By BRIAN CUNNIFF
THE WILDWOODS — Doug Davis and Brett Hansen pulled off a rather impressive feat at Tuesday morning’s Around The Island Row.
The crew from the Ventnor City Beach Patrol rallied from behind to beat the crew that had won the event four times in the past five years.
Davis and Hansen stayed close enough to the leaders through the early stages of the race before taking the lead for good with about 2 ½ miles to go to win by 36 seconds.
Hosted by the North Wildwood Beach Patrol, the Around The Island Row is an approximately 18-mile doubles race that circumnavigates the Wildwoods. It begins in Hereford Inlet and ends with a floating finish line about 200 yards off the beach at 15th Avenue. The race was held for the 44th time Tuesday.
Davis and Hansen posted a time of 2 hours, 37 minutes, 24 seconds. Wildwood Crest’s Darrick Kobierowski and Terry McGovern, the champions in 2014-16 and 2018, were second in 2:38.00.
Cape May’s John Knies and Rob Moran led for most of the first half of the race, until Kobierowski and McGovern overtook them about a mile before the rowers reached the Middle Thorofare Bridge. But Davis and Hansen remained close with the new leaders and overtook them in the ocean around the Rambler Road area in Wildwood Crest.
Upper Township’s Ryan Fischer and Kyle Rumaker placed third in 2:40:21. Margate and Longport alumns Carl Smallwood and B.J. Fox, back-to-back champions in 2008-09, were fourth in 2:41:15. Wildwood Crest’s Pat Bakey and Jake Klecko rounded out the top five in 2:41:54.
Wildwood’s Brandon Joyce and Steve McGuinn, winners in 2017, were sixth in 2:45:15.
Davis and Hansen became the first crew from outside Cape May County to win the race since Margate’s Smallwood and Chris Graves in 2013.
The event was held under difficult conditions. A southwest wind blew toward the rowers in the bay, before quick-moving swells greeted the rowers in Cold Spring Inlet. The competitors then had to deal with choppy seas in the ocean ahead of the finish.