Universities clash in Bristol's annual 'battle of the boats'

Issue date: 04 May 2005

Issue date: 04/05/05

Two of the country’s top university rowing clubs will take the water in Bristol on Saturday 7 May when the University of Bristol and University of the West of England (UWE) battle it out in the 11th annual Lloyd’s TSB Varsity Boat Race.

This year UWE will be defending the Varsity title for the second year in succession. Since the event began in 1995 the University of Bristol Boat Club (UBBC) has won eight of the 10 races, UWE winning for the first time in 2003.

In what is predicted to be another closely fought contest the boats will race over a 1300m course, through Bristol’s Floating Docks, passing the SS Great Britain and Ampitheatre to finish at the Lloyd’s TSB Building.

The day’s racing kicks off at 11am when the teams line up on the stake boats by the City of Bristol boat houses. Each subsequent race will then start half an hour later with crews warming up in this time. The racing will lead up to the two blue riband events, the women’s first eight, which UBBC has never lost, taking place at 12.30pm and the men’s first eight at 2.30pm.

Fred Smallbone, UWE’s head coach, ex GB rower, coach and Olympic silver medallist said, “Our men are on the best form in the club’s history. We’ve already taken an amazing top 40 place in the men’s head (of the river, London), beating 45 foreign crews. We have now firmly set our sites on the Varsity and looking forward to Henley in July.”

“The past year has seen a vast turnaround in the club,” commented Bristol’s Kiwi director of rowing, twice New Zealand National Championship winner, Henley winner and ex New Zealand international rower, Gordon Trevett. “There is an incredible depth in the squad with six crews winning medals at the BUSA [British University Sports Association] Head Race in March”

The traditional race challenge will be issued by UBBC’s president, Robbie McGow on the 2 May at the Picture and Piano on the Waterfront.

The race is best viewed from by the Lloyd’s TSB building on the finish line. Food and drink will be available from the tent by the north bank finish line. Programmes will be available.

For information on previous results, more detailed event timings or photography please contact: Arina Salhotra, Students’ Union Activities Officer, 0117 328 2915 student.activities@uwe.ac.uk


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