Slightly delayed, the race set off with solid determination on every face. Plenty of pacing of elderly muscles here, With several different categories racing together, the overall winner of the race does not stop others from also getting gold medals. With 500 metres to go, Philip Stubley (LM60-64) had a few metres lead on Geoffrey Knigh (LM65-69), with Herbert Leah (LM70-79) and Roger Bangay (LM60-64) cruising well in behind. Despite furious dashing to the finish, the order remained the same for these first few. As the next dozen finished, the two oldest competitors, Bertram South and John Hodgson (LM80+), were a mere few seconds apart, outside record position, but still fighting hard.
Race 4: Men J13 and J14
Always a cracking race, this, as the stars of the future show their first signs of promise, and others who will one day be coaches and club captains get bitten irrevocably by the competitive bug.
Not too surprisingly, a false start in Lane 1 (Andrew "just a bit too quick on the" Pickup) - young nerves strained taught. In the J14 category, Luke Zakrewski, Ben Curry and David Merchant off to a cracking start, with AEwan Baird not far behind. Zakrewski the current British xx record holder. Coming to the end of the first 500 Zakrewski starting to sneak through into the lead, but Merchant on the machine beside him snapping close at his heels. Meanwhile in the younger category, Andrew Walker, already in fourth place and five seconds ahead of the closest rival, stretching his lead in the middle thousand. As they come past the thousand, Zakrewski now pushing 2-3 seconds ahead of Marchant, with Ben Curry next, Ewan Baird less than a second behind and challenging him for the bronze medal. 500 to go, and Zakrewski now nearly three full seconds up, Andrew Walker (MJ13) not only leading his class but also challenging hard for the third overall place, and Rob Francis and Josh Britton in MJ13 silver and bronze place respectively. 250 to go, Curry's held off Baird's challenge, Zakrewski going for the 6:51 record, smashes it by six seconds, Merchant second in 6:57, Curry gets bronze just ahead of Walker's first-place MJ13, Francis and Britton as expected, and the commentator encourages the crowd to call in those still pulling hard. In the back row, some of the youngest competitors tugging frantically away, 11 and 12 years old, several from the RNIB, getting yells of encouragement from their scrutineers.
Race 5: Women J13 and J14
Much better behaved, and a clean fair start. Moving straight into the lead at 100 metres, Victoria Thom (WJ14), splitting under 1:50, but as she hits the lactate barrier, Georgina Percy and Natasha Page (WJ14) take over, and E Hodges also puts Thom under serious pressure. Kate Oliver looking very strong in the WJ13 category, moving through 500 metres into fourth position overall, her closest competitors well behind. Through the second 500 metres, the leaders holding their positions, but now Page is showing her class, moving very strongly with long solid strokes, and only Hodges coming up to challenge her, Percy falling behind slightly. Just past halfway, Oliver still holding her fourth place and well in command of her class, only Katherine Scott and Hanna Coates anywhere close in the WJ13 category. Now 700 to go, Page's lead steadily being eroded by Hodges, Percy's chances of changing bronze to silver improving slightly, but Page fights off the challenge as Hannah Welling (WJ14) pushes past Oliver into fourth place and some new J13 contenders coming through. 250 metres left, Page splitting 1:55, pulling out again, Percy now having another go at Hodges for the silver place, Page finishes in 7:43.6, eight seconds clear of Hodges and Percy. In WJ13, Oliver completely untroubled by her peers in 8:19.0, with Sophie Zeal, who came barging through near the end, and Rebecca Young in silver and bronze. Youngest competitor in the whole day, Jessica Smith-Lamkin, aged nine, beavering away and finishing in 10:49 - a real example to the erg-phobic.
Race 7: Women J15 + J16
Cor, don't they grow between the ages of 14 and 16? Suddenly it all looks even more serious, as lycra-clad bodies set off like an video on rowing technique. Beth Rodford (WJ16), no stranger to this arena, sets off hard, streaking out to a 50-metre lead in pursuit of the 7:22 record. Behind her Joanna Hart (WJ15) and Crystal MacLeod (WJ15) keep each other company through the first 1000 metres, giving the rest of the WJ16 pack something to think about. Coming to half-way, Rodford well in front, now Felicity Bertram (WJ16) moves up into second place, but well challenged by MacLeod and Hart, and Joanna Cook (WJ15) also hunting close. 600 metres to go, Rodford still extending it and looking strong but unworried, Cook/Hart/MacLeod within inches of each other, battling very hard, Bertram with her nose in front of the young whippersnappers. Rodford now 300 to go, and looking very good for the record, the spectators start screaming, now Aurelia O'Kelly (WJ16) moves into bronze medal position. MacLeod just about holding off Hart and Cook for the WJ13 gold, Rodford finishes in triumph in 7:12.9, Bertram and O'Kelly just outside the old record. Meanwhile MacLeod's put in a fantastic finishing burst to shake off her challengers, but is outside the WJ15 record of 7:20.8 set by Rodford last year.
Beth Rodford has now set British event records in the last four consecutive years, and has her name on every women's category up to WJ16. She also this year smashed her own WJ15 time from last year, and now moves up to the WJ18 category, where she has Frances Houghton's time of 6:42.2 to crack in the next two years.
Race 8: Men J15 + J16
And they're off, Andrew Delaney and Tom Jost pushing out early in MJ16, with Dmitri Phoursa (MJ15) again showing that youth is no barrier to strength. Other strong contenders as they pass 500 metres gone are Andrew De Quidt, Chris Mollison (both MJ16), and Scott Rennie (MJ15). The record in this event has stood since 1995 when Robert Sanders set 6:19.1, and as they pass the mid-way mark his record looks pretty safe. Now De Quidt has passed Delaney, Mollison moving up too, and De Quidt at 850 to go launches an all-out assault on Jost, three machines away from him. Jost succumbs, Mollison passes him too, and now with 650 to go it's Mollison making the running, moving steadily past De Quidt, as Ben Wyatt moves up into the top MJ15 place. 500 to go, Mollison has it, and he has no intention of being ambushed in his turn: splitting 1:39.9 he strengthens his position. Ben Stoelck (MJ15) catches up with Wyatt momentarily then drops away as Rennnie comes back. Last 100 for the top guys, and Mollison's well away, De Quidt safe in silver, Jost takes bronze but Wyatt and Rennie are faster than him. Third-place MJ15 is Gordon Marshall - no records broken.
Race 9: Women and Lwt Women J18
A technical cock-up for the front row, as the computer froze just when the commentator was beginning his count-down. Meanwhile the other rows set off, and a minute later, they did too, a very tight pack in the first 100 metres. Very slight leads from Katherine Cran (hwt) and Anja Muhlenbruch (hwt), with the lightweight leaders being E Westman and B Ledwidge. As they move towards 500 metres gone, Cran is hotly pursued by Helen Austin and A Bray, with Tracey Mathews and Muhlenbruch also in the frame. Now Katherine Foord moving up in the lightweight category, Westman and Ledwidge not far behind. Through 750, and Austin challenges Cran, Bray on their shoulders, while Muhlenbruch is tucked in behind, holding off Mathews through the difficult middle section. Austin holding on to her lead, 600 to go, Bray closing up again, Muhlenbruch up into bronze, but Austin is solid, finishing in 7:11.1, twelve seconds ahead of Bray, with Muhlenbruch just behind and Cran in fourth. In the lightweight category, Foord finishes first, 7:56.1, with Ledwidge in silver, taking it from Westman by just 0.7 of a second. No records broken, but some fantastic competitive rowing.
Race 10: Men and Lwt Men J18
More computer problems, with the spectators and commentators unable to get live feed for this race, and going back to the old-fashioned method of spotting who is up and down, which is a little hit and miss.
Competition well away in the top few ergs, with Peter Fields, Alex Torrie, Daniel Barry and several others blasting strongly off. Paul Shearer also looking good, and into the second 500 metres Fields, Torrie and Johnson making a real fight of it, with Peter Fields just in front. Holding this as they near the 500-to-go mark, the record to break being Peter's own, 6:09.8, from last year. Splits in the 1:20's now, impressive stuff, John Alexander breaking through into second place, Alex Torrie closing up into bronze behind him. Fields finishes, and it's a new championship and national record, 6:00.0 exactly (some disappointment since he was trying to break six minutes!). Lightweight category, the record to break 6:27.9, but Paul Shearer (6:36.6), Robert Allen, Paul Minter finish in the medal positions without cracking it.
Race 11: Women and Lwt Women 40-44, 45-49
A galaxy of greats in this race, with Beryl Crockford, Sarah Springman and Su Larcombe all entered in the front rank of ergs - great indoor and outdoor rowers all. Sadly Su Larcombe could not compete due to a niggling cold.
And therefore, naturally, a false start, Beryl Crockford so anxious to get off the mark that she twitched the erg handle. No such problems the second time, and Sarah Springman racing off well with Persephone Wynn and Lynn Loughton hot in pursuit. The original 40-49 age category has been split this year, so there are twice as many medals available, and consequently much competitive aggro. Through 500 metres gone, Springman establishing a very commanding lead, as Loughton fights off Wynn and in the slightly older category, Karon Phillips well ahead of Anne Cork and Jackie Apperley. Now Angela Hirst shows through in front of Wynn, and as they draw into the second thousand metres, the lightweight bunch are also looking impressive, Jo Wilby and Budge English at the top of the LW40-44 pack, and Jackie Apperley leading the LW45-49'ers but with Sylvia Speechley in full spate behind her. The final 500 approaches, Springman now nearly 70 metres ahead, Loughton has completely demolished Hirst now and will be sure of the silver, while Philips is being chased by Cork and Wilby (LW40-44) has Wynn to push her along. Into the final stretch, Springman can't pick up a record to add to her gold medal, Cork sets a great time of 7:38.9 in the new W45-49 category, while the lightweight golds go to Wilby (7:48.1 in LW40-44) and Speechley (7:55.4 in LW45-49).
Race 12: Lwt Men 40-44, 45-49, 50-54 and 55-59
Rows of lightweights, again split this year into various new events. Sean Morris the UK record holder in the LM50-54 category, now moving up an age group, but straight off the start world record holder Jean-Paul Tardieu from France (nicknamed "L'Ergoman") jumps into the lead. Through the first half Graham Price, Tom Skinner, Peter English and Pete Burden fall into place behind him, with Morris down the order but still leading 55-59 with no trouble. As they come into the last 500 Tardieu's lead is extremely strong, Price and English fighting off Meredith in the next three places, and Tardieu finishes in 6:31.6, a new championship record but just outside his own world mark, set last month, of 6:30. Price wins LM40-44, English wins LM45-49, Morris sets up the new event LM55-59 record as 6:47.6.
Race 13: Men 45-49 and 50-54
Ex-England rugby player, ex-CUBC oarsman and current world record holder in the M50-59 group Andy Ripley, set off meaning business, with long, laying-back, powerful strokes at a steady rate. His huge strength takes him into a solid early lead, with Gerard Newman and Paul Langguth (M45-59) chasing. Nobody else in the M50-54 group anywhere close to Ripley, still steadily pulling away at a split of 1:31 and moving to 50 metres up. Through half-way, and Des Wallace picking up the pace into second position, closing slightly on Ripley as Andrew Millar also sneaks past Langguth and Newman. 500 metres to go for Ripley, Keith Atherton and Graham Lloyd now also past Newman, Wallace still leading the M45-49 with Millar making a determined fight of it. Ripley now 250 out, the commentator urging the crowd to help him towards his own championship and world records, he strains towards them, but just outside both in 6:16.4, with Wallace gold for M45-49 in 6:28.7, unable to approach an earlier mark Ripley set three years ago.
Race14: Men 40-44 and 55-59
Ivan Pentz (ex-RSA Olympian) and event record holder Nigel Glover (from the Met Police) away well side-by-side in the M40-44 category, and Ken Clark and Roger Johnson start the bidding in the M55-59 group. Behind the leaders as they pass 750 gone, Derek Crow-Brown and Sean Tunney push up on Pentz, while all three start to edge towards Glover's consistent lead. Less than a thousand to go, and Tunney moves past Crow-Brown, but Pentz can still hold him off just, while Marcus Harvey also challenges towards the medal places, and now Johnson leads Clark and Stuart Wharton in the older age-group. Last 300 metres, Tunney very nearly catching Pentz, Glover safe in the gold spot, Clark snapping at Wharton's heels as they creep towards Johnson for the M55-59, Tunney can't quite get past Pentz. Last few pulls, and Glover finishes in a dead heat with his old record, 6:12.6, Pentz silver, Tunney bronze M40-44, while Wharton overtakes Johnson and leaves Clark in third place for M55-59. And as ever, the results need to be checked, because only the first row of 20 ergs are showing their progress on the computers, and there is always the chance of a dark horse in the back row sneaking through.
Race 15: Women and Lwt Women 30-39
Nobody has broken Su Larcombe's mark in the heavyweight W30-39 event since 1997, when she set 6:50.7. In the lightweight category, though, Nicky Dale's record of 7:10.7 has lasted since 1996, despite her own best efforts, although she is unable to try and defend it today.
A blatant pack of false starts from the entire front row, but they clearly got away more or less together, so the starter refrained from calling them back. This means the apparent race progress may not be quite correct.... Louise Carey (W30-39) seeming to go into a strong lead, but with Christina Nugent (LW30-39) and Rachel Andrews (W30-39) surging strongly through in the first 500 into the next two places. Second in the LW category Gill Watson as they pass 750 gone. Now Rachel Andrews moving very fast up towards Carey, Nugent stops at three minutes gone, and Belinda Bennett takes up the LW lead ahead of Watson. Halfway mark, Andrews now a few metres off Carey, Crump in third place, with Julie Dash a way back for the next heavyweight position. 900 to go, Andrews takes the lead, splitting 0.00.2 better than Carey, and they both pick up the strength, but Carey can do nothing about it. This little battle takes them both into a decisive lead, Bennett still keeping Crump under pressure and doing her own LW gold chances plenty of favours, Watson now dropped well behind as Penny Senior comes up into the LW second place with Theresa Roberts close. 350 metres to go, Andrews still well ahead, Carey dropping back, Crump well behind with Elaine Thorpe starting to press her bronze position. Andrews now pushing for the finish line, but the record's not in danger, ending it in 7:01.1 with Carey four seconds behind and Crump 20 more seconds back. Bennett takes the LW prize in 7:25.0 ahead of Senior and Roberts, and again the results need to be checked to see that nobody in a row behind beat those times.
Race 16: Lwt Men 30-39 and Open
Alex Dunne and Neil Gear whizzing off in the lead of the Open category, and Duncan Paterson and Ricky James starting the LM30-39 off. A quick pace from all, just about on track for record-breaking if they can keep it going and then wind for the end. Gear keeps a steady lead for the first 750, as Paterson and Paul Johnson (LM Open) push through Dunne into the second and third positions. Now Andrew Matthews (LM30-39) moves into fourth position overall and second in his category, despite Paterson appearing uncatchable at the moment. Gear now fading slightly, though still splitting better than Paterson - a fantastic effort, since he's only been rowing for six months. 700 to go, Paterson takes it up, Johnson now scents the possibility of pushing Gear aside, Matthews also closes up on the leaders as Simon Barnes squeezes towards LM30-39 bronze. 300 to go, the experience of the long-term rowers shows, Gear is shoved aside by Johnson and Matthews, Barnes now also passes, Matthews and Johnson still working towards Paterson, just a few more strokes and it's very close. Paterson holding on by a metre, takes LM30-39 gold in 6:32.1 with Matthews silver 6:32.7 and MaRicky James bronze in the same category. For Open it's Paul Johnson, uncontested, with Andrew Hull and Chris Wright behind him. A slow race by championship times, but a thrilling finale, and impressive work from the older rowers.
Race 17: Women and Lwt Women U23 (also some BUSA)
A large clutch of university rowers here - UL, OUWBC and Imperial out in force. The current record-holder and defending champion Debbie Flood being absent, there is plenty of room for a new face to show promise now.
Cleanly away, Debbie Gibb leading immediately, with Kathryn Stewart and Anna Saunders chasing. In the lightweights, Alison Eastman and Nikki Keane up in front. 500 gone, Antonia Schmiegelow moving up towards Stewart, as Saunders moves into second place close behind Gibb. Sarah Payne stalking Eastman, and nearly halfway, Saunders moves ahead of Gibb, both splitting very close together. Stewart slightly further back in third,and now Eastman, still leading the lightweights, is well back as her lack of weight tells. Tanya-Lee Armstrong and Schmiegelow close up on Stewart as they move through the third quarter of the race, with Charlaine Kepinska also in the fray. It's turning increasing exciting for third, fourth and fifth positions. Saunders has 450 to go, Debbie Gibb trying to push back but slower by a second a split, Stewart now closing again on Gibb and Kepinska has her in the sights. 250 to go, Kepinska is neck and neck with Stewart for bronze, Saunders and Gibb still secure, Eastman also still clearly leading the LWs. Kepinska goes through Stewart but the latter fights back hard, nothing to it for the bronze place, Vincent now challenging Coats for the LW silver. Saunders gets gold in 7:09.7, Gibb silver and Kepinska keeps it a nose ahead of Stewart for the bronze. For the U23LW, Eastman takes gold in 7:30.3, and Coats is beaten by Vincent for the silver medal.
Race 18: Men 30-39 - heat 1
With such a huge explosion in competitive erg-rowing in this group, two heats, of which this is expected to be slightly the slower. Steve Vyse and Richard Haldenby go off well, with John Gosling and Weininger Irwin (shurely some mistake in nomenclature?!) bringing up the next positions. Vyse and Haldenby have a bit of a scrap in the first thousand metres, but Vyse pulls clear as Haldenby is challenged by Gosling and Irwin, with Ronnie Fraser and Kevin Bartlett also closing behind them. 800 to go, Vyse still comfortable, Gosling takes second place, Fraser and Bartlett hacking towards Irwin. 500 to go, and the race for the lower places has turned into a pitched battle, Fraser pushing rapidly through the pack, Haldenby dropping his split again to match the attack from Fraser and Gosling, Bartlett having a go at Irwin. Last few strokes, Gosling has been swept aside and Fraser has the second place in the front rank, but there's talk of a fast time in the back row. Final winner of this race Vyse with 6:25.5 with Peter Askew second and Fraser ahead of Haldenby, but if the next race is faster, no medals awarded.
Race 19: Men 30-39 - heat 2
Likely to be the faster of the two heats, with Colin Greenaway defending his title of last year in the absence of a Redgrave challenge this time round. Greenaway wearing what looks like the same all-in-one (lucky?) he's used for the last few years at these Championships, and splitting 1:28's for the first 500 metres, well in the lead. Behind him Sean O'Leary (Bath and Wasps rugby player), David Gardner, and Tony Larkmann hold off other medal contender Steve Hill. 800 gone, Larkman and Gardner having a spat, O'Leary pretty comfortable ahead of them for now, but will have to be careful as their struggle is pushing them closer. Larkman now in third, and Simon Spriggs moving ahead of Hill into fifth place. Through the middle section, Greenaway fine at the top, Larkman now stretching towards O'Leary. 550 to go, Greenaway still splitting below 1:30, can anyone lift it to the finish, Larkman now closing every stroke on O'Leary by fractions. Gardner trying to fight back Spriggs, who's moved into fourth. 250 to go, Larkman moves ahead of O'Leary, Spriggs lifting it too, can he shift aside the rugby player? Greenaway clearly going for the record, rate going up, legs driving hard, still below 1:30 splits as he drains away the last drops, 5:57.7, alas outside Redgrave's 1998 record. Larkman takes silver four seconds behind, Spriggs has pushed O'Leary off the bronze.
Race 20: Lwt Men U23
Back to single heats for the event, and this time a new event, waiting for a brand new champion. First showers are Alex Aiken, Alasdair Stuart, Nicholas Heathecote, Nicholas English, and Garan Jenkin. Simon Ford and Tim Jarman pushing towards Jenkin, clearly a lot of strength in depth in this heat, as the top four are barely split by a stroke, English splitting slightly better than Heathecote and edging into the lead. 800 metres gone, and the first time a real lead is shown, English looking good as Stuart starts to carve away at Aiken, taking him on the halfway mark, both behind Heathecote. English keeping his split down as the others start to suffer, now starting to draw well clear, as Aiken pushes back past Stuart and starts to match Heathecote. Jenkin coming back into the picture with Pete Forester starting to make an impression as Stuart slips down. 500 to go, English now decisively in the lead, Aiken second, Jenkin coming back with Forester past Heathecote, but Forester makes a better push and gets into third. Still anyone's race for the lower medals, Stuart again going for Heathecote, over six minutes raced and now Forester's trying for the silver. Just a handful of strokes for English, who takes gold in 6:24.8, with Forester eight seconds behind, and Aiken third. Those also the BUSA medals, and the non-BUSA medals go to Stuart, Tim Jarman, and Pete McKnight.
Race 21: Women and Lwt Women Open
Top women off now, and not only the lightweight and heavyweights, but also the chance of BUSA medals. In the top spots, the Battle of the Caths - Katherine Grainger setting off fast in front of Cath Bishop, side-by-side on adjacent ergs. Behind them, Wendy Lowe and Fiona Kennedy, but Bethia Woolf the top BUSA place, starting to move up towards them, and a real fight for bronze. Two massive races going on in the hall as they pass 1000, Grainger always slightly in the lead, but the terrific fight going on between the two of them pushing both so far into the lead the others will never catch them. Lightweights way down the order having a hard time to keep up with this - Patricia Hockley, Gundula Hennig and Katrine McPherson. Can Bishop and Grainger somehow get a world record? Woolf now into third place ahead of Lowe and Emma Bishton, just 500 to go and Bishop pulls up alongside Grainger, both still splitting 1:36's. At 450 to go, Bishop fractionally takes the lead, Grainger pushing back and Bishop holding doggedly on, using all her experience at this level to fend off the younger contender. Woolf still keeping the bronze spot hers, Lowe still holding off Bishton, but the only race now is at the top end, less than a hundred metres to go, her own British record there to be broken at 6:36.7, looks like she could just do it, a few more strokes and YES! Cath Bishop breaks her own UK indoor record with 6:34.4, just one second outside the world record held by Katrin Boron of 6:33.4. Grainger silver, Woolf bronze, and the lightweight medals x, x and x.
Cath Bishop, just after her race:
"The atmosphere was fantastic, I like it here.... It's different from Boston (CRASH-B's, the World Indoor Champs), because you only have one race here, you can throw it all into that. In Boston, there's always the worry, what have you lost for the final. Yes, it's a really good way to start the season.... got to get a bit more training done now (to try for Boron's mark when she goes to Boston in February)..."
Race 22: Men U23 - heat 1
Another split event, this one the lower-seeded rowers. A few gaps in the front row, and the first off Charles Vickers with Michael Bonham, Philip Beard and Duncan Cooper close to him. 750 out, Cooper in second behind Vickers but Beard barging towards him, and James Livingston starting to move up now, they both pass Cooper before the half-way point. Bonham pushing back now, Vickers splitting 1:33 at the top, again most of these guys are BUSA-eligible. Beard and Livingston having a rare old scrap at 1200 gone, Beard getting the better of it, as Bonham pushes Cooper into fifth. Down below in the order Richard Dewire looking good with 600 metres to go, Livingston has been passed by Bonham but is shoving back, Beard still OK behind Vickers but the two behind him totally inseparable. 250 to go, Vickers is off out the front, Beard now being rattled by Bonham who has the edge on Livingston, Dewire into fifth but can't catch the leaders. Vickers top, Beard's fighting back against Bonham and just manages it by 0.1 of a second. A cracking race, almost certainly not fast enough to get medals since the next race will wipe these courageous guys off the top spots.
Race 23: Men U23 - heat 2
Computer system seized up, alas, so no proper commentary available for this race. Loads of OUBC and CUBC oarsmen in this, as in the last heat, with the quickest off being Toma Stallard, Dan Tweedie, Josh West and Daniel Snow. Richard Egington and Tom Morgan of Leander getting into a battle royal also in the front rank, very difficult to tell what is going on without being over their shoulders, and the commentary is more than confused! Final result was Egington gold in 5:58.7, Stallard silver in 6:01.0, and Morgan bronze in 6:02.3 ahead of West and Snow. Just outside the current record, but a very tightly-fought race. LM results to come.
Race 24: Open Men - heat 1
First part of the Open Men's race, and hopefully the computer glitches have been fixed so we can all see what's happening. Still a few Boat Race types, but plenty of other entrants from all over the place. Snappy off the start are Trevor Chambers and Richard Ehlers, with Richard Gregory and Adam Wykes hard behind them. Wykes by 500 out starts to push forward, with Daniel West also making ground up, right on the edge of the row. Ehlers and Gregory follow West up as Wykes takes the lead in the second quarter, Chambers dropping behind a little. Halfway it's Wykes from Gregory and Ehlers, the two significantly ahead of the rest of the pack, now led by Iain Edmonson and Lukas Hirst, as West gets into trouble. Now with 700 to go, Ehlers and Gregory, still in that order, are starting to move past Wykes, Ehlers sneaking into first place and still managing to just under-split Gregory. Wykes now in third, and Edmonson is also challenging his right to a place, as they start to up the tempo in the last few hundred metres. 250 to go, Ehlers well in control now, Gregory also solid for his second place, and Edmonson has slid past Wykes but it's still very close. Wykes ups it again with just 100 to go, and miraculously pulls enough out to get the place back by 0.1 of a second. Again a non-medalling race if the second heat is considerably faster, as expected.
Race 25: Open - heat 2
Biggest, and last, men's race of the day, with former world record holder Matthias Siejkowski alongside Dutch champion Geert-Jan Derksen, with a few British contenders alongside. First off is Siejkowski, with Derksen not far behind, and Mark Lorenzi, David Bushnell and Toby Ayer keeping up the home-club spirits. 600 metres gone, and Derksen stops, looking desperately depressed, leaving Ayer in second place with Erik Lilleoahl and Lorenzi behind him. Behind the two of them Stuart Grieve and John O'Loghlen start to come up, and as they pass 800 to go Siejkowski is nearly a hundred metres in front, Ayer from Grieve behind him and Lilleoahl closing up. 250 to go, Siejkowski clearly blasting for a world-class time, but 1:26 splits will not be enough. Ayer and Grieve holding their medal places ahead of Lilleoahl, but Grieve giving way now to a sustained Lilleoahl assault. Siejkowski passes the finish, a new championship record of 5:44.3, Ayer gets silver (and the BUSA championship) with 6:04.1, Lilleoahl bronze with 6:06.5 a second ahead of Grieve. However, Siejkowski's time is not quite the British record, since that honour goes to Greg Searle, with 5:44.1.