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.

The Bumping Races or ‘Bumpers’ are the climax of our inter-house rowing races, and many pupils get involved – although the 1st and 2nd VIIIs 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 has a crew for each division, so there are up to 13 boats racing in each division. 

All the boats in each division 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 take place during the last week of the summer term, with the final round on the afternoon of Speech Day.  They are fun, exciting races and anyone is welcome to come along and watch.

The Bumps Chart, dating back to 1867, may be viewed here: http://bumps.rssbc.org.uk/

The Bumpers races take place at the end of the Summer Term, and the results are updated below after each day's races. To see the daily results from previous years, please click back through the dates (below right).

Bumpers results


Saturday 1 July 2017

  • Bumpers - Day 3
    For Speech Day and the final round of the Bumping Races, the sun shone. With the 1st VIII returned from Henley, a number of Houses were able to strengthen their crews, so the racing was set to be competitive.

    In Division 3, School House continued their excellent run, earning ‘blades’ (four bumps out of four). Port Hill meanwhile earned the opposite honour. The Grove finished as the highest placed 2nd boat, and after bumping Oldham’s will start next year on bungline 6 – the first time a girls’ house has started that high. Rigg’s held off the challenge of Churchill’s to claim the Head of Division 3 title (Rigg’s III has rowed over in that position since 2011...).

    Division 2’s biggest movers were Oldham’s Hall, who ended with three bumps out of four. Churchill’s rowed over for the Head of Division 2, having claimed that position on Thursday. Despite being bumped by Ridgemount today, The Grove maintained their hold on the Elizabeth Cup for the highest placed girls’ crew, but are now being directly followed by Emma Darwin and Mary Sidney. With Moser’s due to reappear as a girls' house in 2018, the competition is set to be fierce.

    After Port Hill’s dramatic bump on Rigg’s in Division 1 the previous day, things were set up for a spectacular conclusion to the Bumping Races. Hundreds of spectators filled the slipway outside the Boathouse, the pontoons and the Toll Bridge, clambering for a view.

    Port Hill had three members of the 1st VIII to strengthen their boat; Churchill’s ahead of them only had one. Both crews set of at a frenetic pace, with Port Hill closing, but not enough to get the bump past the Boathouse. They closed again on the Pengwern corner, this time getting overlap – and coming into contact without achieving the desired bump.

    Further down the Division, Ingram’s bumped Ridgemount to move back off the bottom. Following a ruling from the ever-present Impartial Committee, it was determined that Churchill’s and Port Hill should re-row for the Headship. Both crews boated quickly, and the tension built.

    Once again Port Hill closed, but Churchill’s resisted. At Pengwern, Port Hill closed again, and got agonisingly close, but once again Churchill’s resisted. Finally, Churchill’s pulled clear and reached the safety of the Suspension Bridge.

    Churchill’s retain the Head of the River trophy for the first time since 1937.

    After racing, the following prizes were awarded:

    • Head of Division 3 medals (boys) – Rigg's Hall
    • Head of Division 3 medals (girls) – The Grove
    • Head of Division 2 medals (boys) – Churchill’s Hall
    • Head of Division 2 medals (girls) and the Elizabeth Cup – The Grove
    • Head of Division 1 medals and Head of the River trophy – Churchill's Hall
    • Bumpers Cups - awarded for average bumping points per crew:
    • 4th (Mill Cup) – Oldham’s Hall/Rigg’s Hall (tied)
    • 3rd (Dickens Plaque) – Mary Sidney Hall
    • 2nd (Bower Cup) – School House
    • 1st (Friends Cup) – Churchill’s Hall
    •  Birt Trophy (overall girls' House rowing prize) – Mary Sidney Hall
    • Leadbitter Cup (overall boys' House rowing prize) – Churchill's Hall

    Confirmed bumps were as follows:

    Division 1
    I bpd Rt

    Division 2
    PH bpd SH
    O bpd S
    Rt bpd G

    Division 3
    SH bpd S
    G bpd O
    MSH bpd PH

    The Bumpers Chart, dating back to 1867, may be viewed here: http://bumps.rssbc.org.uk/


Friday 30 June 2017

  • Bumpers – Day 2
    The dull weather continued, but the racing today was far from dull!

    In Division three, School House maintained their charge up the charts and are now the only crew in contention for ‘blades’, with three bumps out of three.

    In Division two, Oldham’s were the only house to bump up; in fact they did so twice! The Grove maintained their position as the highest placed girls' house – despite moving down one position.

    In Division one, Oldham’s I weren’t to be outdone by their second boat; they bumped twice as well. The big move of the day came as Port Hill bumped Rigg’s to move to bungline 2 tomorrow, giving them a chance to win their first Headship since 1990. (Or maybe Churchill’s will hang on to retain it for the first time since 1937?)

    Round 2

    Division 1
    O bpd S
    SH bpd Rt937

    Division 2
    O bpd Rt

    Division 3
    S bpd O
    SH bpd PH
    MSH bpd Rt

    Round 3

    Division 1
    PH bpd R
    O bpd Rb

    Division 2
    O bpd G

    Division 3
    SH bpd O
    G bpd PH
    EDH bpd Rt

Thursday 29 June 2017

  • Bumpers - Day 1
    The 149th Bumping Races got underway today in still, but wet, conditions.

    Churchill’s and Rigg’s continued to do battle at the Head of each division, with Churchill’s coming out marginally better – but it looks like the racing will be intense right through to Speech Day.

    The Grove bumped up to maintain their position as the highest placed girls crew in the competition for the Elizabeth Cup.

    School House and Churchill’s are the early leaders for the Bumpers Cup competition (where points are awarded for bumping).

    Confirmed bumps were as follows:

    Division 1
    SH bpd I

    Division 2
    Ch bpd R
    G bpd Rt

    Division 3
    S bpd PH
    SH bpd G
    MSH bpd EDH

    The Bumpers Chart, dating back to 1867, may be viewed here: http://bumps.rssbc.org.uk/