Jack Prior triumphs at Henley Royal Regatta for a second consecutive year.
Henley Royal Regatta held yearly at Henley on Thames is a highlight of the British social calendar and a magnet for rowing talent from around the world. Last year local Jack Prior won the Prince Albert Cup for Oxford Brookes Boat Club, becoming the first Gibraltarian to win an event at this prestigious competition. This year Jack moved up in seniority to take on the Visitors’ Challenge Cup in the stroke seat for this coxless fours event. The draw had numerous strong contenders including Harvard and Princeton from America, Australian challengers from Melbourne and strong British challengers including Oxford Brookes’great rivals- Leander rowing club.
Over the course of the week, starting on the 27th of June, Jack and his crew worked methodically through the rounds, dispatching first Isis BC & London RC composite crew with ease. Next, Harvard University were brushed aside in ruthless fashion sending a warning shot to all rivals as to the potential on board the Brookes crew. In the semi finals, a spirited Molesey and University of Bristol composite crew pushed hard but again came up short leaving Jack’s crew facing Leander in the final.
Almost a year to the day of Jack’s success at this most famous of rowing events- Sunday the 2nd of July at 1.30pm local time had friends and family at Jack’s local Calpe Rowing Club glued to the screen to see how Jack would fare. The start of the race was brutal - for the first time the impassive relaxed faces of Jack and his Brookes crew showed a glimmer of strain as they burst off the starting line with furious intent matching Leander and slowly edging to a 3/4 boat length lead as they rowed away from Temple Island. Jack and his crew found their rhythm and had the race by the scruff of the neck- with local pride at stake, Leander put in a massive push coming up to Rememham club to put the pressure on and start to edge up on Brookes. But signs of the effort were visible on the Leander crew, pushing to their absolute limit, all their cards were laid on the table. As both crews approached the regatta enclosure Jack and his crew slammed the door, laid down the power and overwhelmed their opponents who had nothing left to give. Along the stewards enclosure, Jack could not afford to let the pace drop, but only had to hold on to cross the line, his arm held up in triumph, two fingers raised for his victory and second Henley triumph.