"We can safely relax in the knowledge that Bumps still are as chaotic and unpredictable as they always were"Timur Rakhimov for Varsity

After a three-year hiatus, May Bumps finally returned in 2022. Alongside the usual chaos and overzealous college pride, this year’s Bumps inspired a new beginning for the Mays, with many colleges' crews now looking completely different from before, essentially making it anybody’s game. 

With new students (and student Olympians) on the scene, the 2019-based starting order within each division didn’t hold crews back from moving upwards (or downwards) as many as nine places across the four-day races. After the finale of Bumps last night (19/06), Varsity recaps on the highs and lows of the May Bumps 2022. 

Day 1 - Wednesday 15th June 2022

Both the Women’s and Men’s lower divisions saw some of the biggest changes on the first day, with Churchill W2 and St Edmund’s M2 wiping out their divisions with double overbumps, bringing them up five places in one clean sweep (and Trinity Hall W3 and Darwin M2 unfortunately down 5 places). 

Within the higher divisions, Peterhouse (containing numerous Olympians in their M1 crew this year) was predicted to dominate the Men’s first division. However, Peterhouse failed to bump on the first day, while Pembroke ahead of them successfully bumped Emma in a tight race before Emma had the chance to bump Downing towards the end of the course. Newnham W1 rowed-over with skilful ease to remain in the headship position of the Women’s first division. Fitz W1, who gave a spoon-worthy performance in the Lent Bumps this year, successfully bumped Clare W1 towards the finish line. 

Less fortunate incidents occurred for Caius W3 who crashed and mounted the bank after bumping Clare W3, and Churchill M3 who managed to break the handle off one of their blades during the start of their race.

Day 2 - Thursday 16th June 2022

Another blistering day under the sun may have added to the chaos of the lower divisions, which again saw large changes across the day. Fitz M3 successfully bumped Clare M4 in an overbump after an unfortunately timed crab from Clare, while Magdalene M3 and Peterhouse W2 continued their successful Bumps campaigns bumping up from the fifth into the fourth division. Meanwhile, Lady Margaret (Maggie) M4 misjudged the ditton corner and rowed into a tree, allowing Maggie M5 to awkwardly bump their own boat club. 

Peterhouse M1Qing Lu

The higher divisions saw some speedy bumps from Peterhouse M1 on Emma M1, Pembroke M1 on Downing M1, Caius W1 on Jesus W1, and Trinity Hall W1 on Queens’ W1 before Grassy Corner, while Jesus M1 managed to snag a bump of First and Third M1 towards the end of the race by the Railway Bridge. There were two ambitious attempts to overbump towards the end of the races by Selwyn M1 on Christ’s M1 and Catz W1 on Girton W1, but these were unsuccessful. 

Day 3 - Friday 17th June 2022

Day 3 began with weather warnings from CUCBC as the temperatures soared in excess of 30 degrees celsius. As one of the hottest days of the year, this was certainly the wrong choice of day to row-over; the motto of the day really was "bump or be bumped". Following this, some highlights of the day included an excruciating bump of Clare M1 by Kings M1 in the last few moments of the Men’s first division race, after Clare M1 narrowly missed out on a bump of Emma M1 and failed to keep up the high pace they set at the start of the race. A huge double over-bump from Girton M2 on Wolfson M2 pushed Girton towards the top of the fourth Men’s division, while Wolfson found themselves sitting nine positions lower than they began just two days ago after losing to an over-bump on Day 1 and a bump from King’s M2 on Day 2. 

Clare W1 Qing Lu

In the Women’s divisions, Clare W1 managed to row over through the heat as the crews around them all bumped, mirroring their W4 boat earlier in the day. The lower divisions saw a bump on Caius W4 by Emma W4 after a poorly timed crab, which allowed Emma to close the gap and continue their steady rise through the ranks, while a bump from Pembroke W1 on Jesus W1 in the higher division put Pembroke into Blades (and Jesus into Spoons) territory ready for the next, final, day of racing. 

Day 4 - Saturday 18th June 2022

Magdalene M4 still smiling despite earning SpoonsJames Hardy

The final day of racing was the last chance for crews to save themselves from Spoons, or win that final bump to push themselves into a good position for the starting order of next year’s 2023 May Bumps. Within the lower divisions, a few failures to clear led to technical row-overs for Clare M4 and Fitz M3, while in the higher divisions a failure to hold-up after a bump caused a minor crash against the bank on Ditton corner during the Men’s first division race. Overall, Newnham W1 and Caius M1 comfortably maintained headship position for the entirety of their respective Bumps campaigns, despite Caius M1 failing to bump into headship position against Maggie M1 during Lent Bumps when the positions were reversed. 


Mountain View

Cambridge’s top five sporting moments this year

At the end of Bumps, 6 Men’s and 4 Women’s crews faced Spoons while 8 Men’s and 9 Women’s crews were awarded Blades at the end of their Bumps campaigns. These numbers weren't all too different to those in 2019, perhaps illustrating that this year’s Bumps weren’t quite as different as they may have first appeared. Despite this, the occurrence and sheer quantity of double over-bumps this year is a phenomenon unheard of in recent years, although nothing quite managed to top the historic quadruple over-bump of Magdalene M4 up 10 places in one day seen in the 2018 May Bumps.

We can safely relax in the knowledge that Bumps still are as chaotic and unpredictable as they always were, and will continue to be next year in the 2023 May Bumps.