38 teams raced their dragons in Day-3 of the 2019 Bradford Dragon Boat Festival!
38 Teams came to Roberts Park, Saltaire on Sunday 23rd June 2019 to Race The Dragon on the River Aire on the third day of the annual 3-day Bradford Dragon Boat Festival. Watched by a crowd of around 20,000 people, day three is the Multi Charity Championship where teams are able to both nominate and raise funds for their own team charity. Likewise, registered local, regional and national charities are able to promote this day to all their supporters and get teams entering to support them - a definite WIN-WIN situation for each charity as they are able to benefit from the fund raising success of a dragon boat festival without having to incur the costs, the risk or the time to organise an event of their own.
The day started at 8:30 with participant registration after which the first teams will be called up for their safety briefing. Each team was given a full safety briefing before their first race, which along with best paddle technique, included how to stop the boat capsizing as well as what to do in the event of a capsize (fortunately, a rare occurrence). Race The Dragon wristbands were then be issued to every team member at the briefing, which then allowed them access to the waterside of the event and the dragon boats.
With the start of the race just outside the viewing area in Roberts Park, BIG Screen TV's were again organised so that camera footage could be shown to the crowds in the park and those waiting along the river bank.
Along with the dragon boat racing, the festival included many other displays and attractions, from an Army assault course, where members of the public were invited to have a go, through to through to a climbing tower, children's rides and a fun fair. There were also ethnic and international food vendors each serving their diverse range of wonderful foods, as well as bar outlets, market stalls and a whole host of traders, some of which we know will have traveled from overseas just to be at this festival.
The Yorkshire brass band is expected to make a return to the park, along with the big stage where for the last two years, live acts from up and coming local bands entertained the crowd throughout the day.
The Bradford Dragon Boat Festival is the UK's only three-day dragon boat festival and is already the largest event of it's kind in the UK today. Designed as a free to spectate festival, the event is organised by the community of Bradford for the community of Bradford.
How does it work?
A dragon boat team is made up of up to 20 team members, where a maximum 16 paddlers and a drummer will be allowed to compete in any one race. The extra members are because each team will have several races during the day.
Racing is over a course of 200 meters with the start just beyond the cricket pavilion and the finish in front on the crowds in Roberts Park. Each team will have a minimum three timed races where their single fastest time only will count for Grand Final qualification. What this means is, even if two of your races are both disasters, one great time is still all you need to be in with a good chance of going through to the Grand Final race.
After each race, the scores will be announced over the event p.a. and then put up on the event scoreboard and the festival's BIG screen TV for everyone to see and compare.
What you will be aiming to achieve is an opportunity to compete in the last race of the day ... the Grand Final. This will be a race where the top three teams from across all the qualifying heats will race once more in the most competitive race of the day. The Grand Final will be a 3-boat race to the finish where first across will be declared: Multi Charity Dragon Boat Champions of Bradford 2020.
Team work is vital if a fast time is going to be achieved and for this reason, the instructors will also give 'on the water' training to help with technique. Over the distance we race, fitness is not a key factor - technique however is. So it does not matter if your team is made up of just 12 paddlers or 16, because it's a team sprint where team work and timing is everything.
The event will finish with our award ceremony where team trophies were awarded to the Captain's of the top three teams and Winner's Medals to each member of the winning team. It's a brilliant day out.
From Shipley, follow the Otley Road (A6038) towards Baildon. Turn left along Green Lane, and follow the road as it turns into Coach Road then Higher Coach Road. Roberts Park is on the left hand side.
A one way system starts at Green Lane (the road that leads in off Otley Road).
It progresses up Coach Road and turns off after the shops by Robert Park onto Thomas Lane (this is a right hand turn after the shops, which are opposite the entrance to Roberts Park).
Free parking will be available on the fields that run alongside the river Aire.
Access is at Baildon Rec, just off Green Lane.
Access closer to Roberts Park is accessed via Aire Way (entrance) which is a left hand turn off Coach Road.– The exit is next road up, this is Tennis Way.
Drop off point is the quadrant (Higher Coach Road) outside the Main Gates to Roberts Park.
Disabled parking will be in the Quadrant (limited spaces only).
No Parking is allowed outside: Roberts Park, Higher Coach Road,
Bus numbers 626 and 624 stop just outside Roberts Park on Coach Road. Bus number 660 stops in Saltaire on the other side of the river from the park (a 5 minute walk away). Walk straight down Victoria Road towards Salts Mill. For bus timetable information contact Metro on 0113 2457676 or www.wymetro.com.
Saltaire train station is just across the river from Roberts Park. Turn left downhill out of the station and follow the footbridge across the river. Trains stop in Saltaire from Leeds and from Bradford. For train timetable information contact Metro on 0113 2457676 or www.wymetro.com.