The 80th Head Of The River Race

The Czech Rowing Federation on the left overtake Molesey at Hammersmith Bridge.

A wet St Patrick’s Day, Saturday 17 March, saw the 80th Head of the River Race on the Thames in London. Here is Tim Koch report:

When this event was founded in 1926 it was the first processional boat race of its type and so the organisers have never felt it necessary to add ‘men’s’ or ‘eights’ to its title. A potted history of the HoRR is given in my report on the 2011 race.

Hammersmith Bridge: any half decent crew can race the 12 minutes to here. But after this point it starts to hurt.

This year saw 404 entries with the usual good turnout from Germany (29 crews), Switzerland (12), and Spain (6). There were single representatives from Austria, Hungary, Russia, Ireland, Italy, Sweden, The Netherlands, and France.

The Czech Rowing Federation (No. 3) won in a time of 17 minutes 34 seconds with Leander I (No. 1) second place (17m 56s), and Molesey I (No. 2) third place (18m 01s). The only other non British crews to win the Head of the River Race were RV Münster von 1882 (Germany) in 1993 and 1994 and The Netherlands Rowing Federation in 1995. The course record still stands at 16m 37s, set by the British National Squad in 1987.

Professor Boris Rankov, six times Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race winner, marshals from Hammersmith Bridge. His electronic megaphone gave out so he fell back on using something much more appropriate to a professor of ancient history.

The full results are here.

Hammersmith Bridge: for some the race is over, for others it is only 60% done.

Round the Harrods Bend before the long, hard straight to Putney.

The Fairbairn Trophy for the crew that goes ‘Head’.

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