Bumpers

Please see the Bumpers results at the bottom of this page for details of the latest races.  You may also be interested to read 'View from the Towpath', written in 2013 by the Bumpers Umpire Rob Wilson.

Background:
The Bumping Races or ‘Bumpers’ are the climax of our inter-house rowing races, and many pupils get involved – although the 1st and 2nd VIII's are often competing at Henley when Bumpers take place.

The Bumping races have been taking place since the 1860s, when the objective was to catch up and literally ‘bump’ the house boat immediately in front.  These days we’re a little less cavalier, and the objective now is to catch up with and overlap the boat in front by approximately 6 feet.

There are four rounds of Bumps and three divisions.  Each house will has a crew for each division, so there are up to 13 crews/boats racing in each division.  Since 2009, we have had the added excitement of the girls working their way up the third division.

The eleven (or thirteen) boats line up one behind the other before the start, with about 30 metres of water between each boat.  The order of the boats is determined by their position in the previous year’s race or round, with the winners at the front.

If one boat ‘bumps’ the boat in front, both boats pull to the side of the river and drop out of the race.  The boat in front will drop down a place at the next round, swapping places with the boat that bumped it.

Very occasionally, the next boat behind manages to ‘bump’ the boat that was three in front, which results in a dramatic position change for both boats involved.

Bumpers generally take place during the last week of the summer term.  They are fun, exciting races and anyone is welcome to come along and watch.

Ed Carroll (Ch IV) has put together the Bumps Charts from 1997-2012 in one graphic file: Bumps 1997 to 2012.png. More years will be added in the future.


The Bumpers races take place at the end of the Summer Term, and the results below will then get updated after each day's races. Previous years' races will be here too, starting with the 2010 ones.

Bumpers results

2014

Sunday 29 June 2014

  • Bumpers 2014: Finals

    The final round of the Bumping Races was eagerly anticipated, and huge crowds lined the banks to witness the spectacle.

    In Division III Rigg's claimed top spot, but Radbrook 'won blades', bumping in all four races (the only crew to do so this year) and the only crew from outside the top three to break into it in any division. Can they continue the charge next year?

    Division II had a familiar look about it with another Rigg's crew winning medals. (Is there any stopping them?) School House and Ridgemount challenged well, but they could quite beat Rigg's, settling instead for racing each other.

    Yesterday Moser's earned themselves the right to start from bungline #1 on the final day in Division I. The return of the 2nd VIII from Henley meant that both Rigg's and Moser's were able to field stronger crews. (Rigg's changed the whole line-up!)

    After having to wait for the Sabrina river cruiser to pass by, the tension built. Both crews set out at a frenetic pace, with Rigg's initially catching, but Moser's held the charge. It looked to be another classic when Moser's suffered a technical failure on the Pengwern corner. Another Headship for Rigg's (six in a row now...), but Moser's can feel a little aggrieved.

    Both girls' houses sit off the bottom of Division II and III (that 'honour' lies with Ingram's), although Emma Darwin came out on top in bumps positions, Mary Sidney won on points. The introduction of a third house for girls next year will make the racing even more keen!

    A round-up of the awards made at the end of racing:
    Head of Division 3 medals - Rigg's
    Head of Division 2 medals - Rigg's
    Head of Division 1 medals and Head of the River trophy - Rigg's

    4th Bumpers Cup - Port Hill
    3rd Bumpers Cup - Severn Hill
    2nd Bumpers Cup - Radbrook
    1st Bumpers Cups - Rigg's

    Birt Trophy - Mary Sidney
    Leadbitter Cup - Rigg's

    Confirmed bumps were as follows:

    Division 1
    R bpd M
    O bpd S
    SH bpd I

    Division 2
    Rt bpd SH
    PH bpd Ch
    Rb bpd O

    Division 3
    Rb bpd Ch
    EDH bpd S

Saturday 28 June 2014

  • Bumpers 2014: Rounds 2 and 3

    The Bumping Races or 'Bumpers' are the climax of our inter-house rowing races. Please see our Bumpers page for more general information, which also has a link to the umpire's account 'View from the Towpath' written at the end of the Bumping Races of 2013.

    Thunder and lighting... luckily passed us by for Day 2.

    Highlight of the day: Severn Hill's overbump on School House in division III.

    Big news of the day: Moser's bumped Rigg's in Divison I to end their run at the top (21 races undefeated will take some beating), Moser's were last on bungline 1 in 1984, but last claimed the Headship in 1968 - will this be their year after finishing second to Rigg's for the last 3 years?

    More importantly, the Staff beat the Postors by 2 lengths!

    Confirmed bumps were as follows:

    Round 2

    Division 1
    Rt bpd Ch
    S bpd O
    Rb bpd SH

    Division 2
    R bpd Rt
    PH bpd O
    MSH bpd I

    Division 3
    PH bpd Ch
    Rb bpd O
    Rt bpd SH
    MSH bpd EDH
    S bpd I

    Round 3

    Division 1
    M bpd R
    Rb bpd I

    Division 2
    SH bpd Rt
    PH bpd M

    Division 3
    Rb bpd M
    Rt bpd O
    S o'bpd SH
    EDH bpd MSH

Friday 27 June 2014

  • Bumpers 2014: Round 1

    Warm weather greeted the 146th Bumping Races (for a change). Fingers crossed it continues for the rest of the week; the weather forecast is not so optimistic!

    Rigg's held on at the top of Division I to extend their record breaking run to 20 row overs in the Head position.

    School House had a bump disallowed in Division II after an appeal. In Division III, Mary Sidney moved to their highest ever position.

    All crews race twice on Friday, with the final round being held on the afternoon of Speech Day.

    Confirmed bumps were as follows:

    Division 1
    Ch bpd Rt
    I bpd SH

    Division 2
    M bpd O
    S bpd I

    Division 3
    Ch bpd PH
    Rb bpd SH
    MSH bpd I