Bond vs Drysdale in Billy Webb Challenge
The New Zealand rowing season was in full swing over the weekend with the official beginning of summer and the Billy Webb Challenge in Whanganui, New Zealand.
The singles race saw Billy Webb Challenge defending champion, Mahe Drysdale, face off against Hamish Bond. After a difficult race the World and Olympic Champion from the men's pair, Bond, got the better of men's single Olympic Champion Drysdale.
The winding, windy, 5km course on the Whanganui River presented the scullers with difficult conditions that included not only strong currents and weather difficulties but also, for Drysdale, a floating log to get through. At the end of the race Bond described his forearms going numb from holding his oar handles so tight.
Bond left the start at a 41 stroke rate pace, about seven beats higher than Drysdale's stroke rate, which gave Bond the early lead. When Drysdale stopped to get around the log, Bond made sure he was able to create enough of a leading edge that Drysdale was never able to make up.
For the women, Lucy Spoors led the way. Spoors was part of New Zealand's women's quadruple sculls that raced to fifth at this year's World Rowing Championships. Spoors finished seventh overall amongst the 22 male and female starters and three minutes behind Bond.
This is the second time that Bond has competed in the Billy Webb Challenge while Drysdale has won the event three times. For Spoors, it is her first attempt.
In a new format for 2014, the race began with a mass start with the 22 scullers at the start line ranging in age from 15 to 68.
Both Bond and Spoors won $NZD1000 for their efforts.