The Ford family, from left: Wendy, Warren, Brenton and Steffan are able to share their passion for rowing in the one boat
The Ford family, from left: Wendy, Warren, Brenton and Steffan are able to share their passion for rowing in the one boat

Remember just who?s cooking tea


IN its essence sport is not always about winning.

Sometimes, simply competing, particularly as a family unit, can provide a memorable and special occasion.

Such was the case for Grafton's Ford family at the South Grafton Rowing Regatta last Sunday.

They may not be in the class of the revered 'Awesome Foursome', but the 'Ford Foursome', as they've been dubbed, created their own slice of history on the Clarence River.

Warren, 44, and his wife Wendy ? "I don't think I'll get into trouble if I say she's just over 40," Warren laughed, teamed up with their two children ? Brenton, 14, and Steffani, 11, ? to compete as a family representing Grafton Rowing Club (GRC) in a mixed quad four event.

"It wasn't a fairytale result, we finished six out of seven, but we had a ton of fun," Clarence River Jockey Club racecourse manager Warren Ford said.

"It's the first time we've rowed together as a family, it was a rare opportunity, and we all enjoyed the moment."

Ford, an easy going character who loves his beloved sport, has a great sense of humour and revealed some hilarious moments before, during and after the race.

The family quartet were initially scheduled to hit the water at GRC regatta late last month but the event was postponed.

"We had a warm up session on Saturday afternoon for 10 minutes," Ford said.

"We did it on the other side of the river so no one could see us.

"And luckily they didn't."

Highly promising young oarsman Brenton Ford was elected 'captain' of the boat for the family's competitive foray.

"Brenton was in charge but he basically had to do what mum said," Warren laughed.

"We (Wendy and I), the old folks, were the limiting factor, our health and well being.

"Brenton is coached to do his races in quarters.

"Getting into the third quarter Brenton had a look around, the other boats were well ahead, and said: 'All right, let's go now'.

"Mum instead said 'can't we slow down.' Like me she was feeling it, and Brenton turned and asked 'What do I do dad?'

"I said 'It's your mum son, she feeds you, what do you think'".

The Ford's lifted the rating somewhat but idled home.

"I was stuffed, so was Wendy. The kids were hardly even breathing hard," Ford said.

"It was a 1000 metre race, about 800 metres too far as far as Wendy and I were concerned.

"We all patted each other on the back, had a bit of a hug and we thanked Brenton and Steff for going rowing with their over-the-hill parents.

"That sort of thing doesn't happen very often. We really enjoyed the moment. It was a rare opportunity."

Brenton, already a NSW single scull age champion, and Steffani are coached by Ken Maund and Ron Beattie.

While Warren and Wendy Ford have been rowing for more than a decade, Brenton has come to the medal fore in just two years.

"Brenton didn't have much choice in a rowing family, we just said 'take it up,' Ford said tongue in cheek.

"But he took to rowing like a duck to water. He loves it and is very motivated.

"It was through him and Steff that made Wendy and I get back into rowing. Ken (Maund) has taken Brenton under his wing. He's doing great.

"The club (GRC) have really helped us all out with boats and support.

"Steff is now looking to train for the NSW Championships, she's enjoying it, and as a family we've already booked accommodation for the Australian Championships at Lake Barrington in Tasmania next March to watch Brenton row.

"I'm hooked on rowing again. For me with my work, it's my only fitness outlet and we can go rowing as a family.

"It's our sport."

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