A Long Way From Home: BUCS Head 2017

ICBC returns from Newcastle wiser and racier, hungry for the Head of the River Races, with a champ gold and bronze only spurring them on.

The squad trundled up the M1 in good spirits. Harry Uglow even managed to go the full 6 hours without one complaint of Ollie’s smooth and thoughtful driving. Amid the devastation that Storm Doris provided for the days leading up the racing, the crews were greeted by a pleasant course upon arriving at NUBC. After a quick rig and paddle the squad headed to the hotel to try get rid of the Jet Lag.

We had four crews entered to the morning division; the Ch4x, Ch4-, Int4+ and the Int4x. There was a strict and organised boating schedule to follow with over 150 crews racing in the morning alone and thankfully our Championship quad of Ollie Hines, Harry Uglow, Toby Heaton and Tristan Vouilloz were hands on just 40 minutes after their boating time. Nevertheless the boys showed great commitment to getting on the water swiftly. So swiftly in fact that they had time for an extra warm-up loop around the boating area.  The boys sculled brilliantly to bring home the gold, fighting off strong competition from Edinburgh and Newcastle.

The Champ coxless four of Ed Bentley, Alex Ball, Jonathan Edwards and Jack Walsh certainly had issues of their own, with the four lacking heads and a chin as they rowed off towards the start. Hopes were pinned on the Ball, Edwards bucket to weave some silk down the course. Despite their stealthy camo hats the boys came 7th in the division, disappointed with the result but grateful to have had the time to see the sights in Ed's scenic tour of the River Tyne.

The Intermediate Coxed Four of Emily Boother, Jimmy Harrison, Ben Hambrook, Luke Whiting and Dugald Fraser got on with the job superbly. Finishing 4th in a very competitive category with over 40 entries, narrowly missing out on the medals by a few tenths of a second.

The Intermediate Quad felt right at home by the picturesque banks of the Tyne. Ali Tiba, Thomas Thomson, Harry Knights and Matthew McElroy rowed a solid race to finsih 8th. Some spectators claim to have seen Ali race without his track top on, but this is yet to be confirmed. Massive shout out to Harry K’s family for coming up to Newcastle to give their support. Ed Bentley was sad not to see the whole of the Knight clan present but put on a brave face to hide his disappointment.

Division 2 saw the two Men’s eights and the Women’s Intermediate quad take to the water. The Women’s eight scratched due to unforeseen personnel changes but the Women's quad seemed unperturbed as they held their nerve in the rough water to finish in a strong 8th place in another busy division. Their free hotel breakfast no doubt fuelled them well for what was a hard race in gusty conditions.

The Champ 8+ was the first crew down the track in the afternoon, aiming to retain the headship from last year’s race. The boys moved away from Newcastle, but with Edinburgh and UL hot on their heels, the boys had to settle for bronze for their efforts. The 2nd VIII followed soon after. Despite Jimmy's tomato coloured cheeks they crossed the line 17th in the Intermediate division. More speed to come from both crews as they approach the final run in to the HORR.

A final thanks must go to Newcastle University Boat Club for hosting us and the BUCS organisers for putting on a great days racing!

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