The racing started Friday 10 April and progressed through Sunday morning (European time) as the race through history flew through the time of what would have been 2020 World Rowing Cup I.  

On the first day of voted racing the eights and the pairs took to the start line.

First up was the women’s pair with the race between Canada’s Marnie McBean and Kathleen Heddle and New Zealand’s Grace Prendergast and Kerri Gowler. The Kiwis took an early lead in the polls and then started to work their way out to the front of the race. By the time the Canadian morning hit, it might have been too late. The Canadian pair made a push into the final sprint, but it was not enough. With more than 60 per cent of the votes, New Zealand took home the first title.

Winners: New Zealand (2253 votes)

Runner-up: Canada (1385 votes)

Fantasy Cup - Gowler / Prendergast © FISA

 

Then racing continued with the men’s pair, an exciting race between Australia’s Drew Ginn and James Tomkins and Croatia’s Sinkovic brothers. Martin and Valent Sinkovic are known for their quick starts, and in fantasy racing, it wasn’t any different. They quickly took the lead and despite a mid-race surge from the Australians, they kept it through to the end.

Winners: Croatia (3206 votes)

Runner-up: (1576 votes)

Fantasy Cup - Sinkovic/Sinkovic © FISA

 

And then came the close race in the women’s eights when the United States went up against Romania. Early in the European morning, Romania took the lead off the start. But as the Americans woke up, the votes started pouring in. The USA made a late surge, but it cost them energy. In the final strokes, Romania came back just to pip them at the line.

Winners: Romania (2511 votes)

Runner-up: USA (2006 votes)

Fantasy Cup - 2004 Romania W8+ © FISA

 

So, could their compatriots, the USA men’s eight from 2004, pull off a win against the British men’s eight from 2016? The British also took the early lead against the Americans and went through the 500 metre mark ahead. This gave the British confidence and as they went through the middle of the race, they kept pulling away with every stroke. It was a dominating performance from the British.

Winners: Great Britain (3601 votes)

Runner-up: USA (1119 votes)

Fantasy Cup - 2016 GB Olympic M8+ © FISA

 

Day two off racing got off to a great start with the para PR2 mixed double sculls. China’s Tianming Fei and Shuang Liu went up against France’s Stephane Tardieu and Perle Bouge. The French were on fire and completely unstoppable. They claimed the early lead and then moved away with confidence throughout the day, finishing with an impressive lead over China.

Winners: France (3811 votes)

Runner-up: (493 votes)

Fantasy Cup - Tardieu / Bouge © FISA

 

Next up to the start was the lightweight men’s double sculls and the race between Ireland’s Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy and Denmark’s Mads Rasmussen and Rasmus Quist did not disappoint. The Danish were known for their fast sprints, but they also got off the start-line in a hurry, pulling in 2/3 of the votes in the first few hours. But the Irish had something to say about that. Making a move in the middle thousand, they had a valiant effort to come back on the Danish crew. But Quist and Rasmussen took the rate up into the sprint and crossed the finish line first.

Winners: Denmark (3495 votes)

Runner-up: Ireland (1846 votes)

Fantasy Cup - Rasmussen / Quist © FISA

 

On the women’s side in the lightweight women’s double sculls, the race was determined quite early. The Kiwi duo of Zoe McBride and Jackie Kiddle stormed out to the lead, grabbing the early votes. And even with their best effort, Great Britain’s Sophie Hosking and Katherine Copeland couldn’t get back into the race. McBride and Kiddle stormed through the finish line.

Winners: New Zealand (3502 votes)

Runner-up: Great Britain (1612 votes)

Fantasy Cup - McBride / Kiddle © FISA

 

To finish off the two days of thrilling fantasy races were the single sculls. First up was the men’s single sculls when the historical legend Pertti Karppinen of Finland went up against the more recent star Mahe Drysdale of New Zealand. It looks like history did not fare well in this race. Drysdale took a storming lead ahead of three-time Olympic Champion Karppinen. With his long, powerful strokes and sleek black boat, Drysdale kept the power straight through until the end.

Winner: Mahe Drysdale – New Zealand (4535 votes)

Runner-up: Pertti Karppinen – Finland (1244 votes)

Fantasy Cup - Mahe Drysdale © FISA

 

And to round off the day, the women’s single sculls race got underway between Australia’s Kim Brennan and Belarus’ Ekaterina Karsten. It was longevity for the win in the women’s category when Karsten picked up the early lead against the recent Thomas Keller Medal winner Brennan. Karsten’s experience drove her through the middle of the race and she even managed to pick up a bit of a sprint to solidify her winning position.

Winner: Ekaterina Karsten – Belarus (3388 votes)

Runner-up: Kim Brennan – Australia (1513 votes)

Fantasy Cup - Ekaterina Karsten © FISA