he was tested against those surrounding him in the rankings but ultimately he came out on top, claiming the last spot on the 14 man team (7 on each side) with the last race of the trials. The final crews will be decided next week as they move to the GB rowing lake at Caversham for some ‘paddling’.

Ryan produced an incredibly impressive display this week, working himself into the ground to create and then take the opportunity for the Worlds team. No other boy at the entire trial was seat raced or tested as much and he entirely deserves not only his place but the accolades placed on him by the other coaches. It was a pleasure to listen to their praise of his attitude, commitment, desire as well as his rowing ability. I’m sure the whole club will agree with me when I say this is a fantastic achievement and we wish Ryan all the best over the next few weeks as he prepares to compete for his country!

Helen Taylor

Henley Masters - 2012

Maidstone Invicta won its first Henley Masters Race (I think)  with the B4+ of James Knight, Will Purnell, Richard Ridgway and Lewin Hynes - coxed by Joanne Jarrett beating Upper Thames by all of 2 ft.

It was the culmination of 3 epic heats over two very soggy days, and an inauspicious start with Will and Joanne only just making it in time as the boat was being carried down to the boating area.


The Masters D8+ were unfortunate in coming across Leander BC (Canada) with 3 ex-internationals in the boat, and were happy that the losing distance was no more than 3 lengths.  That said,  they seem to have plateaued (not entirely fair - this is Henley after all).  The serious season is now over, and some thought is going into next season's priorities.

An experimental D4x made an appearance (Henley not really being the place to experiment, but hey...) and early impressions that this had possibilities were justified with a relaxed performance, just losing to Vesta by a canvas in the first round.  Watch this space.

Finally, MIRCs next generation Olympians made a an appearance  to sniff out the turf and get a feel for their future stomping grounds!