On Saturday 1 November at 9:45 a.m. the 60th Fuller’s Head of the River Fours will take place over the 4 ¼-mile championship course from Mortlake to Putney on the River Thames in West London. In a press release Daniel Spring, press officer of the Head of the River Fours, writes:
More than 1,600 athletes from across the UK, Europe and further afield will compete in quads, coxed and coxless fours. 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. Defending the title from last year, the Tideway Scullers School, including Olympic bronze medallist Alan Campbell and former Isis oarsman Nick Marriott, will be chased by the no.1 Leander crew containing two of GB’s world championship silver medal crew Charlie Cousins and Pete Lambert. They are joined in the crew by Jonno Walton and John Collins, who represented GB in the M2X at the world championships earlier this year. The Leander no.2 boat (starting 3rd) includes U23 medallists Jack Beaumont and Angus Groom. Starting 8th is an Imperial College/Westminster School composite that includes Swiss international scullers Nico Stahlberg and Barnabe Delarze. They join GB world championship bronze medallist Sam Scrimgeour and 17-year-old Sam Meijer, the latter the winner of the the youth single sculls at the Head of the Charles in Boston.
The men’s elite coxed fours event promises an epic showdown between crews packed with world champions. Starting 31st are Leander Club with reigning world champions Alex Gregory, Pete Reed, Tom Ransley, Will Satch and cox Phelan Hill. Molesey, starting as no. 34th, have four world championship medallists on board with gold winners George Nash and Mo Sbihi joined by silver medallists James Foad and cox Henry Fieldman. Another crew with some of this year’s world champions on board are the University of London (starting 35th) with Nathanial Reilly-O’Donnell and Paul Bennett from the gold medal men’s eight.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours also offers the first chance for the 2015 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race squads to test themselves against each other in open competition, and for the first time the women’s Boat Race squads will be racing on the course on which they will do battle on 11 April. The Oxford University men’s team (racing as Isis) and the Cambridge University men’s team have entered six and five crews respectively with the top boats from each racing in the elite coxed 4 division. With a start position of 30, Oxford’s top crew (racing as Isis II) are stroked by President and reigning world champion, Constantine Louloudis. He is joined by Mike DiSanto and Morgan Gerlak from the USA and Sam O’Connor from New Zealand. They will be starting one place ahead of the top Cambridge crew containing three returning Blues, Henry Hoffstot, Josh Hooper and Matt Jackson. The Oxford women’s top boat are led by double Olympic gold medallist Carryn Davies from the USA. Cambridge’s no.1 boat includes U23 internationals Melissa Wilson, of Great Britain, and Daphne Martschenko, of the USA.
In the women’s elite quads, Leander club’s top crew of Lucinda Gooderham, Vicky Meyer-Laker, Vicky Thornley and Jess Leyden will be chased hard by an Imperial College crew stroked by world champion single sculler Emma Twigg from New Zealand. She is backed up by Poland’s London-based Olympic bronze medallist Julia Michalska and GB’s Mel Wilson and Zoe Lee.
The women’s elite coxless fours event contains just two crews, but they are full of senior international athletes. Starting 65th, the composite Army/Bath/Oxford Brookes and London crew includes world champions Helen Glover and Heather Stanning with Jess Eddie and Olivia Carnegie-Brown. They are up against a Leander crew stroked by 2013 world champion Polly Swann, who is backed up by Louisa Reeve, Ros Bradbury and Katie Greves, all of whom rowed in the GB women’s eight at the world championships this year.
It can take crews between 17 and 30 minutes to get down the course depending on weather, fitness and skill. The organisers and competitors all will be keeping their fingers crossed for good weather, to avoid a repeat of the last-minute cancellation due to poor conditions, which happened in 2009. Spectating along the whole course is free, the action will last a couple of hours and there are plenty of good viewing points along the course. 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.
More details about the history of the race and a full start order are available on the event website at www.hor4s.org.uk.
Fuller’s Brewery has now been associated with this event for 34 years, for which the committee and all those involved with the race, express their heartfelt thanks.
Full crew lists, which are updated on a regular basis, are available on the event website at: www.hor4s.org.uk