LMS women’s crew coming together ahead of the S2J

GUERNSEY’S top women’s quad may have a tough task on their hands to defend their Sark to Jersey title next month.

The Le Mont Saint Garage quad are expecting stiff opposition over the 27km inter-insular spectacle from Jersey’s crack Carey Olsen crew, who opted out last year and won the British Championships instead.

But where ‘S2J’ preparation is concerned, the Clameur Challenge is the best Guernsey has to offer.

The gruelling 16.4km course based at Havelet starts with a straight leg to Lower Heads before turning around Jethou and returning via a long, mostly upwind, slog back via Anfre. Tricky tidal conditions and relatively high winds meant Saturday’s event truly lived up to its name.

LMS Garage were among the class winners in a race where, unsurprisingly, male counterparts TPA set the overall standard – winning in 1hr 20min. 8sec.

Liz Beausire, who rows at stroke position in a quad also featuring Kris Vavere, Ilze Briggs, Lisa de Kooker and cox Neil Brennan, made an impactful admission afterwards.

‘I actually always find the Clameur Challenge, although it’s a shorter distance, harder than the Sark to Jersey – genuinely,’ Beausire said.

‘I think it’s because you’ve got 5km punching quite a big tide all the way home – it is pretty tricky.’

Speaking of the young season, she feels the new-look crew are ‘definitely coming together’.

‘It’s always very different and it takes quite a while to gel as a crew,’ she added.

‘You can’t just get in a boat and just expect to have great races all the time.

Brennan added: ‘It’s a completely different crew. It’s not the crew of last year, so we’re starting from scratch.

‘We’re just learning how to row with each other, while putting in a bit more technique than we had last year.

‘Whether they’re up to win the Sark to Jersey is questionable. Jersey have really good ladies’ fours and I think they will be favourites by a long way.’

But TPA, Guernsey’s hope for a ‘S2J’ men’s quad victory, showed their strength on Saturday.

They started last but carved swiftly through the fleet, taking line honours despite setting off 6min. after the men’s doubles and fully 26min. after the go boat.

TPA round Jethou. (Picture by Martin Gray, www.guernseysportphotography.com, 30919631)

The altered LMS Pairs men’s double – Paul Montague (replacing Pete Beausire) and Shaun Kelling – rowed a very solid race to place second overall in 1-26-36. They held off the later-starting TPA until just before the Anfre turn with around 2km left.

Class rivals Swoffers were the third-fastest boat, posting 1-30-47.

LMS Garage gave a decent account of themselves against the male crews and clocked 1-35-40, finishing just over 11min. clear of class runners-up Nigellas.

Veteran singles rower Paul Pearce (1-39-48) and the promising mixed double of Marc Isabelle and Dani Barnett (1-42-28) were the only finishers in their respective classes.

The Clameur Challenge welcomed one of the better turnouts of 2022 so far, but the suitably tough race – which included some particularly tough waters around Lower Heads and on the return leg – claimed a total of three DNFs.

Friday evening’s Course D race looks to be a milder affair, never straying far from the Guernsey shore, and starts at 7.15pm.

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