Head of the Trent 2016 – Review

This year’s Head of the Trent wasn’t, in the junior categories, necessarily a race of the highest standard and featuring those who will be front runners come School’s Head, and beyond that, the Summer races. Some clubs had some very strong results – Bedford Modern School was particularly impressive, taking the WJ18 8+ strongly as well as, contrary to expectation, the J18 4X, by a sizeable margin. Given the nature of the course and the sheer length of the race, it can certainly be seen as great practice for School’s Head, and each of the crews who competed at the Head have gained some valuable experience in the buildup to the main race in two week’s time.

The truly noteworthy result was that of Eton College‘s 1st VIII, who beat King’s Chester by almost a full minute, and only lost to Goldie – or what appears to be the Cambridge Blue Boat – by about 25 seconds. This bodes incredibly well for Eton, who will want to get back on form after last year’s good – but ultimately disappointing – season. Results from recent races would seem to point to a similar top three in Championship Eights as last year: Westminster, St Paul’s, and Eton, but currently it’s really impossible to tell who will come out on top. Westminster and St Paul’s were certainly more successful than Eton in their pairs at GB Trials, but Eton do appear to have a huge amount of speed in the eight. Where St Paul’s trump Westminster in terms of ergo power, Westminster seem to have the edge in small-boat moving ability. Needless to say, the year is shaping up to be quite a contest.

Added to this, the result of Eton’s 2nd VIII, who finished just 6 seconds down on KCH’s 1st VIII, suggests that Eton may again experience a year where their 2nd VIII is all but undefeatable in its category. Interestingly, both St Paul’s and Westminster also appear to have very strong 2nd VIIIs, and so the battle waged in Champ Eights may well run in parallel with the battle in 2nd VIIIs – although obviously the likes of Hampton have yet to show their real speed in relation to some of the top crews, and may well be a force come the Summer.

Five Man