As the acting Press Officer of the Fuller’s Head of the River Fours, Daniel Spring – known for his eminent Fatsculler’s rowing blog – writes in a press release:
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours takes place over the world famous 4 ¼ mile Championship course from Mortlake to Putney on the River Thames in West London for the 59th time on Saturday, 30 November, starting at 1 p.m.
Heading for the start in 2012. Photo: Tim Koch.
Demonstrating the truly inclusive nature of competitive rowing, the race includes men and women of all backgrounds and abilities, from across the UK, Europe and further afield. The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours offers a rare opportunity for members of the GB national team to compete in club colours and on home waters. Starting as No.1 is the top Leander quad scull containing two members of the World Championship bronze medal winning crew. Starting directly behind them is an “All stars” crew from Tideway Scullers School, led by Britain’s Olympic bronze medallist, Alan Campbell, the crew incudes reigning World single scull champion Ondrej Synek from the Czech Republic, reigning Quad Scull world champion, Valent Sinkovic from Croatia and Aleksander Aleksandrov of Azerbaijan who took the 2013 Diamond Challenge Sculls at Henley.
Last year’s Tideway Scullers I, who placed 2nd: A. Aleksandrov, A. Campbell, L. Moon, T. Male. Photo: Tim Koch.
In the men’s coxed four event Leander’s top boat includes Olympic champions Pete Reed and Alex Gregory. They are joined by Tom Ransley, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill from the world championship winning men’s eight. They will be pushed by a very strong Isis boat containing the stroke of the GB Olympic bronze medal winning men’s eight, Constantine Louloudis, along with double Olympic medallist, Canada’s Malcolm Howard and two experienced senior internationals, USA’s Mike DiSanto and GB’s Karl Hudspith.
In the women’s elite events World Champion Polly Swann is joined by three of the GB women’s eight which finished 4th at the World Championships this summer racing as Leander in a coxless four. In the women’s quad sculls the Leander “B” crew includes Jess Leyden who became the first British woman to win an open weight world championship single scull gold when she won the Junior title in Lithuania earlier this year.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours also offers the first chance for the 2014 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race squads to test themselves against each other in open competition. Both the Oxford University men’s team (racing as Isis) and the Cambridge University men’s team have entered five crews with the top boats from each racing in the Elite Coxed Four division. The Oxford and Cambridge Universities women’s Boat Race squads are also taking to the Tideway with Cambridge racing seven crews to Oxford’s three.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours has always provided a great opportunity to see up and coming talent in the sport, 19 of the Great Britain U23 squad will be competing, as will 17 of the 2013 Great Britain Junior squad. They will be joined by many of the UK’s top club, school and university rowers – all of whom will be hoping to win one of the 21 pennants on offer and a place at the HOR4s prize giving in the Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick.
Good support from Hammersmith Bridge in 2012. Photo: Tim Koch.
It is estimated that it will take the crews between 17 and 30 minutes to go down the course depending on weather, fitness and skill. The organisers and competitors will be keeping their fingers crossed for good weather, to avoid a repeat of the last minute 2009 cancellation due to poor conditions.
Spectating along the whole course is free, the action will last a couple of hours and there are plenty of good viewing points from which to watch. Stalls selling refreshments and rowing related goods will be located outside many of the local Tideway clubs, especially along Putney Embankment and near Hammersmith Bridge.
Full crew lists, which are updated on a regular basis and details about the history of the race, are available on the event website at: www.hor4s.org.uk
Fuller’s Brewery has now been associated with this event for 33 years, for which the committee and all those involved with the race express their heartfelt thanks.