Phenomenal time from men's pair at Karapiro
A tardy start didn't stop Hamish Bond and James Lassche from recording the second-fastest men's pair's time in history at Lake Karapiro yesterday.
The Southern Regional Performance Centre duo won the men's premier pairs final at the national rowing championships in a staggering time of six minutes 12.42 seconds – which has been bettered only by Bond and his New Zealand representative team-mate Eric Murray.
Four-times world pairs champions Bond and Murray set the best time of 6:08.50 in their heat at the 2012 London Olympics regatta in Eton Dorney, which saw them win gold.
The start of yesterday's final was delayed for over 20 minutes after the Auckland crew suffered a gear break.
Bond said he and Lassche had to bide their time after "a really sharp warm-up" and then blazed their way down the 2000-metre course with a mild tail-wind.
Central RPC's Chris Harris and James Hunter chased the duo home in a world-class 6:20.72 with Waikato RPC's Alex Kennedy and Shaun Kirkham winning bronze in an impressive 6:24.52.
Lassche is a lightweight rower but certainly no passenger – he was part of the NZ men's lightweight four that won silver at last year's world champs in South Korea – and was able to respond to urgings from Bond in the stroke seat.
Lassche said he had "a rough idea when he was yelling at me when we had a nice margin" that a notable time was in the offing.
"I could see going down the course – I had the speedo on and I knew we going quick," Bond said.
"So that's why I was pushing the tempo quite hard, even though I knew we had a significant margin. We just wanted to put down a good time and I was trying to spur James on – he was probably wondering what the hell we were doing."
Lassche admitted "it was pretty flat out the whole way".
"That's quite similar to how us lightweights race – we're on the red line the whole way. Hamish set up a really nice high tempo rhythm that helped me out."
The duo know such red-hot form at this stage of the season augurs well for the two World Cup regattas in Europe in June and July and the world champs in Amsterdam in August.
"You don't go that quick being in bad form," Lassche said.
"We [the NZ lightweight four of Lassche, Peter Taylor, James Hunter and Curtis Rapley] are all rowing quite well at the moment and that confidence should transfer into a good international season."
Bond has already scored three wins over Olympic champ Mahe Drysdale in single scull finals this summer, with the stars set to clash again this morning at the nationals.
"The work I've done in the single, that race there was a result of it," Bond said of the pairs win.
"I didn't feel as though I did anything special out there. You're comfortable being uncomfortable."
Drysdale has had to settle for two silvers at the regatta so far, after he and Auckland team-mate Michael Arms were beaten by brothers Karl and Robbie Manson in the men's premier double sculls final.
That gave the Masons their second title of the week after being part of the Central crew that won the quad on Thursday.
Taylor [Auckland] took out the premier men's lightweight single scull title with a five-second margin over Bond's younger brother Alistair (Southern), who pipped Waikato's Adam Ling for silver.
It was Taylor's fourth consecutive win in that event, while Southern's Lucy Strack captured gold in the women's event for the fourth time in five years as she staved off challenges from Louise Ayling (Central) and Julia Edward (Waikato).