H A R O L D P I N C H B E C K
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THE WATCH TAILOR
In Canada, all present and correct. - 30th March, 2009
The racers have arrived in Ottowa after a long days travel by air. Shortly after arrival at the Hotel they were given yet more equipment and each another bag to try and fit into their already pretty full luggage.
However it is important all this equipment and food makes it up to Resolute and the racers have another long day in aeroplanes tomorrow.
After a fairly uneventful (for once) journey to Resolute the teams arrived complete with all equipment late on Monday and training commenced early on the Tuesday, Thanks are once again due to Nancy Lynds of First Air to whom nothing is too much trouble.
Tuesday was dull, windy and overcast with light snow and a walk round the outskirts of Resolute certainly gave the racers a taste of how hard it could be. In contrast Wednesday dawned clear and sunny with little wind which was great encouragement for the racers as they honed their skiing skills.
This is an intense week for all concerned as there is a great deal to be learned. Fortunately the training seminars they go through in the UK at least mean they have an understanding of the basics involved so the affects of "Polar shock" are less. Only in the Arctic can you truly learn the skills involved however.
Duct tape and sewing needles were much in evidence as contestants endeavoured to find ways of optimising their equipment in order to make it as efficient as possible to use – while outside their was not a cloud in the sky and the temperature dropped!
The ethos of the race is similar to that of the London Marathon - some are there to race, but most are there to enjoy the experience and finish the course. It is the same with the Polar Race as there is a winner but those that make it to the finish are also winners having achieved what few people have done in the past and walked to a Pole. In other words I do not see it as an "Adventure" race but rather as an opportunity for people to test themselves against the most extreme environment and push way beyond their own comfort zone.
First to finish was “Northern Lights” (Adrian Wells, Julian Evans and Ed Crowe at 8.25 who were a bit "shaken up" having put up with the attentions of a Polar Bear for a couple of hours early in the morning before a few shots finally scared it away — these boys are certainly having an adventure!
Later on in the afternoon "Team Oman" (Nabs, J-P Downes and Clare Shouksmith) came in with "Standard Life" (Roger Davies and James Trotman) at 16.15 followed just over an hour and a half later by "Magnetic Attraction" (Lucas Bateman, Arabella Slinger and Julie Jones).
Jock on Team Standard Life - 24th April, 2009
This team is made up of 2 interesting individuals.
Roger Davies is VERY interesting man.
It is something of an anniversary, 2 years ago to the day I was writing a piece on Roddy Caxton-Spencer – then a competitor in the 2007 race. Once back in the UK, Roddy was “telling the tale” to Roger's wife, a business colleague, who on her return home suggested that it was not something she thought Roger could do.
Roger, who has run a lot of marathons in his life, took this, as so many do, as a challenge and was soon on the phone and signed up. What was so remarkable about this was that Roger only 2 years ago had a heart attack and was subsequently implanted with a Medtronic coronary “stent” and yet now he is only a few days away from completing a really major physical challenge (at the age of 61). Showing that despite a major operation if you have the will then anything is possible.
Roger I know is tired but he is in sight of his goal and will be bringing a trimmer and even fitter figure back to his wife.
James Trotman, in fact joined as our medic but when Roger's original team-mates withdrew due to work reasons (forced on them by the recession) we thought that this would be a useful opportunity for him and asked him whether he would be willing to team up with Roger. He of course grasped the chance with both hands as we thought he would.
A product of Latymer School his ambition is to be a full time expedition medic. He is a member of the Chiswick RNLI as well and originally as a former oarsman I expected him to want to be involved in the London2 Paris Rowing Challenge. Calm and resourceful even when under extreme pressure, he and Roger have struck up a good partnership.
Watching one of the local Inuits tying down a box on one of their sleds or kommateks reminded me of one of my own personal experiences with knots in the Arctic. I like to think I know quite a bit about knots "bowlines", "sheepshanks", "lorryman hitches" even "granny knots" so when I decided to tie an assorted collection of items on to a sled a few years ago before going out on expedition I was hardly phased by the task.
When I stepped back after 15 minutes to view the results I was delighted. The line around everything was so tight it made a tune if you plucked it. That's going nowhere I thought.
Behind me an Inuit was grinning!!
An hour later out on the trail and everything was vibrating loose. I had done it so tight there was no give in the system as the sled, made of individual planks tied together, flexed as it went over the rough terrain.
Roger Davies (left) being presented with the Pinchbeck Polar Race 2009 prototype. Pictured with director Jason Edwards and dealer Andrew Ferguson of Ferguson Antique Clocks in Gordon Road, Lincoln.
Roger Davies, and his specially prepared Harold Pinchbeck Christopher watch, completed and survived the 2009 Polar Race in good health. You can watch Roger Davies, sporting his Pinchbeck Christopher, in a special interview presented on ITV's 'London Tonight' below. You can also see a higher resolution video of this interview on the video page on this website here
In March 2009, 61 year old Roger Davies, from Surrey, set off on foot from Resolute Bay in Canada, in a 400 mile attempt to reach the North Pole before twenty other determined competitors. However, unlike the other competitors in the Polar Race 2009 he wore a specially made Harold Pinchbeck watch.
“Roger was keen to wear an English watch for this race, rather than an imported one, so he contacted us about sponsorship” comments director Jason Edwards. “We are excited about this because we think this will be the first time that a Pinchbeck watch has been to the North Pole. The watch will be specially prepared to keep accurate time at temperatures of minus 40 degrees Celsius. The Harold Pinchbeck logo will be emblazoned across his clothing and equipment so that when TV crews and newspapers cover this historic race – as they will in numbers – the World can see that we backed an ordinary guy to achieve an extraordinary success. It is a great endorsement of our watches, and we are proud to be associated with Roger in the Polar Race.”
Roger Davies (right) wearing the Pinchbeck Polar Race 2009 watch along the Polar Race route, here being compared to a large Polar Bear footprint!