Avon County Head of the River race attracts 1,000 rowers
Avon County Rowing Club held their 45th annual Head of the River race on Saturday – a lung-bursting, flat-out sustained row against the clock.
The event was fully subscribed, with approaching 1,000 rowers competing in 290 boats – confirming the event’s status as one of the South West’s foremost winter rowing events.
Boats from 28 clubs, schools and universities took part and crews ranged from juniors racing for the first time to experienced men, women and masters.
The race was rowed in three long and three short-course divisions, over 3,200m and 1,200m respectively, on the River Avon from Newbridge downstream to Saltford.
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The fastest boat of the day was the Winchester College eight, which posted an exceptionally quick time of 10mins 36secs. They were closely followed by another Winchester crew and a Monkton Combe eight.
The University of Bath eight took the women’s title and Winchester’s J14 boat was the quickest in the short-course event. Avon County’s Masters F coxless four’s handicap-corrected time would have placed them third overall.
Hinksey Sculling School, with seven class wins, were top of the Victor Ludorum table, followed by the University of Bath and Monmouth Comprehensive with four class wins apiece.
Race organiser Jim Dawson said: “We had a fantastic day of racing. The sun came out and the mud from the winter’s flooding, which at one time threatened the event, now seems a thing of the past.
“This race has become a top-class event and we have a terrific team of volunteers who make it all happen. The crews, coaches and their supporters were very happy.
“We will shortly start work to redevelop our site, which will provide top-class modern facilities and extra capacity to handle the race next year. Watch this space, it’s all extremely exciting.”