Going To Steve’s Head

The Mile Post, sited one mile along the river from the start of the Championship Course when going from Putney to Mortlake, commemorates Steve Fairbairn who, among other things, founded the Tideway Head of the River Race for Eights in 1926. On 26 March, the 87th Eights Head was run after a two-year COVID related hiatus.

28 March 2022

By Tim Koch

Tim Koch celebrates the return of the Tideway Eights Head with a photo report of the day.

Hoping for a purple patch, Manchester University Boat Club B boat from Furnivall Gardens, Hammersmith. As this picture indicates, it was a bright, sunny and warm day with little wind.
The University of East Anglia Boat Club A crew line up to boat from Furnivall Sculling Club’s ramp.
One for the socials.
Going to the start. In the foreground, Nottingham and Union Rowing Club “B” are about to pass under Hammersmith Bridge.
University of York Boat Club B under Hammersmith Bridge on their way to Mortlake.
Apart from being an occasional T-shirt model, James Lee is a cox, coach, event organiser, umpire, team manager, photographer and owner of the “Rock the Boat” clothing and accessory company.
On land, there is a brief, strangely quiet period when all the crews are on the water, but racing has not yet started. Lines of deserted boat trailers line Putney Embankment…
Footwear lies temporarily abandoned at Barn Elms…
Crowds on Hammersmith Bridge wait for the first boats to pass under (the bridge will be closed for the Oxford – Cambridge Boat Races, 10.00 – 5.00 on 3 April). Picture: @JLee_Row
The first three boats pass Putney Embankment, and they were eventually placed in the order that they started. First: Oxford Brookes A, 16.59.8. Second: Leander A, 17.15.7. Third: Oxford Brookes B 17.17.1.
In the foreground, Brookes A is finished but Leander A is nearly 16 seconds behind them, a great tribute to Brookes who seem to be in a class of their own.
On their way home, Imperial College A (18.03.5) cheer on Imperial college B (18.38.0) for their last few strokes.
Nottingham RC cross the line while Lea A look on.
Putney Embankment in mid-race viewed from Bishop’s Park.
Bath University BC A pass London’s clubhouse.
Cork Boat Club B, Ireland, pass the Westminster School boathouse – which is flying the Ukrainian flag – and, on the left, Crabtree Boat Club.
Commercial Rowing Club, Ireland, and Auriol Kensington RC A opposite Thames and Imperial College.
Butler College Boat Club (background), University of York Boat Club A (middle ground) and Pembroke College (Cambridge) Boat Club A (foreground) passing Chas Newens chandlers and the Putney High School boathouse.
A view of the finish and of Putney Embankment from Putney Bridge.
Churchill College Boat Club B passes the developments at Fulham Football Ground.
Fulham Reach BC A is photobombed by a gull.
The beer in North Rhine-Westphalia is possibly superior to the brew this German visitor is drinking, but few things taste better than post-race alcohol.
The full results are here. Remarkably, there is over a minute between the first and the tenth crew. This year’s entry was 295 crews, it has been a long time since the entry reached the 420 maximum allowed. Speculation is that this drop is due to the number of times that the event has had to be cancelled in recent times.
Although he is 160 years old, it seems that Steve can still attract the ladies. Briefly back at Thames, the Fairbairn bust is readied for the prize giving ceremony when it will be presented to Brookes A as the Head of the River Crew.  Picture: @EightsHead.

A recording of the live stream broadcast is on YouTube.

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