The third and final day of the World Pilot Gig Championships got under way in some rare sunshine which made the conditions more favourable than the previous two days.
After finishing third yesterday in group L, the Help for Heroes team went into their first race of the day knowing they were capable of beating those who came behind them. This time it was the two crews who had dropped from the higher level group who they needed to focus on.
The crew got off to their best start yet taking an easy lead against the pack. They quickly went ahead by a clear three lengths and while their nearest rival Penny tried to pull it back it wasn’t enough to reach the H4H team in the white and orange Nornour who seemed to find power at the end finishing some 30 seconds ahead of the next gig. The delight on the guys faces was obvious as the two gigs who came down from the higher group placed second and third behind them.
That win meant that the team moved up a group for the final this time racing against those who were all deemed to be of a higher ability including Ajax from Royal Marines Tamar Gig Club who helped coach the H4H team.
The twelve gigs in this race – group K of the final – set off almost evenly matched. Help for Heroes had a strong start once again and were battling with the top of the bunch for the first third of the race. Team H4H dropped back while a few at the front pulled away to battle for the group’s podium spots.
It was a tough race for the six gigs in the middle as the sky clouded over, the fog rolled in and waves crashed over the crews. The H4H team gave it all they had leading RM Tamar’s Ajax for some time before the Commandos found some extra power and moved ahead. If the race had been 200 metres shorter the result might have been a different story but three days of hard racing finally took its toll and they turned out a tenth place finish.
Think of it like a football league. Team H4H were at the top of the bottom league, gained promotion which resulted in stronger opponents and therefore a lower overall ranking. But, by entering that category, their final ranking is higher than they would have achieved by winning the lower group. In layman’s terms, they did a phenomenal job and have so much to be proud of!
Team member Simon Grayson after finishing the final said: “The start was absolutely fantastic, we had a good draw. For certainly the first couple of minutes we were clearly holding the lead position. Beyond that the rest of the crews got in there and took their normal race pace accelerating away from us. Midway through the race we made a gain on the few ahead of us but then I think the batteries just emptied pretty quickly to be honest. It’s been quite a long weekend.
“On the whole the championships have been a fantastic experience, coming here seeing what the other crews are all about. It’s a lovely place. It’s just been fantastic.
Next steps? “Next year; we’re going to smash it!” added Simon.