Town Bumps

Rob Roy participates in the annual Cambridge Town Bumps, which are normally held in the week after the National Championships, and are organised by the CRA.

What are the Bumps?

The following short explanation of what the Bumps are was adapted from the CUCBC website:

Side-by-side racing is not possible over a long distance on the narrow and winding River Cam, so the bumps format was introduced in the early 19th century as an exciting alternative. In bumping races, crews line up along the river above Baits Bite Lock, with one-and-a-half boat lengths of clear water between them. On the start signal (the firing of a cannon) they chase each other up the river.

When a “bump” occurs (when one crew is either hit by its chasing crew, or concedes by way of the cox raising their hand in the air due to the hit being almost inevitable), both crews pull over to allow the other crews to continue racing. If they have not been caught by the finish (which varies depending on which division you are rowing in) then the crew is said to have “rowed over” the course.

The next day all crews involved in a bump swap places and the race is run again. After the four days of racing, the aim of the top crews is to be at the “head of the river,” i.e. they lead the first division. Lower crews cannot expect to achieve this, but can win their “blades” by bumping up every day.

The starting order at the beginning of the week is determined by the finishing position at the end of the previous year’s racing.

Further details

More information about what Bumps racing is all about can be found either on Wikipedia or on the CUCBC website (although these both focus principally on University Bumps).

Rob Roy in the Town Bumps

The Club’s results in the CRA Town Bumps, as far as they are known, can be found here.