by Emma Hivey
Welcome to the English Riviera and the best event of the summer, the Volvo Noble Marine RS200 National Championships hosted by Royal Torbay Yacht Club. This year we have entries from across the globe, with sailors flying in from Australia, Olympic hopefuls dropping by after Japan and a whole host of youth sailors coming to challenge the RS200 regulars both on and off the water. There are so many important questions to be answered:
Will the boom of doom make an appearance? Who is targeting a stage (sorry race) win? Will there be a sprint finish, or will the famous waves of Torbay make it a King of the Mountains competition? Which of our daring duos will win the fancy dress? What will be deemed Duckham’s dress worthy this year? Finally, who will be crowned National Champions?
This year’s runners and riders has a 100th anniversary Tour de France theme – well we are almost as iconic! So, with 100 entries and more on the waiting list, competition will yet again be close across the fleet. There are clearly far too many amazing sailors coming for this to be complete, but as just a taste here are a few of the runners and riders:
All time legends (clearly we had to include the greats, not just this year):
- Froome- Determined, fearless, ruthless when racing and an absolute legend, but truly lovely off the course, Matt Mee and Emma Norris are back in the fleet and racing to win!
- Sir Bradley Wiggins- Northern, stylish, world and Olympic champion in track and road racing, always up for a laugh and great to watch. Andy Brown and Alex Suttcliff, both excellent team racers and light wind RS200 experts, can these two live up to the Wiggins challenge?
- Alberto Contador- Multiple Grand Tour winner, twice winner of Tour de France, Contador shows the young riders how it’s done. Tom Hewitson partnered with crewing phenomenon Amelia Hewitson have the pedigree and the pace, one to watch for stage wins and possibly the title.
- Egan Bernal- Patiently waiting to be a legend, James Peters and Maddy Anderson these two are the ones to watch (ok they are already legends). Olympic hopeful, young and talented the racing is going to be close with this pair.
- G – Hamish and Emma. Always determined, honest and positive these two have a Welsh person in the boat and always give it their all- well hiking is mandatory when you are light and with a smile in the bar afterwards will they make it onto the podium again?
- Sagan – Winner of 12 stages, a biking hipster and multiple world/national champion Johnny and Sarah McGovern know when to hit the front when it matters, both coaching legends, they must be in with a shout at the podium this year.
- Alaphilippe – All-rounder, building form and France love him, can he win the Tour…. Robbie King and Jamie Webb definitely have the form and Torquay could suit their racing form; will they top the podium?
- Caleb Ewan- The darling of Australia, with stage wins against tough competition, this man has style across multiple disciplines and is a Mark Cavendish in the making another one challenging the old guard. Tommy and Charlie Darling are back in a boat together, watch out RS200 fleet these two have style and could absolutely upset the top 10.
- Simon Yates- Two stage wins, still on great form and yet another great British cyclist with so much more to show. Alex King and Vita Heathcote, fresh off a 420 worlds win they definitely have potential!
- Thibaut Pinot- Captivating, determined and on superb attacking form. Martin Whitley and Arran Holman, great 470 sailors and on the pace, but can they translate this to the 200 fleet?
- Marianna Vos- Winner of La Course for the second time, following four stage wins at Giro Rosa, Vos is simply amazing, as are Karen Baker and Jo Hewitson. These two will give the top teams a run for their money and will hope to keep Rheanna Pavey and Claudia Wilson at bay for the all ladies team too.
- The Young guns, fighting for the white jersey and the maillot jaune who could easily upset this profile, but there are just so many of them this year include: Tom Goodey & Richard Thomas, Crispin Beaumont and Freya Darnton, Morgan Peach and Katie Davies… all could be on their best in Torquay, whatever happens it will be a great event yet again!
So, bring on 5 -9 Aug at Royal Torbay and if you aren’t there, be sure to join us for 2020 in Filey… another simply awesome venue, with simply the best fleet in the UK, possibly the World.