The concept of running a head race on a 2k course may be an odd one to those who associate head racing with long distances, but the experience of this year's Thames Valley Trial Head which took place on Sunday 4th February at Dorney Lake, would imply that it's a popular one with the masses.

From a record entry of 425 crews (a large proportion of which were junior crews, some racing for the first time), a total of 383 completed the course in cold but bright conditions, while a large crowd of spectators gathered on the tow path to watch them race down the 1,900m course.

New to the event this year were crews racing in coastal boats from Herne Bay, Southampton ARC, Bexhill, Sheffield Hallam University, Hertfordshire University and Southampton Coalporters. The fastest coastal coxed four on the day were the crew from Herne Bay ARC, followed 14 seconds later by their 2nd crew. Sheffield Hallam University won the Women's coastal coxed fours and mens coxless pairs.

Southampton University produced the fastest time of the day winning the Senior 3 eights category in 6mins 19.6sec. The fastest women's eight was from Marlow winning in 7min 1.4sec, followed by the Maidenhead Juniors.

Southampton Coalporters took the Veteran handicap eights.

The large contingent from the south coast also won novice eights (Southampton University), Novice coxed fours (Southampton Solent RC), Veteran Singles (BTC Southampton) and men's and women's coastal singles and men's doubles (Bexhill).

Windsor Boys School had the fastest quadruple scull, winning senior 3 in 6m42.6 seconds. They were quickly followed by Marlow 6m44.2 (J16 4x winners) and RGS High Wycombe 6m44.7 (J18 4x winners).

Full results are available from

Henley Rowing Club recently enjoyed a week of Sun, Sangria and Seat Racing in Seville. The Camp was apparently very productive (as you can see from the attached photos).

Those with eagle eyes will be able to spot FISA umpire and Henley Steward John Friend, dominating the infamous HRC Tiger Bong.

What a legend!

The English Indoor Rowing Champs took place at the Velodrome in Manchester on Sunday - and for once it was sensible to be racing indoors (considering just how cold and wet it was outside).

The event which was organised by Hollingworth Lake, had a record entry (perhaps because folks are frustrated with not getting to race on the water) with entrants aged from 9 to 91.

Nik Fleming from Champions of the Thames (who obviously has masochistic tendencies), won the 30-39 age group in 6.05 and then after a 10 minute rest won the Open category in 6.04 in a v close race.

Nige Mayglothling on commentary went supersonic as usual, getting far too excited and generating most of the atmosphere on his own! While the Manchester Uni men provided much entertainment for those waiting to race, with their warm up exercises -- which are getting close to rivalling those of the Durham Uni women.... although no-one has yet risen to the challenge of topping the DUBC girls' ministry of silly walks impressions!

Reports also indicate that Simon Darnbrough was seen limping around with a pain in the proverbial (in this case literally - the result of a trapped nerve) - poor thing!

Full results are on the concept2 site

A pictorial guide to the Bombing Run.. a joint LRC and Thames social dreamed up by ACM Muller
(photos Courtesy of the Victorious Green Squad) - click to enlarge:

1. Get orders and move out

2. Visit pubs

3. Get public transport

4. Drink

5. Drink

6. Drink

7. Run like Anneka Rice

8. Drink

9. Drink

10. Swap clothes

11. Drink

12. Four Man Base Trafalger Square

13. Celebrate victory

14. Eat while other teams catch up

15. Party

16. Empty your pockets the following morning and cry...

Whilst the Thames Novice men were busy winning their first head race on Saturday, one of their number Frenchman Cyrille Martin, (who's currently in South Africa), managed to upstage their success with some news of his own.

It would seem that during a visit to the Lions and Rhino Park in Jo'burg, he managed to get bitten by a six month old lion cub and had to get medical treatment because the injury to his chest.

As Cyrille put it "it was a pain to try to ergo yesterday night, but I can't blaim the lion cub: he just wanted to play !"

Sixty one crews entered and all turned up to race in the Quintin head, which took place on Saturday in rather nice conditions (though the fast stream was making marshalling at the start "interesting" for some crews). The race was the first event to be run under the new Tideway Code (i.e. without a river closure) and in general all went very well, but there are a few things of note to record; Full results are available at:

A warning to those on the Tideway to be careful in the current strong stream conditions - especially when the wind is up, as even the most experienced crew can easily be taken by surprise.

Reports suggest that a quad from Mortlake got rather wet after hitting Barnes Bridge on Sunday when the swirl off the bridge caught them out. Happily all four crew members were rescued by an accompanying launch, but not without a little drama - as the boat broke between the bow seat and the two seat, and one crew member was swept a few yards down stream.

As this can happen to crews with experienced steers who know the Tideway, clubs visting from up-river who are unfamiliar with the vagaries of tidal water should be doubly careful and pay particular heed to the non-stopping zones around the bridges.

Be careful.

Despite all the cancellations due to weather conditions last weekend, there was some good news for rowers in Maidstone, Kent, at the weekend -- when the Maidstone SBH finally went ahead after being rescheduled from December.

Around 150 crews took part in 3 divisions and there were only two capsizes - a coxed quad (?!?) with a broken fin, and unconfirmed reports of a double.

It was a beautiful sunny day with blue sky, warmish in the sun, flowing but not over-flowing river, good catering, prompt results, nice medals .... indeed, all fairly good tempered!

No doubt full results will appear on the website in time:

We're happy to be able to bring you a fine selection of highly dodgy pics from Henley Rowing Club's 'White Men Can't Jump' NYE party. The party was a great success and in attendance were members of Marlow, Leander, Brookes, Upper Thames, UL and IC to name a few. Following the success of this, plans are already in place for a much bigger summer party at HRC.

The main events of the evening included HRC's captain and Head coach Ian 'Dessie' Desmond on the guitar belting out 60's classics and 80's Hair Metal cover band 'Youth Gone Wild', consisting of Thames Tradesmen's rower Robert Friend on vocals and Bass, Oxford Brookes and Great Britain Rower Ryan Davies on the Drums and Henley Rowing Club's very own Jonny Smith-Willis on lead Guitar.

Thanks to everyone who attended for making it such an awesome evening, no funds were raised, no fire extinguishers were left untouched and most of the £1800 worth of alcohol was consumed!

Thanks are also due to Charlie and Rob Friend and Jonny Smith-Willis for organising it.

It would appear that things got a little hot at Leander on Saturday night, after there was a fire in the crew room (apparently a self combusting computer), no major damage but the first floor was heavily smoke logged -- I'm told it's now "a bit smelly" and parts may need re-decorating.

The police have been called in to investigate, just incase it might be linked to a fire at the club last month (which is also thought to have been accidental).

As it appears to have been electrics related, it's unlikely someone has it in for the pink palace... Mind you, Leander has recently had one of its renowned culls of under-performing oarsmen - and a round of "pink postcards" (pink xmas cards shurely?... ED) were sent out following the December trials.