The Fords: a racing team
By TONY WHITE
GRAFTON'S Ford family are typical of participants at this weekend's NSW Masters Rowing Championships on the mighty Clarance River.
Grafton Rowing Club members Warren Ford, 45, his wife Wendy, 44, and their children, Brenton, 15 and Steffani, 13, are involved either competitively, in an official capacity or as a cheer squad.
Unfortunately for Warren Ford, the Clarence River Jockey Club racecourse manager, an untimely race meeting at Grafton today has seriously curtailed his competitive prospects.
"Work has caught up with me again, I've missed out on four or five races on Saturday," Ford said.
"There will be no medals but hopefully I can still qualify for a beer.
"I was going to renew an acquaintance with Earl Cruickshank in the double scull ? we got beaten by a bow ball when the Masters were at Iluka about 15 years ago ? but that's gone down the gurgler now."
Ford, who competed at the Masters in Penrith last year, has only one race commitment at the Championships which involve 130 races with representatives from 35 clubs throughout NSW and Queensland. He will team up with Wendy in the mixed double scull on Sunday.
"We've had one training session," Ford said. "We went out and rowed for an hour, didn't fight, and decided we could do it."
On the banks cheering will be Brenton and Steffani. Brenton, a highly promising rower teamed with Lewis Hemphill this year to win the boys' Under-17 double scull at the Australian Rowing Championships in Tasmania.
Steffani is no slouch with the oars either, having performed admirably at a number of rowing regattas this year.
"The kids will be there cheering on mum and dad," Ford said. "There sure to have a good giggle.
"And they'll be there with the respirators after the race."
Brenton will help as a time keeper, Steffani is scheduled to act as coxen with several crews and Wendy officiating in the marshall's boat for much of the weekend.
"I'll be left to cook sausages on the barbecue and make sure the beer is cold," Ford said.
Racing commences at 8am on both days.