Want to get more race experience early in the season?

Fed up with getting knocked out in the first round by the eventual winners?

Want to win without getting BR points?

Then enter the new Challenge8s at Thames Ditton Regatta!

This was an experimental event at TDR for 2014, reflecting BR’s enthusiasm that events explore innovative formats, and recognising that:

  • Many crews want race experience (and an early-season regatta like ours is a key time to be getting that).
  • They get the most useful experience from racing crews close to their standard.

We’re running the same format again in 2016, since most competitors and coaches have liked it so far.

Attractions of this event over traditional, knock-out events:

  • Every crew will get AT LEAST 2 races.
  • In the “finals” you will race a crew which is adjacent to you in speed rank (from the entries received), increasing the likelihood that it will be a close race.

Here’s how it will work:

  • There is an event for open crews, and another for women’s crews.
  • The event is open to IM2 crews and below. In reality, TDR doesn’t often attract many genuine IM2 crews, so don’t assume that all your competitors will have 32 points, because they won’t. Sch/Junior and J16 entries are welcome. The age/points status of crews will not be published.
  • Entries should be made on BROE in the normal way, but crews will need to confirm on the day, 2 hours before the first race of the event, that they will compete. The first rounds will be redrawn in the event of scratchings.
  • Everyone’s first and possibly second race (depending on whether there is an odd or even number of entries) will be against RANDOMLY SELECTED other crew. Please note that it is possible you then race the same crew again in the final.
  • Both crews in all heats will be timed. As TDR uses a free start, to make times comparable across heats, timing will be done from a fixed point, which will be shortly after the start.
  • The winners of the A final will get pots.

Pattern of races for different numbers of entries:
In various cases, there will be “petit” final/s. Do not enter this event if you’re not prepared to race a B, C or even D final. You will mess up the pattern of races for others crews. We’re laying this on so you can get race experience. If you don’t want the experience of racing when you’re an eensy weensy bit tired, don’t enter this event!

Because one of the benefits of this format is that, after the initial rounds, you will race another crew next to you in the speed rankings, we will only run the event if there are at least 5 and ideally 8 entries. Without this number, there is too much risk of having crews of diverse speeds, and/or racing the same opposition twice. If we don’t get enough entries, depending on the status of what we have got, we will run traditional status events (with points). We’ll call you on Saturday, 7 May 2016 after entries have closed about this.

8 crews:
4 heats. Time all crews (winners as well as losers). That’s 1 race each.
A (2 fastest crews), B (3rd and 4th fastest crews), C ( etc) and D finals based on times.

9 crews:
9 heats.

That’s 2 races each already!

All races are timed, and take place in a block, so crews should remain on the water after their first race.

Finals A, B, C and D based on aggregate times. The slowest crew does not get a 3rd race.

Draw patterns for larger numbers of entries will follow the above for odd/even numbers of entries.

You obviously get rather a different experience depending on whether the number of entries is odd (most crews get 3 races) or even (all crews get 2 races). If it’s odd, you are only guaranteed to race 2 other randomly-chosen crews, although most will get a 3rd race against a more matched crew. If it’s even, your 2nd race will be against a crew that is next to you in speed from the crews entered.


Email (but do TRY to work it out for yourself by reading the above carefully first.)