PETE REED showed his midas touch when helping Team GB's new-look Men's Eight to the most unlikely gold medal at the World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam.
Dual Olympic champion in the Men's Four, Reed found himself unable to earn a place in that showpiece boat after a winter of illness and subsequent loss of form at the early team trials.
He returned to the Men's Eight, in which boat he was a reigning world champion, but with a radically different personnel.
The rowers perceived to be the best in the entire squad – Gloucestershire's Alex Gregory, Moe Sbihi, Andrew Triggs Hodge and George Nash – were all switched to the Men's Four and have since produced one impressive result after another.
Meanwhile, the Men's Eight continued to undergo crew changes throughout 2014, even since their latest World Cup outing. One constant, however, has been former Cirencester Deer Park pupil Reed.
The eight has endured a series of near-misses this season – a bronze at the European Championships and a silver and bronze in two World cup events.
Against this backdrop they were certainly not expected to win and that appeared to be underlined when they were forced to come through a repêchage against Russia just to make the final.
But Royal Navy officer Reed, who grew up in Nailsworth, is an athlete who has an uncanny knack of getting things right on the day – and he did it again.
Reed, along with Nathaniel Reilly O'Donnell, Mat Tarrant, William Satch, Matt Gotrel, Paul Bennett, Tom Ransley, Constantine Louloudis and cox Phelan Hill, delivered a consummate performance to defeat Olympic champions Germany and record a famous victory.
"That was a crew effort," said Reed, whose mystery illness earlier this year was eventually diagnosed as an allergy to dogs. "Everyone had their part to play and they all contributed.
"I can't believe it. It's been the hardest year by far for me. Everything was hard – it was a tough winter and I've been through a lot."
O'Donnell added: "We could not have delivered that performance last week. I know it sounds strange to say that but we needed that repêchage. We needed another race as a crew."
Sitting in third at 500m, the Brits powered past favourites Germany and Poland to lead at 1,000m. They extended their advantage in the next 500m before holding off Germany on the line.
The British boat won in 5min 24.11sec to Germany's 5:24.77. Poland came home more than over two seconds behind in bronze and the USA were fourth.
Britain ended the regatta in Amsterdam with a total of 10 medals, including four gold, four silver and two bronze – two more than last year's tally.
Of this year's medals, six are Olympic class, which means the squad have hit the top end of their target, agreed with UK Sport, of between three and six.
The most predictable victory was that of the Men's Four, who just missed out on a world record, but clinched the gold medal they had been aiming for after a stellar season.
The quartet only formed a partnership in April but have since gone on to win the European title followed by two World Cup gold medals and now a world championship.