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VIIIs at Bedford

UCBC Women’s first VIII racing at Bedford Head Race

Sunday 12 February saw UCBC take our Men’s and Women’s first VIIIs up to Bedford for a day of racing – this was to be our last competition before Torpids kicks off in fifth week, and both crews were excited to make a statement.

Despite the early start (and some Milton-Keynes-roundabout induced car sickness), everyone was in high spirits and raring to go as we arrived, racing first in Div II at 1030. A “short and sharp” course, to quote our head coach Jono, both crews set off hard, although the men rapidly discovered it was not quite as short as promised; the final 500m or so are best characterised as hanging on for dear life. Despite that, both VIIs moved really nicely, and clocked impressive times; the women clocked exactly 6minutes, just three seconds behind the top crew in their category, and the men put in a 5:05, beating current headship crew Oriel college.

UCBC Men’s first VIII racing at Bedford Head Race

After a short debrief and a break for lunch, both crews had a second crack at the course in the afternoon, with the goal of making changes from the first race and ideally going a bit faster. Alas, the weather had other ideas, cruelly causing conditions to take a turn for the worse. Despite this, the women matched their time exactly, putting in another 6-minute effort, and the men only lost one second between their efforts, a strong performance for both.

Overall, it was a highly positive day of racing, with both crews making positive changes between races, and some very positive results – the men were the fastest Oxford college there and, perhaps more importantly, only lost to one j16 crew (ie, boat of 16-year-olds)! Similarly, the women put in a huge performance, and gained valuable race experience ahead of this term’s bumps campaign.

Our focus now turns to Torpids – a lot was learnt at Bedford, and we’re excited to carry this momentum forwards (ideally, into the crews in front of us).
Lloyd Arnold (2020, Computer Science and Philosophy), UCBC Men’s Captain

Published: 22 February 2023

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