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 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 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

2015

Saturday 27 June 2015

  • The 147th Bumping Races – Final Day

     

    Recent Salopians will believe that Rigg’s is ‘the rowing house’, and that that has always been the case. Not only will PJM point to the many other strengths of Rigg’s Hall (running perhaps, or bagpipe playing), but prior to taking the Headship in 2006, Rigg’s were last Head of the River in 1965.

    What is remarkable is that since Rigg’s went to bungline 1 in Division 1 on the first day of the 139th Bumping Races in 2006, they have only left that position twice, once at the end of 2008 when they ceded the Head of the River trophy to The Grove, and last year when they lost out to Moser’s in the penultimate round (they regained it on Speech Day). This is the seventh successive year that they have achieved the headship, a quite remarkable achievement – and in 4 of those years they have won division 2 and 3 as well (this year included). Rigg’s have quite simply dominated bumps for the last 10 years – a record that will take a long time to be beaten.
     
    Elsewhere in Division 1 there were a number of long range bumps, happening close to the safety of the suspension bridge. Churchill’s, Radbrook and Ingram’s all made progress up the charts from where they started three days ago.
     
    In Division 2 Churchill’s were dashed in their quest for four successive bumps (they needed to bump Rigg’s to achieve that feat). Oldham’s regained their honour bumping Emma Darwin who bumped them yesterday, but Emma Darwin still finished as the highest placed girls’ crew – discussions are underway about incorporating a girls’ Head of the River trophy to match the boys'….

    Division 3 saw the remarkable result of every crew rowing over – quite simply, there were no bumps!

    So ends the 147th Bumping Races. Many congratulations to all the pupils who competed, and many thanks to all the staff who make them possible.
     
    After racing, the following prizes were awarded:
    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 - Radbrook
    3rd Bumpers Cup – Severn Hill
    2nd Bumpers Cup – Churchill’s
    1st Bumpers Cups - Rigg's
     
    Birt Trophy – The Grove
    Leadbitter Cup - Rigg's

     

    Confirmed bumps were as follows:
     
    Division 1
    Ch bpd PH
    Rb bpd O
    S bpd Rt
    I bpd SH

    Division 2
    PH bpd Rt
    Rb bpd M
    O bpd EDH
    MSH bpd I
     
    Division 3
    none

Friday 26 June 2015

  • The 147th Bumping Races – Day 2

    Two rounds were contested today – featuring a mighty 44 row overs out of 72 results; no one got away lightly today!
     
    Churchill’s II, School House III and The Grove II all remain in contention for ‘blades’ tomorrow.
     
    Racing starts at 2:25pm on Speech Day.
     
    Confirmed bumps were as follows:
     
    Round 2
     
    Division 1
    O bpd Rt
     
    Division 2
    Ch bpd Rt
    S bpd O
    G bpd MSH
     
    Division 3
    S bpd Rt
    SH bpd EDH
    G bpd MSH
     
    Round 3
     
    Division 1
    Rb bpd Rt
     
    Division 2
    Ch bpd SH
    EDH bpd O
    G bpd I
     
    Division 3
    SH bpd Rt
    G bpd EDH
    I bpd MSH

  • The Bumps Charts online
    A lasting legacy to the School by Ed Carroll (Ch UVI).

    As we reach the last few days of the Summer Term and Top Common is transformed once more into a scene reminiscent of a medieval jousting tournament, the stretch of river below the School undergoes a similarly colourful transformation over three afternoons, with the climax of the inter-house rowing competitions – the Bumping Races, or ‘Bumpers’.

    With three divisions and up to 13 boats racing in each – all sporting their House colours – the lining up process at the start of each race, with 30 metres of water between each boat,  is a spectacle in itself – and a major feat of organisation by Master-in-Charge Rob Wilson. When the starter’s hooter sounds and the cavalcade of boats sets off, chasing each other down the river, the frenzy of excitement both on the water and on the riverbanks frequently becomes – particularly for the novice spectator – utter and glorious chaos.

    Unlike in a ‘normal’ first past the post or timed race, the full account of what exactly has just happened and who has bumped whom takes a little time to piece together, involving Umpires observing each boat and and, on occasion, serious deliberations by the ‘Impartial Committee’. The official results are eagerly anticipated, determining as they do the line-up for the next day’s racing.

    And it is at this point that another glory of Bumpers emerges: the Bumps Charts.

    At a first glance, the multi-coloured criss-crossing jumble of lines may appear to be even more bewildering than the races they record. But a second closer look – and a realisation that each line represents a boat in its House colours – reveals that, instead, they impose a calm sense of order and clarity. The frantic splashing and straining at the oars and hoarse shouts from excited Housemasters as one boat ‘bumps’ another is translated into a simple, elegant upwards-sloping line for the victorious boat crossing over an equally elegant but downwards-sloping line representing the disappointed ‘bumped’ crew.

    Hand-drawn charts dating back to the very first Bumpers in 1867 adorn the walls of the Boat House. But in 2010, the first electronically generated charts were published – thanks to the computing skills of Ed Carroll (Ch), who was at that time still only a Third Former. As both a self-confessed computer ‘nerd’ and an enthusiastic and successful cox, Ed had been asked by Rob Wilson if he thought it would be possible to write a computer program that could generate a Bumps chart. It was; and it was also the start of a project that Ed has painstakingly developed and refined over each of the five years he has been at the School.

    Having begun as a program that could generate the Bumps charts for the current year, Ed has rewritten it from scratch each year, constantly refining and improving it in response to feedback from users and as his own technical knowledge of computer programming grew.

    Ed is now in the Upper Sixth and has an offer from Oriel College, Oxford to study Computer Science . His highly sophisticated, yet elegant final version of the Bumps chart program has been the focus of his A-level Computing project this year.

    Shrewsbury's Head of ICT, Paul Kaye, explains 'the science bit': "The program runs on Ed’s webserver using a MEAN stack. The code is built on the Angular JS JavaScript MVC framework. The graphics programming writes 3D instructions directly to the graphics processor using Open GL. The end-user operates the program through any modern web browser. The interface is entirely graphical and allows the user to record Bumps results in the pictorial format known as a Bumps Chart. The program is flexible enough to allow any changes such as new House entry, for example the new girls’ Houses. It can also cope with any of the idiosyncratic historical variations dating back to 1867."

    Fellow Sixth Former Dan Lo (SH) has assisted Ed with the huge task of inputting data from the sometimes almost indecipherable old Bumps charts in order to create one continuous whole. So now, for the first time, the entire Bumps chart dating back to 1867 can be viewed online, explored and pored over. It is a fascinating and beautiful visual record not only of the history of Bumpers, but also of the School, as new Houses appear on the chart or change names through the years.

    And as a working document that can be used long after Ed moves on from the School, it is a lasting legacy.

    The Bumps Chart may be viewed here: http://bumps.rssbc.org.uk/

Thursday 25 June 2015

  • The 147th Bumping Races – day one
    Longstanding traditions like The Tucks, House Singing, and the Bumping Races hold a special place in the hearts of Salopians and Old Salopians alike. Both groups are joined together as they repeat the rituals that have remained relatively unchanged across the decades.

    Rigg's continued at the top of all three divisions and Churchill’s bumped up in all three – leaving them tied on points at the end of day one.
     
    The Grove (Head of the River in 2008) made their first appearance as a girls’ house, and wasted no time bumping in their first race in Division Three.
     
    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
    Rb bpd S
     
    Division 2
    SH bpd Rt
    Ch bpd PH
    S bpd EDH
    I bpd MSH
     
    Division 3
    Ch bpd Rb
    O bpd Rt
    S bpd EDH
    SH bpd MSH
    G bpd I