The Gallagher Great Race is a river race over 2.8km on the Waikato River right in the middle of Hamilton. It’s a strategic race where each crew must map a course up the river, reading the current and watching the river bank for obstructions. It’s by invitation only and traditionally only available to crews that raced in the A Final of the previous year’s Maadi Cup.
2015 saw Sacred Heart given a wild card entry partly due to our new Director of Rowing, Greg Reid having a crew in last year’s final with his previous school.
We had no expectation, not having entered in the past. But we came to race. Saturday has all crews racing a time trial against the clock to determine which final each crew makes on Sunday. We went out with Ben Tyson as coxswain and made a statement, coming back with the second best time only 4 seconds behind last year’s race winner and Maadi Cup holder, Hamilton Boys High School.
Making the A Final on Sunday meant we raced off against only Hamilton. The difficulty with the race is that the faster time gets to choose which side of the river to finish. Hamilton chose the favoured side and ended up beating Sacred by 2.5 boat lengths.
Sacred Heart who didn’t even make last year’s Maadi final came within 5 seconds of the eventual winner.
Watch and follow Sacred rowing this year. There is something different in the air. Hamilton not only know who we are now, they respect who we are.