mcshane's bumpsIt occurs to me that since I started rowing I've done quite a few bumps races. So here's the definitive list, with what I can remember about each race. If I've made any mistakes then please mail me - the memory isn't what it used to be.
Lent Bumps 1995 - Kings I, rowed at 3 - up 3
- This crew was Julie Hogg, Ian Pratt, Rob Lachlan, Adrian Helen, Duncan Movassaghi, Mike Beecroft, me, Mark Galle, Paul Wood. Middle four were from the novice IV from the previous term, the others were all more experienced. The crew had a race mentality attitude; none of this long steady state training. Get the rate up, keep it up, and go for broke. First day we were chasing 1st & 3rd Trinity II - coxed by Brad Parr (later a multiple blues cox). A famous picture of us going into First Post Corner reveals how quickly we hit them off the start.
- Second day - chasing Caius II, who were themselves chasing Corpus I. Going around First Post we had the call for overlap, and in the bows Paul thought he heard contact - however Caius II were right on Corpus, who acknowledged the bump. We weren't sure what had happened, but limped over the rest of the course. The junior umpire, from Jesus, later admitted that he hadn't been watching the stern of Caius at all, so hadn't had a chance to look for our bump. We met that evening as a crew in the Bath Ale House and had a pint each to comiserate.
- Chasing Corpus it was all too easy really, and hit them before the Plough.
- Going after Jesus II again wasn't too tricky and again hit them in the first half of the course. If we'd been given the bumps on the second day it would have been blades, but that's bumps for you.
May Bumps 1995 - Kings I, rowed at 7 - level
- Julie Hogg, Ian Pratt, me, Mark Galle, Jon Parkin, Adrian Helen, Duncan Movassaghi, Mike Dell, Paul Wook. An unfortunate term which saw us lose Rob Lachlan due to injury, replaced by the legand himself, Jon Parkin. First day was not particualy memorable, but saw us row over as bumps happened around us.
- Second day was a little more memorable, mainly for the pain involved. Chasing Jesus II, we had closed to around half a length by Ditton corner (about 1km into the race). They held us there for ages, and Julie had a competition to see how many power ten's we could fit in the reach. By the white house we were really starting to fall apart with exhaustion. However, I remember vividly both myself and Ian at stern pair obviously having the same thought at the same time - just pull it together one last time. We managed to pick it up, and hit them just before the Railway Bridge.
- Third day saw bumps in front and behind, so a row over in isolation.
- Forth day - chasing Selwyn I; a chance not to be the lowest 1st eight in our boathouse (us, Selwyn & Churchill) - plus Jon was moving to Selwyn that summer, so would really like to hit them now! Being chased by Girton I, on for blades. Up to first post was good, moving up on Selwyn, holding Girton away. In the gut we hit some wash or wind or something, and it starts to go a bit pear shaped. In dropping the rate to regain control we start to loose too much boatspeed. Girton get back on distance on us, and sense victory. We see them coming, and don't have enough to hold them off - bumped right outside the plough. My sister had come up to see the races, and not knowing what was going on was cheering like anything. Not what you want on the last day of the mays...
Town Bumps 1995 - 99's V, rowed at stroke - down 3
- This saw myself and Jon Parkin at stern pair and some random bird from Trinity in the coxes seat, with a load of inexperienced juniors in bow six. The week before we'd had a different cox, but done loads of practice starts. First day we were pushed out quite early, but didn't seem to be getting a count down to the gun from our bank party. So we're sitting around at backstops when the gun goes! Turns out the bank party had mucked up the timing, and not had the balls to admit it... However, in two strokes we're all together, and moving well away from the crew behind, who get hit fairly early on. All going fine until grassy corner - we're just not going round! End up piling into the bank on the exit. By the time we've pushed ourselves off the crew behind has caught up loads and is cruising for us. We never really get started again, and get over bumped. Not a good start...
- The next we know we're on for an easy bump, but in my haste as stroke I don't let the crew settle off the start. We managed to get round Grassy corner, just and we got them in the end - roughly at Ditton corner, I think - but it was harder work than it needed to be.
- A row over this day.
- All goes a bit pear shaped again, as we get hit. About 4 years later myself and a friend from Trinity realise that it was her that was coxing that crew!
Lent Bumps 1996 - Kings I, rowed at 2 - up 2
- A good crew this; Nat Blundell, Matt Hammer, Mike Dell, Mark Galle, Adrian Helen, Roger Westerbeek, Pete Tregear, me & Ian Pratt. The fastest crew I'd been in to this point in time, I think. However, on the first day we don't have the top speed necessary to make an impression. A solid row over, but nothing special.
- Chasing Caius II, and a chance for revenge from the previous year for denying our blades. Steadily close over the first half of the course. We race down the reach with about half a length between us and Caius - however from the Railway bridge they start to pull away. Very painfull, and we have to do it all over again the next day...
- Almost exactly the same as the day before - the long reach at half a length. However, not wanting to do this three times, we discover a bit of raw aggression and finally make contact about 20 strokes after the railway bridge. I can still remember the picture going under the bridge and just knowing that, however badly I hurt, we had to take it up.
- Having discovered what it took to bump a crew, we went off the start like we wanted it. Result? LMBC II went down on first post corner. Now that was a bit more like it.
May Bumps 1996 - Kings I, rowed at 2 - down 2
- A good start to the term fell apart with Roger being declared illegal, and one other dropping out. With 6 keen rowers, the best we could do for the bumps was about a weeks training with the other two, who cheerfully admitted that they were pretty unfit. A term full of subs... The race crew was Nat Blundell, Matt Hammer, Mark Galle, Ed King, Mike Dell, Peter Tregear, Adrian Helen, me, Ian Pratt. The first day started okay, but started to fall apart, with Jesus II coming up to a canvas off us by Ditton. We managed to hold them off, despite overlap being called at the Pike and Eel. A long race.
- Pretty much the same as the day before, but by Ditton we didn't have enough fight in us for the second half of the race, and fell soon after the corner.
- A good start saw us gain on Jesus II, but by Ditton they had pulled away and Queens' II were a length off. By the railway bridge Queens' had closed the gap to a few feet, but died at Morley Holt. We pulled away to get back on distance with Jesus again.
- A re-run of day II saw Queens' close over the first half and nail it just after Ditton Corner. I was told a few months after by a friend who was in that Queens crew that they had actually asked people from the Jesus crew how they had done it. The advice was - take half a length off each corner, and hit them out of Ditton.
Town Bumps 1996 - 99's III, rowed at stroke - down 1
- For this set I asked Jon Anderson, who was the cox of the crew. Since he's done less bumps races than me, he had a much better memory!
- Alex Craig was in there, who was Captain of Christs then or later
on. Nigel something-or-other the Australian guy at Trinity was in there
too, who often popped into Nines boats to row.
We had another guy from Trinity in there too, although I forget his
name. [I think this may have been James Leake]
Cantabs I were behind, stuffed full of students.
City II were ahead.
First day we were chased down and got away by a small margin, second day
the margin grew smaller and someone from the boat shouted 'Never' at
Cantabs who were all going 'We're gonna get you'.
Third day was the frightening one - I turned round to see Cantabs' bow
slew literally one or two inches off our stern. It was overlapping, moved
in towards ours but the rudder must have been applied behind because it
fell back as well.
Meanwhile we were 2 feet off City II in front who had a really cocky twat
coxing them who thought it was dead funny we didn't bump them. You have to
love good sportsmanship.
Friday, of course, we got caught just after Ditton corner where they
finally gained on us. My steering, looking back, was terrible, and they
got us although even with good steering they'd still have got us but later
- The things we should all have forgotten about, but for some reason I didn't: A Cantabs junior shouting at us from the bank "Thanks for letting us Bump you Nines" to which Nige shouted "Fuck off you little shit" and I let rip with some really vicious abuse about how our 5th boat had bumped their 2nd boat and our 6th boat had bumped their 3rd boat. And in doing so we nearly ploughed into a Robs crew. Hey ho. Cantabs were all saying loudly 'Never?' as they rowed back (behind us) to the boathouses. They were quite friendly afterwards but smug as hell. Also you managed to keep a straight face despite my ferocious wind problem. (Sorry but I just found that funny :-) Oh, and we borrowed someone's NK box with the water speedometer before the bumps and everyone took the piss out of me for exclaiming "Oooh, 5.5 metres a second - that's fast!"
Lent Bumps 1997 - Kings I, rowed at stroke - level
- With three experienced oarsmen in the crew and myself as Captain, it was an interest term, especially when the Cam was frozen for the first couple of weeks, leaving only 4 weeks of training before the bumps. The crew was Julie Hogg, me, John Thompson, Matt Hammer, Jack Wasey, Matt Brady, Ben Beaumont, Mungo Stacy, Colin Rickman. The day before we'd all bleched our hair, stroke side white and bow side purple. The first day was chasing Downing II, and going into plough reach we were gaining all the time. However, Mungo then caught a crab, sending us into the jaws of LMBC II. The picture of the crab made into the back page of the local newspaper...
- After gaining about three quarters of a length off the start on LMBC, they hit Downing II to leave us an easy row over.
- A steady row down on Downing II saw us up to a length by first post, a canvas by Ditton, and contact finally made just after the railings.
- A re-run of day 2 saw us gain on LMBC II, only for them to bump out - this time to Clare I.
May Bumps 1997 - Kings I, rowed at 2 - up 1
- The crew this term was Fiona Mcfarlane, Matt Hammer, Jack Wasey, Mark Galle, Ben Beaumont, Mikko Vaananen, John Thompson, me, Colin Rickman. The first day saw Trinity II gaining on us, as we gained on Queens' II, as they gained on Jesus II. By the plough it was all over for Jesus, but both boats stopped on the inside of the corner. We had to go very wide, with Trinity a few feet behind. We got though, and got to half a length of overbumping Corpus, with Trinity several lengths behind. However, after the finish we were told that Trinity had been given the bump for contact on Ditton corner. Very disappointing, and we were not happing with the marshalls on the bank not actually telling anyone at the time!
- Bumps either side left us an easy row over.
- Time to get some revenge on Jesus II; a steady row never looked in doubt as to the outcome, and saw us make contact coming out of Grassy corner.
- Now chasing Corpus I, we had been offered 500 pounds from an Alumni to bump that day, and 1000 if we bumped before the plough which was where he was watching from. The crew had a perfect race and had no problem in hitting Corpus by grassy corner - the easiest 1000 pounds the club has made!
Town Bumps 1997 - 99's IV, rowed at 2
- Rowing at 2 in this overwise veteran crew was an interesting experience, but not one that I can really remember much about.
Town Bumps 1998 - Rob Roy III, rowed at 2 - up 1
- Rowed over on the first day with crews bumping out in front, and keeping away from 99's III behind.
- Chasing City first crew, we couldn't make contact so rowed over. I have a vague memory that we got quite close to them though.
- Bumped City, probably somewhere in the long reach.
- Rowed over again. We should have been chasing, and bumping, Free Press I on the last day, after they were bumped by 99's II on the first day, and so would have reached us. However, on the second day 99's II made a mess of things and crashed, and had to bump them back on the third day.
Lent Bumps 1999 - Kings I, rowed at stroke - up 3
- After a bad start to the term, with 3 rowers dropping out, leading to a return of Matt & Phil, we finally get to the bumps with no race experience, one person in the crew who had rowed a total of 14 outings ever, and a cox who had coxed a total of 9 outings ever. The crew was Sophie Pickford, Tim Granger, Mungo Stacy, Dave Goddard, John Thompson, Paddy Ashcroft, Raman Nanda, Matt Brady, Phil Rudland. Chasing St Catharine's I and being chased by Downing II on the first day. Downing never had a chance to get close as they got hit by Caius II in the gut, and St Catharine's finally hitting 1st & 3rd Trinity II in the long reach. We rowed over, grateful for the race experience as much as anything else!
- The crunch day - it was either down or up. We knew Caius II to be very confident - they had definately go up on us over the first day. The day of the race I remember very clearly. We got off to a good start, and for the first minute Caius II didn't gain any distance! Before long we heard 'three quarters of a length' call from Roger over the megaphone loud a clear. Hardly believing what was going on, we raced through the gut and started into Grassy corner. 'six feet, 5 feet and closing, three feet' was the call. Caius were beginning to get going and gain distance, but it was all over bar the shouting, with the bump just on the exit of grassy corner.
- Now we had Sidney Sussex in our sights, and essentially the same race unfolded. We were down to six feet by grassy corner, but Sidney proved a little more illusive than Trinity. They held us at six feet for the whole of plough reach, but they took a slightly wide line round ditton. With superb cornering ability, and a well timed push around the corner, contact was made on the exit of Ditton.
- LMBC II were next on our list, having falled 5 places in the first three days. We had our best race of the week, and steadily took water off them each stroke to reach six feet by the entrance to first post, and contact coming out of the corner.
May Bumps 1999 - Kings I, rowed at stroke - up 1
- Apart from one enforced change, this was a more experienced crew than the term before being Sophie Pickford, Tim Granger, John Thompson, Mungo Stacy, Ben Beaumont, Mikko Vaananen, Jack Wasy, Paddy Ashcroft, Phil Rudland. The first day set the stage for the week, with Girton I rowing over in front of us, steadily taking ground. Behind Trinity Hall II fell to Churchill II, and we rowed over.
- Girton again rowed over, and Churchill II stayed with us for a while before falling back around the plough. Another row over.
- Girton managed to bump Queens' II, while Churchill II fell to Emmanuel II. Another row over.
- Queens' II on for spoons in front, Emmanuel II on for blades behind us. An interesting day! Unfortunelty we put in our worst performance of the week. By first post we were only just inside distance on Queens', but Emma were on around three quarters of a length. Finally Queens' started to die in the gut, and half way around grassy corner, with Emma II three feet away from out stern the call for overlap went up. Contact was made coming out of the corner, just in the nick of time.
Town Bumps 1999 - Rob Roy II, rowed at 2 - level
- My normal preparation for the town bumps was going full swing - I was in the third eight, and we even managed to get a practice outing in before the first race. Almost akin to cheating in the town bumps! However, the day before the first race I got a call at work asking whether I'd be okay with rowing with the second eight. Given that the rest of the crew contained several ex-international and ex-blues rowers I was more than happy to agree! We had a couple of crew changes, but mainly the crew line up was George Gilbert, Paul Steen, Dunstan Bertschinger, Pete Bance, John Adams, Ian Wright, me & Matt Carr. Essentially each day was exactly the same. I'd completely shit myself and just try and not spanner completely at the insane boat speed and ratings that we were doing - there was quite a bit of power going down in that boat. Each day we were chasing 99's I, who were chasing our first crew, and each day we managed to maintain distance on them for a bit longer, but they typically started to pull away between grassy and the railings. We were chased by 99's II on the first day, and Cantabs I on the last two days, but they failed to make any impression. Quite an awesome experience.
Lent Bumps 2000 - Kings I, rowed at stroke - down 3
- The crew for this set was Kate Alexander, me, Mungo Stacy, Jack Wasey, Ben Beaumont, Dave Goddard, Jez Shaw, Paddy Ashcroft, Steve Grantham. We were going faster than the previous year. With a fast Girton I and a slow LMBC II behind the first day wasn't that stressful; unable to make any impression on Girton and clear from behind after Caius II hit LMBC behind we rowed over.
- This was going to be really hard, but we were determined to give it everything. Despite an awful start, we settled down to the task in hand. A horrendous head wind in the gut made life very hard, but we made it clear into plough reach. By this time the gap behind was down to half a length, but we were holding them off. However, going round Ditton into the wind they found enough to close the gap.
- A slightly better start helped us move out to 2 lengths clear of Sidney I behind, but things started to slip at grassy. By the plough we were back to a length in front, and closing. Not having the base fitness to survive the full course we went down at around the railings.
- With the crew feeling the effects of the gargantuan efforts from the previous two days, the last day wasn't going to be pretty. We went up on Sidney off the start, but by grassy we'd lost that ground, and Downing II were up to half a length. Ditton corner came and went, but Downing ground in and we surrendered in the long reach once more. Overall the crew wasn't that slow, just lacking the basic fitness to row the full course.
May Bumps 2000 - Kings I, rowed at stroke - down 2
- Kate Alexander, me, Ben Beaumont, Dave Goddard, Jack Wasey, Mikko Vaananen, Mark Kinnear, Paddy Ashcroft, Steve Grantham. Another hard term in store for Kings. The first day saw us chasing Girton I again, and again unable to make any real impression, with them drawing away during the second half of the race. Behind saw Queens' II drop to Emma II.
- With Girton ahead once more, it was all about us and Emma II. They gained almost to overlap by grassy corner, but careful steering and a well timed push saw them miss our stern around the corner. All though plough reach they got back up to overlap, and this time didn't make the same mistake when going into ditton corner.
- Now being chased by Jesus II we had to dig in. This time the distance at Grassy was around half a length, but we managed to match them push for push down plough reach and got to the corner with enough room to swing the stern around and make it into the long reach. Once on the straight things became a bit simpler, and we moved away steadily, apart from a slight fishing expedition by our bow man. It was a superb row, mainly for the mental dedication to the cause by the whole crew.
- Overall a black day for the crew. With Caius II on for spoons in front, we forgot the main mission for the day - not getting hit by Jesus. Getting a little too causal about rowing with a crew close behind, we let Jesus come up too close on first post reach, they smelt blood and went for it, bumping on the corner. In all my races for Kings up to this point it was the earliest by far that I've ever been hit, and something that I haven't yet quite forgiven myself.
Town Bumps 2000 - Rob Roy IV, rowed at 4 & stroke - up 4
- After the strain of college rowing, to jump into a Robs fourth boat, mainly composed of lightweight rowers was a relief. The crew changed each day, and in light of the results I'll list each one. For the first day we had Zoe Arnautov, Chris Morgan, Andy Hodgeson, Justin Buckland, Jim Thorley, me, Thomas Klocker, Magnus Butlin and Steve Maratos. With the crew meeting each other for the first time about three minutes before we had to push off from the boathouse, it came together remarkably well. Even though bumps tends to be fairly random, especially town bumps, we thought the first day should be okay, chasing a slightly dodgy looking Maximum Entropy I. It turned out to be thus, and contact was made within the first minute or so of the race.
- With Richard Mee stepping into the two seat, and Magnus moving from there to the big six seat we were ready for the real though one. 99's III were chasing quite a dodgy City II crew so we knew we had to be really quick off the mark to get the bump. Another awesome performance saw us quickly take water off 99's III - well actually, they had pushed out with their bows into the bank, so had stopped rowing after about 2 strokes. Well a bump is a bump really. Total rowing time for two races - around 1 1/2 mins.
- City II had rowed over behind Cantabs II the day before, so we knew we had the course to catch them, baring accidents of course. The crew we assembled for this race involved swapping myself and Chris, replacing Thomas with John (random bloke from SA who wanted a row) and replacing Richard with a rare eights appearance from Bruno Laurent. Although we weren't quite a smooth as the day before (a slight understatement) we made quick work of catching City II, hitting them in around 2 minutes. Total rowing time - 3 1/2 mins.
- This day promised to be a toughy, so we though what better to change the crew once more. We saw Alice Johnson-Marshall step in for Zoe, Thomas come back to the crew in the six seat, moving Magnus down to the four seat. Special guest start Martin Harris came down from London for the evening and sat at 5, moving Jim down to the three seat. This was definately the best crew of the week, and very enjoyable to stroke. We were really up for a good hard race, after having got three easy bumps - we wanted to work for our blades! So an awesome start and wind off the gun - and almost instantly after we started to settle, Cantab II obviously saw the error of their ways and crabbed out! I'll be generous and give them a minute, so making a total time rowed of 4 1/2 mins, and not once to first post corner, starting from 13th in the first division and finishing 9th, one place behind our 3rd eight. Above our fourth eight there are only 2 second eights, ours and 99's. Roll on world domination.
This presentation blade for the blade winning 4th VIII was prepared and painted by me.
Lent Bumps 2001 - Kings I, rowed at 7 - down 1
- For reasons that appeared clear at the time, we decided to bow rig the empacher once more (first time since 1995), move me back to 7, and get Paddy to stroke the boat - the first time he'd ever rowed on bowside. The crew was Kate Alexander, Paddy Ashcroft, me, Steve Grantham, Dave Goddard, Rob Ennals, Luke Morris, Tom Lambert and James Pauley. Once again we approached the Lents with a distinct lack of race experience, especially in bow four who all noviced the previous term. Throughout Michaelmas and Lent term rowing was dogged by flooding, giving even less time on the water. Anyhow... We were chasing Downing II, and had LMBC II behind. A slightly unsettled start led to a reasonable row around the corners, maintaining distance on both crews in front and behind. Despite being largely unthreatened from behind, and Downing 2 lengths ahead in front, we didn't have a disaplined row over the second half and made it harder work than need be. Final result was a row over.
- LMBC seemed to take the start a little faster than the day before, as did we; however by Ditton they had closed right down and were putting us under a lot of pressure. The inexperience started to tell big time; every time they got to overlap, we'd push - get to half a length off, when the work would come off, a couple of dodgy strokes later, and we'd be back to overlap. All hard work for not much return, and we finally gave in the fight after about 1km of this, only about 30 strokes from the finishing post. A little dissapointing, as was the decision to cancel the last two days of racing due to foot and mouth restrictions on the tow path.
Town Bumps 2001 - Rob Roy IV, rowed at 7 - up 2
- Having risen to 9th on the river, and now chasing our 3rd eight, it looked tricky to improve. The crew was similar to the previous year; Andy Hodgson at stroke, myself at 7, 6 was our guest (whose name I can't remember now), Bruno at 5, Steph at 4, Justin at 3, Alex Koller at 2 and Chris Wallwark at bow. Our cox was the infamous Belita from Catz. Tuesday was not too much fun; we closed on the third eight only for them to pull away over the second half of the course.
- A near repeat of the day before; the only difference was that the 3rd eight bumps out fairly quickly, hitting the fairly slow Cambridge Blue first eight. Something to chase on thursday...
- As predicted we closed fairly quickly on Cambridge Blue and hit them coming out of first post corner - almost the same place as they went down the previous day.
- Since the 3rd eight had caught 99's 2nd boat the day before after a fairly long race, we thought we had a chance, even though the 3rd eight probably were faster over the course. It was a pretty memorable race; we settled at about 37 for the first 1km, with Belita calling lots of individual pushes. Then she started on colleges; we had three people from Downing (Alex Aiken subbed in at 6, together with stroke and three) - who were called for a push coming outside the plough. By this stage we had closed a bit, but not too much. Coming out of Ditton corner we went for it, jacking the rate up to 40, with more pushes being called. Quite an awesome row; between us most people had been training hard all year. The distance started to come down with 99s 2 steering on the far side of the river to avoid us. Finally we got the bump around the white house. So up two to 7th on the river; in the top 7 boats Robs has 4 boats, together with 99s, City, and Cantabs first eights.
Town Bumps 2002 - Rob Roy IV, rowed at 4 - level
- For the first time in my Robs bumps history we had the same crew for each day this year. It was Holly as cox, Alex Aiken at stroke, then Jim Thorley, Magnus Butlin, Justin Buckland, myself, Alan Cucknell, and then Steph at bow. Chasing our 3rd eight again, and with 99s 2 behind us, it was a tricky position. The first day saw us gain on the 3rd eight as they had a dodgy push off, but with 99s gaining on us over the second half of the course. They got probably to 3/4 length, but we managed to raise the game enough to stay away.
- The remaining three days saw similar patterns, with 99s coming within distance each day but by the end of the week we were finishing several lengths clear. We never got closer than a length away from the 3rd eight, even though our bank party signalled half a length - he'd gone over a bump on his bike which had made the horn sound twice rather than once... Overall a fairly decent week - sorry to have not made more of an impression ahead, but pleased to see that we were probably faster than they were - an improvement on previous years.