This year M1 have made the decision to target external races in the build up to bumps racing as part of a push to become a better crew. Quintin Head is raced on the tideway on the Boat Race course over the final 4.6km from Hammersmith Bridge to beyond Chiswick Bridge. Racing on the tideway was a huge challenge for both rowers and cox with the unenviable task of finding the best of the stream whilst navigating between boats.
For early January the weather was unexpectedly pleasant, with most crew members waiting by the river bank only in race kit, with a few brave souls not even requiring leggings. We caught the best of the weather, as the clouds came in just after we finished and the crews competing slightly later faced finishing in the cold with a slight drizzle.
We found a very strong rhythm as we started the race, and caught the crew ahead by the end of the long Hammersmith bend which so often decides the Boat Race. The overtaking manoeuvre was made all the trickier for cox Victoria Rees as we were also being overtaken by a Reading Uni crew at the same time. The Reading crew had clearly mis-judged their pacing, since although they caught and passed us in the first 1km, they could not get any further away over the middle section of the race.
As we reached Barnes Bridge well over 3km in, race distance and fatigue began to set in, technique became scrappier and we fell slightly away from Reading. With 400m we passed underneath Chiswick Bridge and spurred on by the chance to catch another crew on the line, technique improved, rate went up and so did boat speed. We sprinted across the line, rowing through a crew starting 4 places ahead within the final 100m.
The final results showed we finished 56th of 212 crews on the day, 8th of 24 IM3 crews and would have won the Novice category by 24s. This was an even greater achievement when you consider all the crew bar one are Novices under British Rowing rules. All the more importantly, we learned a lot about how the crew responds when tired and what needs to be worked on in the remaining month leading up to Torpids. Everyone returned even more eager to train hard and push for a strong result in 6th week.
We are exceptionally grateful for all the alumni who support us both with their encouragement and generous financial contribution. Entering external regattas is an expensive endeavour, but ultimately a highly rewarding one and come what may in Torpids and Summer Eights, a large part of the result will be thanks to experiences of races like Quintin Head. We would be very interested in hearing from anyone wishing to offer support in allowing the 1st boats to continue their progression as rowers by entering such races. We hope to continue our campaign in with further head races, and then press on to the summer regatta season in search of points and pots!
Cox – Victoria Rees
Stroke – Tom Middleton
7 – David Ormrod Morley
6 – Joost Bauke
5 – Ollie Watson
4 – Darius McArdle
3 – Giacomo Arrighini
2 – Noah Rivkin
Bow – Ben Bronselaer