Explore League West Midlands Take Two


A day that started out as a damp and cool one, rapidly turned into a lovely, sunny one once racing got underway in the second series of the West Midlands Explore League, hosted by Bewdley Rowing Club. With crews from Upton, Stourport, Hereford, Ross and hosts Bewdley all racing five times over a short course of 350metres, the racing was close and exciting for the gathered crowds watching on both sides of the bank of the River Severn. 

Ross ‘N’ Roll women’s crew finished top of the results table with four wins, with Hereford’s All Stars, Ross Rockets and Upton’s Zaphod Beeblebrox crews all in second place with three wins each. Upton’s crew were allocated a special prize for the most inventive name of the day when they named their crew Zaphod Beeblebrox after their allocated racing number 42 (which apparently is The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything from Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy!)  –  and a nod to their supposed average crew age! The name also proved a headache for the announcer,  British Rowing’s Midlands Area Manager Jo Atkinson who had organised the day! 

Quote from Mat Jackson, Crew Zaphod Beeblebrox (Upton) “I saw the Oxford & Cambridge Race on the TV and as I already knew there was a club at Upton, I went down to try a Learn to Row Course, there was no pressure to be a serious competitor at the end of the course, but I still wanted to try some competition to see what it was all about and this event is just what I was looking for, a sociable event where it is still fun to take part – I will definitely be coming to the event at Stourport and Upton  – well done for organising it “

With the next leg of the League taking part at Stourport on 15th August at 13.00, there are already more crews lining up to see if they can take on the very strong Hereford and Ross crews. 

Report by: Jo Atkinson, Area Manager Midlands / Explore Programme Manager

About Explore Rowing
The Explore Rowing programme is our flagship project to increase participation at grassroots level. British Rowing have part funded stable boat packages in 51 clubs and watersports centres. The venues then run learn to row courses following a structured programme. This initiative has led to an increase in membership for the clubs/venues involved.
The Explore leagues, as part of the Explore Rowing programme are starting up and growing in many regions – the format can be short distance side by side races, skills events or short head races. The emphasis is on fun (and safety) with the host club providing stable boat equipment. Teams are made up of up to six people – with any four to race, allowing for holidays or weekends away without worrying about your ‘crew’ are not able to take part. The social element to the day is very important, a BBQ or cup of tea and cake alongside rowing is a great way to enjoy your time down at the water.