UWBC’s senior men marked the end of the term by taking the trip down to the tideway in London to compete in the annual Head of the River Race (HoRR). This was to be the toughest race of the season, with over 300 crews competing in the gruelling 6.7km head race. The senior men contributed 2 of the 4 Warwick VIIIs that entered the race. Fielding unchanged crews from Worcester Head (apart from the return of the bucket in the 1st VIII, much to Paddy’s delight), both crews had harboured high hopes throughout the term of some very strong results in order to lay down the marker as we moved forward into regatta season. The 1st VIII headed down 99th in the starting order.
A solid row through Barnes was followed by a choppier stretch of water. Despite this, the boys were able to hunt down the local Vesta Rowing Club and pass them (following a blade clash) just before Hammersmith Bridge. As the vocal Warwick supporters cheered us past Hammersmith, the 1st VIII began to press on well. A really gutsy row in the final 2.5km capped off a strong performance throughout. Almost 200 boats later, it was Warwick 2nd VIII’s time to shine. The crew ensured that they were all comfortable before the start of the race before setting off. The shiny, newly-repaired Resolute shell was a glorious sight from the bank and the boys did it justice, passing several crews on their way to the finish line. As the race began to bite in the final few kilometres, cox Chezz bellowed out “Hammersmith!” as they passed under the bridge which was all that the crew needed to hang on in there to the finish.
Both crews landed and before knowing any results were pleased with their rows. As the final crews finished, the 1st VIII had earned themselves 87th place. Another 6 or so seconds would have handed the boys a club record placing, but a strong performance yielded an improvement on last year’s result and put us well in the mix in comparison to the other universities we will look to be competing come the summer. The 2nd VIII, on the other hand, completely obliterated the previous 2nd VIII record by over 30 places, finishing 151st. This prompted especially jubilant celebrations from bow man and all round club legend Scotty B, obviously a big relief for him following the 2nd VIII’s humbling by the novices at HoRR 2015.
Overall, a successful day for Warwick’s senior men. A 2nd VIII record and two VIII’s in the top 150 (almost) shows the unprecedented strength in depth that the squad now has, which has fuelled us with optimism for the coming months’ racing. The squad will now look forward to a tough Easter training schedule – with training camp later in April – before BUCS regatta and the Henley campaign in term 3.