Path to Head of the Yarra regatta

It’s just past 4:30am and Loan Market Queensland chief executive officer Peter Camphin and his rowing teammates are lowering their boat into the Brisbane River. 

They are on one of their final training sessions before contesting the Head of the Yarra this weekend.

Their path to the regatta started three months ago when coach James Clark principal of Ray White Nundah, Peter Camphin Loan Market Queensland CEO, Tom McLellan a sales associate at Ray White Annerley, Paul Henwood an engineer at Watpac, Bill Bridgeford a retired farmer, Michael Sparksman who owns OPENetworks, Kit Edgecombe a solutions architect in IT at BOQ and his brother Guy Edgecombe a partner at Gadens, Greg Clarke of McGees Property valuers and Olympian Will Lockwood, started training together.

Mr Lockwood, a former Loan Market broker, is their secret weapon as he was a silver medallist at the London and Rio Olympics in the 4s.


(L-R) James Clark, Tom McLellan, Will Lockwood and Peter Camphin.

This band of rowing brothers are determined and focused ahead of their regatta.

Coach and Ray White Nundah principal James Clark said this team were all good rowers individually but now they were better together.

“Old habits die hard and once they are broken, records can be set and reset. Flow is the foundation for genuine speed. We have the flow,” Mr Clark said.

“These rowers are all passionate about rowing and many of them have raced overseas but they all now feel and know that they are better rowers individually which makes for a fantastic crew. We have achieved continual improvement.”

The Head of the Yarra is an 8.6km time trial and the biggest regatta in Australia for eights, not shorter boats, just eights.

“We all committed to a specific program ahead of the regatta of land and water training.” Mr Camphin said.

“Rowing is more about legs than arms. The very first thing you learn about rowing is if you try and row a boat with just your arms you’ll quickly fatigue. It’s all about your core, back and legs,” Mr Camphin said.

“This is my 15th year doing this race. There is a very strong men’s master’s rowing community in Brisbane, so we race against a lot of these guys all of the time,” he said.

“The Head of the Yarra is the largest individual regatta in Australia for Eights and there will be everyone from 90-year-olds rowers to boys and girls in Year 10 at school.

“The training is intense but that’s half the fun. We’ve trained well but we’ll be racing against 50-55 year olds and a lot of us in our boat are aged 60.

“We won’t disgrace ourselves but we’d love to crack 30 minutes. If we get a clear run it can make a huge difference.”

The team is based at the Gregory Terrace Boat Shed at Tennyson in Brisbane with many in the team having deep connections to the elite GPS school.