Sidney’s women’s and men’s first boats excel in 2019 Lent Bumps. With a net result of +2 for the women and +3 for the men, SSBC is on the rise. Read about the eventful four days of racing and celebrate Sidneyite success!
In this year’s Lent Bumps, only SSBC’s first women’s and men’s boats (W1 and M1) participated. Unfortunately, W2 could not participate in the Getting on Race and therefore couldn’t enter for Bumps. M2 put in a great effort in the Getting on Race, but just fell short of qualifying by a few seconds. Their time was similar if not faster than previous years’ results, and so they were very unlucky not to get on.
As is so often the case, 2019 Lent Bumps presented formidably challenging weather conditions. Storm Gareth contributed to ferocious headwinds on the Reach and tough cross winds further up the river. Last year, for the first time in several years some racing days were cancelled due to excessive snow. Fortunately, despite this year’s strong winds and rain all racing went ahead.
W1 had high hopes for this year’s bumps, having finished in the top 8 at Pembroke Regatta earlier in the season. The first day of racing, Tuesday 5thof March, resulted in success for the women, when they bumped Emmanuel W2 convincingly on Grassy. This was fantastic news, since the rivalry with Emma W2 goes back many years. Defeating a historic arch enemy certainly adds to the sweetness of victory. For the men, the first race was less eventful. A slightly hesitant start and crews bumping out ahead left them having to row-over, but they stuck to the race plan and finished the race with conviction. Except for feeling slightly hard done by at the lack of a bumping opportunity, everybody was happy with the crew’s performance, and they looked ahead with confidence.
Bumps is a race full of surprises, some good some bad, and the women got to experience this first-hand on the second day of racing. Strong winds made boats drift as they were pushed away from the bank. The women were dragged around and when the gun went off, they were pointing straight at the bank. After a few strokes, the oars smashed into the bank, making the boat tilt over to one side and soaking the oarswomen with cold water from the Cam. Luckily, no one was seriously injured, but it meant that Emma W2 could easily paddle back into the position that the Sidney women had just earned so well. The Sidney men experienced a less dramatic race, and a much more successful one at that. An aggressive meant Homerton M1 were under pressure from the start, and they didn’t last very long as M1 got them at First Post Corner.
The men were quick to bump on the third day as well. Similar conviction and focus paid off and First and Third (Trinity) Boat Club weren’t caught far past where Homerton had been caught the day before. A sharp corner by Captain of Boats and M1 cox, Paavan Sawjani, gave M1 an advantage into the Gut, where FaT were finally bumped. The women were unphased by their previous day’s crash and set out once again to beat Emma W2, in what had now become the big duel of the week. The fight was fierce, but W1 knew better than to show any sign of giving in, and after 5 kill moves they caught Emma for good. It’s not often that both our boats bump on the same day, so there was a lot of celebrating back at the boathouse.
On the last day, after finally having overcome Emmanuel, the women proved their speed and consistency by bumping Jesus W2. The bump was achieved on the Plough Reach, meaning the women could celebrate their third and final bump of the week in front of the crowd. Coincidentally, the men were also up against Jesus’s second boat on the final day. Jesus M2 were expected to put up some serious resistance. Nevertheless, by the time the boats were exiting Grassy Corner, Sidney had closed in on Jesus so much that Sidney could finish them on the Plough Reach. The bump occurred just as the boats passed the crowd at The Plough, and the deafening sound of cheering gave M1 the extra bit of energy needed to put a victorious end to their Lent Bumps campaign.
W1, having bumped thrice and being bumped once, climbed two positions, ending 6thposition in Division 2. With three bumps and one row-over, Sidney M1 climbed three positions in Division 2 of Lent Bumps, from 13thto 10th.
Sidney M1 is now looking forward to the Head of the River Race on the 30thMarch. Unfortunately, W1 have had to cancel their participation at WeHoRR because of safety issues with such strong winds expected for the race, but vacation training will go ahead regardless.
— Tor Svenungsson, Publicity and Sponsorship Officer