In a press release, Press Officer Daniel Spring, known in the rowing world as ‘fatsculler’, writes about the 2015 Fuller’s Head of the River Fours:
On Saturday, 7 November, starting at 12:45 p.m., the 61st Fuller’s Head of the River Fours will takes place on the world famous 4 ¼ mile Championship course from Mortlake to Putney on the River Thames.
More than 1,600 athletes in over 400 boats from the UK and Europe will compete in quads, coxed and coxless fours.
The 2015 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. For many of the Rio Olympic hopefuls, it will be the last chance to race publically in the UK before the 2016 Olympic Games.
Defending the title from last year, Leander Club has the same line up as in 2014, with Pete Lambert and Charles Cousins from the GB M4x joined by John Collins and Jonno Walton who raced for Great Britain in the M2X at this year’s World Championships. Starting second, is Leander no. 2 boat with Angus Groom at bow; 2015 was something of a breakthrough season for the 23-year-old Groom, who won gold at the 2nd World Cup and was selected as the spare for the senior World Championship team. He is joined by World Championship bronze medallist Alan Sinclair and internationals Chris Boddy and Nick Middleton. Starting as 3rd boat are the Tideway Scullers School with GB’s M1x representative Alan Campbell at bow.
The men’s coxless four event promises an epic showdown between crews packed with world champions. Starting 17th, are Leander Club with reigning world champions Alex Gregory, Will Satch and Matt Gotrel, along with world bronze medallist Tom Ransley. A composite crew from Molesey, The University of London and Oxford Brookes University (starting as the 20th boat) also have four World Championship medallists on board, with world champions Mo Sbihi, George Nash and Paul Bennett joined by bronze medallist Scott Durant.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours also offers the first chance for the 2016 Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race squads to test themselves against each other in open competition. Oxford University men’s team (racing as Isis) and the Cambridge University men’s team (racing as Goldie) have entered 6 and 5 crews respectively with the top boats from each racing in the Elite Coxed 4 division. With a start position of 21, Oxford’s top crew (racing as Isis II) includes returning Blue James Cook and U23 international Josh Bugajski. Starting 3 places behind them is the top Cambridge boat (racing as Goldie 1) with three returning Blues, Henry Hoffstot, Luke Juckett and Ben Ruble who are joined by senior GB international Lance Tredell.
Following the successful move of the Women’s Boat Race to the Tideway this year, the 2015 Fullers Head of the River Fours race will also offer the opportunity for the Oxford and Cambridge women’s Boat Race squads to race each other over the Championship course. Cambridge have five crews racing in Elite 4+ and Elite 4- whereas Oxford have three crews entered in the lower Intermediate 1 category. Cambridge’s top boat (starting 56th) races in the Elite 4- category and includes returning Blues Ashton Brown and Daphne Martschenko. They face a strong Leander crew (starting 55th) which includes senior GB internationals Lou Reeve and Ros Bradbury.
In the Women’s elite quad’s Leander Club’s top crew (starting 44th) of Polly Swann, Vicky Meyer-Laker, Vicky Thornley and Jess Leyden will be chased hard by an Imperial College crew starting one place behind them, containing GB internationals Mel Wilson and Zoe Lee.
The Fuller’s Head of the River Fours has always provided a great opportunity to watch up-and-coming talent in the sport. As well as all the experienced international athletes competing, many of the UK’s top club, school and university rowers are also racing – all of whom will be hoping to win one of the 22 pennants on offer and a place at the HOR4s prize giving in the Fuller’s brewery in Chiswick.
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 2009 last-minute 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 spots. 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 more details about the history of the race and a full start order are available on the event website at www.hor4s.org.uk
The committee and all those involved with the race would like to express their heartfelt thanks to Fuller’s Brewery, which has been associated with this event for 34 years.