Rowing champs support Great Race

  • 05/09/2010

By Michelle Pickles

The ninth running of the Gallaher Great Race took to the Waikato River today.

This time it was Cambridge University who had made the trip down to take on Waikato University – both teams vying for the prestigious Harry Mahon Trophy.

Some famous Kiwi rowing faces were on hand to support the great race.

“It’s just another event that really gives the sport a profile; obviously a great event for Hamilton and the people that come out and support it,” says four time world champion Mahe Drysdale.

With the World Championships just two months away the Waikato crew were without their New Zealand internationals.

“I know a lot of guys that study at Waikato University would love to be out there racing at the moment but they had the hard word put on them they weren't allowed to come here and race. We're just here to show our support,” says world champ Eric Murray/

This was the fifth time Cambridge were in Hamilton for the GreatRrace and the score sat at two all – and it turned into, quite literally, a huge clash.

Waikato had to pull out into the current to give Cambridge the right of way, which slowed them down.

“I just wanted to bring it down; tone it off so I can come in behind them because there’s no point sitting out in the current and they brought it down and I got my course back on the way,” says Waikato coxswain Ainslee Ashton.

But Cambridge had the lead and never relinquished it, holding on for an important victory.

“It’s huge; the guys come a long way, probably our biggest pre-season event, means a lot to us,” says ****.

And of course a win isn't a win with the usual celebration of ***.

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