This season started strongly. The new recruits of last year were now “experienced” rowers. Alan Dixon teamed up with a new pair partner, Daryl Brown. At Upper Yarra regatta they won the lightweight pairs and followed it up with a second win at VRA Regatta. The pair combined with Ian Angow and Michael Rowan to win an unprecedented four lightweight fours at Ballarat, Barwon, Henley and Colac Regattas.
At Ballarat Regatta Mike Rowan and Daryl Brown also won Lightweight pairs At the end of the season our crews won a “double-double” winning lightweight fours and Maiden fours at Mildura and Wentworth. The lightweight four was P. Brown, Terry Austin, Mike Rowan and Daryl Brown while the Maiden four comprised B. Brown, Ian Angow, Michael Rowan and Daryl Brown. This excellent performance assisted the club to placing third on both the Country premiership and the Lightweight Premiership, the best performance since our Country premiership win in 1955.
The third National Championships were held on Lake Wendouree in late April. The club were represented by a lightweight pair of Alan Dixon and Daryl Brown. They were competing against the best in Australia and made history by becoming the very first Australian title-holders produced by the club in 96 years. They won the race by an astonishing 6 lengths. Also interesting to note is that the Albert Park crew who came fourth in the pairs race was coached by none other than Pat Harrison! The club also had an entry in the Champion Lightweight four event and they placed second to Haberfield in the first and final of the Lightweight coxless fours. Alan and Daryl teamed with Terry Austin and Mike Rowan to come second by 1 ½ lengths to the more experienced NSW crew. the coach for the crew was Frank Findlay, club President, but this was more of an honorary title. Alan Dixon said that in the pair, they coached themselves as he had been rowing for more than ten years and knew what they had to do. At this stage there was no such thing as motorboats for coaching so you could only see a crew at the start and finish of the course anyway! It was fitting however that they did put Frank down as coach because he will be forever recorded as coach of a winning crew at the Australian Championships. The trophy for winning was a lovely silver cup. Alan Dixon’s family have both his cup and Daryl Brown’s cup. I think the cox got a small version or a medallion.
So from being unable to hold an Open Day due to lack of numbers last season to holding the Australian Lightweight coxed pair Championship this season the wildly swinging pendulum of fortune finally swung the club’s way.