Head of the River Fours Saturday 8th November
The first Fuller’s Head of the River Fours (HOR4s) first took place in 1955, when 30 crews competed. This year, 2427 people in 548 crews will descend on the Thames for the 54th race, over the famous 4 ¼ mile championship course between Chiswick Bridge and Putney.
Spectators on the day will have plenty of quality crews to watch, as most members of the 2008 GB senior, under 23 and junior international squads (including a number of British and foreign Olympic rowers, recently back from competing in Beijing), will be racing for their home clubs. The race also provides an early opportunity to see the form of the 2009 Oxford and Cambridge boat race squads as they compete for the first time. Cambridge has five crews entered, whilst Oxford, racing as Isis, has six; both universities with a strong international flavour to their crews
With everything from Junior women’s quads to Elite men’s coxed fours on the water, the variety of events on offer ensures that, as well as attracting many international level rowers, the race also caters for hundreds of school, university and club level rowers from across the UK and Europe, with oarsmen and women travelling from Italy, France, Spain, Ireland, Germany and Sweden to take part.
Specific events for lightweights have been added for the first time this year, following the introduction of men’s and women’s Elite lightweight quads (on the day, lightweight men have to weigh no more than 75kg and lightweight women no more than 61.5kg).
Starting at 10:30am all crews taking part in the 22 separate events that make up the HOR4s will be set off in quick succession and be timed over the course.
The action will last a couple of hours; spectating along the whole course is free and there are plenty of good vantage points from which to watch. Stalls selling refreshments and rowing related goods will be available outside many of the local Tideway clubs, especially on Putney embankment and near Hammersmith Bridge.
The Tideway Scullers School in Chiswick are back to defend their 2007 win with a crew containing New Zealand Olympic Bronze medallist, Mahé Drysdale, GB Olympic sculler Alan Campbell and Slovenian Olympian Iztok Cop. They face strong opposition from crews from Leander, Reading, Carlow and RCN Vigo, which all contain international rowers.
Andy Triggs-Hodge who won gold in the coxless fours in Beijing, will be racing for Molesey boat club, defending his 2007 win in the Elite coxed four event.
More details about the history of the race and a full start order are available on the event website at www.hor4s.org.uk