Reading Head Race

On Saturday, 4th March, downstream from our normal stretch of Thames at Wallingford, OUWBC’s two provisional boat race crews raced at Reading University Head. This event takes place every year over a 4.6km course. 

Taking part in the afternoon division, OUWBC entered the provisional Blue Boat and Osiris line ups into the Women’s Elite 8+ category. Heading off 183rd and 186th respectively, the unfamiliar stretch of river threw both completely flat and blustery water at us, preparing us for potential conditions we may face on April 2nd. 

Following a rapid start, the provisional Blue Boat progressed quickly down the course with a strong rhythm. The twists and turns of the river provided many different conditions for us to respond to, especially through the middle kilometres of the race, providing some good practice for the tideway. Towards the end, an exciting racing opportunity with another eight presented itself, giving us some urgency in the last 500m. 

Osiris started off well, putting in place some of the changes that we have made in training sessions in the week leading up to the race. We found a good racing rhythm quickly off the start and carried this through the first 2km of the race. At around the halfway mark, as we came along the island, we got thrown for a few strokes by a large gust, but quickly came back onto rhythm to complete the race in a time that we were very pleased with. 

The final results saw the provisional Blue Boat finish the fastest women’s eight of the day while Osiris finished 3rd in the Women’s Elite 8+ category. The many changeable conditions on an unfamiliar stretch of river provided both boats with a challenging racing opportunity – we learnt a lot from it, which we will capitalise upon in the four remaining weeks before the Boat Races.