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 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 Charts
A complete and continuous record of each House's fortunes (and misfortunes) during the Bumping races has been recorded from 1867 to the present day on the 'Bumps Charts'. Each line represents a boat in its House colours. A line sloping upwards records a bump made; it crosses the line of the disappointed 'bumped' boat. A straight line indicates no bump ('rowing over')
These adorn the walls of the School Boat House, but they can also be viewed and explored online here: http://bumps.rssbc.org.uk/
This digital version of the Bumps Charts was created by Ed Carroll (Ch 2010-15). A keen member of the Boat Club as well as a self-confessed computer 'nerd', Ed began writing a computer program that could generate the Bumps Chart in his first year at the School. He refined it each year as his knowledge of computer programming grew, and eventually made it the focus of his A Level Computing project. He went on to study Computer Science at Oxford University. Please see 'The Bumps Charts Online - a lasting legacy to the School' for the full story.
The Bumpers races take place at the end of the Summer Term, and the results are published on the website after each day's races. Please click on '2017/2018' below to display the results of Bumpers 2018.