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Mahé’s Race Has a Silver Lining


Mahé’s Race Has a Silver Lining

World sculling champion Mahé Drysdale continued his winning ways in Italy this week with a record breaking victory – and a haul of gold coins – in the prestigious 11km Silverskiff race in Turin, Italy.

Starting the race after main rivals Olaf Tufte and Lassi Karonen – both of whom had already posted times close to the course record – Drysdale overcame two boat stopping collisions to maintain a steady rate of 28-30 and cross the finishing line in a time of 40 minutes 32 seconds, a stunning 27 seconds inside the course record.

His win secured him eight hundred euros in gold coins and another thousand for the course record – a good day’s work and one of which he was justifiably pleased.

“Races like these are tough as it’s all about suffering and pushing through the pain barrier for just over 40 minutes,” he explained. “When I started the race, Tufte and Karonen had just finished and I had a simple target as I set off. If I wanted to win I would have to set the course record.

“Because of the current it is very hard to judge how you are going time wise. I was passing a lot of boats and all but two were polite and moved out of my way. Unfortunately one stopped in front of me as I was going passed so I had to stop, get untangled then start again. I had one more collision later as I was pushed under the buoys by someone refusing to get out of the way. I was stopped dead again as I got the string and buoys tangled around my rigger.

Fired up by the two collisions, Drysdale pushed the rate up comfortably into the thirties in the final kilometre. “It was a hectic last push with a good 32-34 rating and as I crossed the line I saw my time was 40:32.

“I couldn't quite believe it - I had broken the record by 27 seconds. As in all Head races you cant take anything for granted and you have to wait for everyone else to finish but I felt fairly confident. After my warm down I came in to find out I had won by 32 seconds from Karonen with Tufte third another four seconds back. I was pretty happy. I’m progressing, feeling fit and everything is going in the right direction.”

The regatta is open to all categories of scullers, including masters, and brings world champions, club scullers and amateurs of all ages together on the beautiful river Po. Three victories in the race secures the Silverskiff trophy itself, and Drysdale admitted he may well have another shot or two, saying it was “Certainly something I’ll have to think about!”

New Zealand Rowing’s sculling superstar has enjoyed a tremendous 2006. Victory in the historic Diamond sculls at Henley was followed by a successful defence of his single sculling title at the Eton World Championships in a world best time. Since then, Drysdale has won the long distance BKW Armada Cup in Switzerland and finished runner up in the elite sculls in the Head of the Charles in Boston, USA. He is also lined up to race in a quadruple scull in the Fours Head of the River race on the Thames in the UK next weekend and in the Scullers Head race.


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