Big Boat Race win for Oxford
Oxford University has won the 160th BNY Mellon Boat Race after beating Cambridge University by 11 lengths in London, Great Britain. This was the biggest winning margin for more than 40 years.
A tight race for the first 1700m of the 6.8km race saw the lead change hands three times before a minor clash caused the Cambridge two-seat, Luke Juckett, to lose his blade and almost get thrown overboard.
As Juckett fought to regain his seat Oxford cruised into the lead, and the race was all but over over as Cambridge were never able to get back on terms.
An appeal by the Cambridge coxswain, Ian Middleton was dismissed by the umpire, Richard Phelps, who said that the clash had occurred in neutral water and that he had warned Cambridge immediately before the contact.
Oxford’s win brings their total to 78 in the series, in which Cambridge have 81 wins, with one dead heat in 1877.
Oxford had started as pre-race favourites under the presidency of Malcolm Howard, the Canadian athlete who won gold at Beijing 2008 and silver at London 2012.
At stroke was Constantine Louloudis, winner of two previous Boat Races as well an Olympic bronze medal after stroking the British men’s eight to third place two years ago.
Other international athletes in the Oxford boat included Storm Uru, the 2009 world champion in lightweight double sculls from New Zealand, and Karl Hudspith of Great Britain, last year’s winning President and a bronze medallist at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
Trial fixtures against top British clubs such as Leander and Molesey had resulted in decisive wins for the Oxford crew, while Cambridge, who also beat Leander, lacked Oxford’s powerful dominance.
Despite disappointment that the early clash had defined the result members of the Oxford crew never had any doubts about the eventual outcome.
“We were going to be in control of that race, one way or another” said Louloudis, who planned to join the British men’s training camp in Portugal within 48 hours of his victory.
Umpire Richard Phelps, himself a former British international athlete, summed up the clash.
“The contact was slight, but the impact was great” he said.