Tideway Heads weekend 2024

The winter head racing season drew to a close with entries from Durham ARC going to London for the Head of the River Race (HoRR) on Saturday, March 23rd and the Vesta Masters Head on Sunday, March 24th.

The Senior Men were representing the club on the Tideway for a third consecutive year, this time with Cormac McCumiskey, Tom Morton, John Roxborough, Roger Dunn, Braiden Evans, Dan Pearson, Jeff Gugelmann, Ollie Negus and cox Stef Lavelle starting bow number 114 and again contesting the Medium sized club pennant, four of the crew and the cox having competed in the two previous years, and were looking to improve on the 167th place achieved in 2022 and 150th in 2023.

Like the Women’s Head on March 9th and Schools Head on March 20th, neither of which had an entry from DARC, the HoRR was the subject of some doubt because of the fast flowing stream, with the Port of London Authority’s Ebb Tide Flag changing from Yellow to Green only on the morning of the race.

Record times were anticipated as 318 eights started the race from Mortlake to Putney at 3.15pm aided by a strong tailwind in addition to the fast stream. The task of the timekeepers was made more difficult by several crews being separated from their bow numbers during the race. The DARC crew completed the 6.8km in 19.10.7, giving them 161st place overall, 12th place in the Medium club pennant and 36th in the Jackson Trophy (for provincial clubs not based on the Tideway).

The overall winners were Leander Club A who broke the existing course record set the previous year by 1.7 seconds, recording 16.26.7.

A further 18 crews from Durham also completed the race, the fastest being Durham University Boat Club A in 17.28.1 and Collingwood College A in 18.46.2, while Trevelyan College Boat Club won the Small Academic Club pennant in a time of 19.08.5.

Provisional results from HoRR are here and Livestream footage is available on YouTube.

Meanwhile Ponteland Junior Head scheduled to take place onĀ  the River Tyne on the same day with 14 DARC Junior entries in attendance was less fortunate and was forced to cancel because of the high wind forecast.

It was the turn of the Masters on Sunday when 260 Open, Mixed and Women’s eights, octuples and quads contested the Vesta International Masters Head of the River Race, (organised by Vesta Rowing Club) over the same course from Mortlake to Putney on the ebb tide starting at 3.45pm. Durham ARC was represented in a DARC/Hexham/Tyne ARC composite Masters E eight starting with bow number 52, and completing the course in 19.34.9 to take 41st place overall, and 6th place of the 21 entries in the MasE 8+ event which was won by Molesey Boat Club in 18.31.4.

Results from the Masters Head are here.

Ben Rodford has provided crew photos from the HoRR and Masters Head.

After the Boat Races on March 30th we can look forward to the start of Regatta racing.