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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Lark Midlands Double Header event at Banbury Sailing Club

by Neil Firth 16 May 08:16 BST 11 May 2024
Stuart and Julia Allen - Lark Midlands Double Header event at Banbury © Ivor Smith-Davenport

A posse of Midlands-based Larks gathered at Banbury Sailing Club for the first day of a double-header weekend in the Craftinsure Lark Class Travellers Series. The hottest day of the year (so far) provided four very enjoyable and competitive races, with plenty of overtaking opportunities in the shifty, building breeze.

The light south-easterly left the Race Officer with little option but to set two short beats with a dog-leg between them, followed by a tactical run where picking and timing the gybes was to prove decisive.

Race one saw Ed Bradburn and Holly Evans (South Staffs SC) get quickly into their stride ahead of Banbury locals Stu and Julia Allen. These two teams played the first two beats to perfection while Stuart & Nick Hydon (Shustoke SC) picked their way through the chasing pack after an uncharacteristically poor start. As the race progressed, Stuart & Nick fought back to within touching distance of Ed & Holly, but were unable to find a way past.

Meanwhile, Stu & Julia found themselves in a three-way tussle with their Banbury rivals, Neil & Sue Firth, and Olly Saunders and Zara Frankton (Shustoke SC). These three boats exchanged places from lap to lap, with Stu & Julia ultimately taking a well earned third place.

Conditions were much the same for race two; decent pressure and lifts could be found but, with holes and headers in equal measure, it was never going to be a procession. Nevertheless, it was Ed & Holly who were the early leaders with Jonny Coate and Ollie Goodhead (South Staffs SC) hot on their heels. Stuart & Nick soon joined the other two teams for a tight battle at the front.

Although Ed & Holly held their lead for most of the race, Stuart & Nick managed to sneak through on the final downwind leg to steal the win and keep the event title wide open for the races after lunch.

The afternoon breeze became even more shifty, with the short beats swinging round to a fetch and back again. It was tight at the front once again between Ed & Holly, Jonny & Ollie and Stuart & Nick, but this time it was looking as though Stuart & Nick had the upper hand. They held the lead for most of the race, only to let the other teams through on the final downwind. Ed & Holly got the win with Jonny & Ollie taking a hard fought second.

Behind these three, the other battle of the day was continuing for fourth overall between Stu & Julia, Olly & Zara and Neil & Sue, with Andrew and Toby Ward (Shustoke SC) always ready to pounce if any of them slipped up.

Going into the final race, Ed & Holly had two bullets and a second, meaning that Stuart & Nick needed a race win to clinch the event. Ed & Holly led for the first lap, but with four more laps still to come in the building breeze, there would be plenty of chances for Stuart & Nick to make their move. As it turned out, they found a way through on the second lap and while Ed & Holly rolled the dice looking for a way back, Jonny & Ollie profited to take another well deserved second.

Meanwhile, Olly & Zara prevailed in the battle for fourth after Neil & Sue were knocked over mid-tack by a strong gust which left them swimming.

So, with their scores equal, it was the win in the final race that gave Stuart and Nick Hydon the event win over Ed Bradburn and Holly Evans. Jonny Coate and Ollie Goodhead were a comfortable third, with Stu and Julia Allen in fourth.

A big thank you to the Race Officer and all the Banbury volunteers on the committee boat, rescue boat and in the galley for a very well run day and excellent lunch.

Next up, after Shustoke... the Musto Lark National Championships at Weymouth - Sun 26th to Wed 29th May 2024. It's not too late to enter:

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelm's NameCrew's NameClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1Well dodgy2495Stuart HydonNick HydonShustoke SC / Dittisham21‑314
2 2526Ed BradburnHolly EvansSouth Staffordshire SC121‑34
3Rocket Ronnie2464Jonny CoateOllie GoodheadSouth Staffs SC(RET)3227
4Fluffy Thwarts2509Stuart AllenJulia AllenBanbury SC3‑54512
5Ariadne2468Olly SaundersZara FranktonShustoke SC4‑66414
6Pink Champagne2199Neil FirthSue FirthBanbury SC545(RET)14
7Thin blue line2481Andrew WardToby WardShustoke SC6‑77619

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