With a cold snap hitting much of the country, Lent Bumps promises to be a frosty affair, much like the above scene

Lent Bumps 2018 begin on Tuesday 27th February, with both Lady Margaret and Jesus boat clubs looking to maintain their positions atop the leaderboard of the Men’s and Women’s Divisions respectively.

Lent Bumps is the traditional closing act of a term of rowing in the dark months of winter. 63 men’s and 57 women’s boats will take to the Cam, competing head to head over a roughly two-kilometre course from Baitsbite Lock to Chesterton Footbridge.

2018’s Lent Bumps will also see the boat clubs of Hughes Hall and Lucy Cavendish compete separately for the first time in the women’s Bumps for some time, having separated last term. Lucy Cavendish did, however, compete in Pembroke Regatta, admirably defeating Magdalene W1 before losing to eventual winners Newnham in the last eight.

In the women’s Bumps last year, it was Clare who stole the show at the sharp end of proceedings, claiming blades for four bumps in four days to leave them but 150 feet behind the stern of Jesus at the start of this year’s Lents. Clare look to be in a strong position having finished third in the W1 division of Newnham Short Course, and reached the semifinals of the knockout Pembroke Regatta with victories over Christ’s and St Catharine’s. Jesus did not enter a boat in the top women’s division in either competition.

Jesus Boat Club Women’s Captain, Alexandra Gutai, was optimistic ahead of the defence of Headship: “We are confident our crew has the training and experience to get us through successfully, and maintain our Headship.” This is despite the observation that “some of the crews around us seem to have made some speed gains this term.”

The W1 division of Newnham Short Course was won by Emmanuel W1, a crew which also reached the final of Pembroke Regatta, only to lose to Newnham W1. Both Newnham and Emmanuel finished last year’s Bumps lower in the top division that where they started, something neither crew will want to repeat. Results from the term so far suggest the winds may be blowing in Newnham and Emmanuel’s favour.

On the men’s side of things, it is Lady Margaret, the boat club which draws its red-blazered members from St John’s, that possesses Headship. A strong performance last year saw Maggie rise from fourth on the river to Headship where they are currently sitting ahead of Downing, Jesus, and Caius. Downing Boat Club have recently opened the Cambridge Rowing Tank, the largest indoor facility of its kind in Cambridge, and will be hoping that the time and money invested in the tank will propel their boats to the heights of Headship.

The form guide for the top division of the Men’s Bumps is as murky as the river on which the racing will take place. LMBC M1 emerged from the M1 division of Newnham Short Course victorious, however none of Downing, Jesus and Caius entered a boat. Downing M1 did, however, enter and win the Robinson Head, besting Clare and Emmanuel in the process, though in the process facing none of its main rivals in Bumps.

Caius and Downing have, however, faced off this term, in Pembroke Regatta’s semifinal. On that occasion, Caius triumphed over Downing by three-quarters of a length to progress to the final, whereupon they defeated Magdalene. Outside the top four crews, Pembroke may be the crew to pay attention to, having provided the best match for Maggie in the M1 division of Newnham Short Course, finishing only thirteen seconds behind the winners. Pembroke will begin Lents fifth on the river.


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Mountain View

New Cambridge Rowing Tank making waves

Away from the heads of the river, the boats of Girton College Boat Club will cast lonely figures, fielding only one crew in each of the men’s and the women’s Bumps. Further down the list of runners and riders, chaos will likely ensue.

Lent Bumps offers the first chance for Michaelmas’ Novices to race in the pinnacle of college rowing on the Cam. The first round of races in 2017 saw two over-bumps in the men’s competition and one in the women’s – the turnover of rowers in the lower boats combined with the bedding-in of new blood will again provide for some changeable, controversial, and perhaps dangerous rowing this week.

Queens’ College Boat Club will be best represented; four men’s crews and three women’s will contest Bumps for the college. Homerton M2 and Pembroke W3 will prop up the tables, though in the lower divisions carnage is usually the dish of the day. This February week, it will be served cold

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