Cambridge Come Last in Kiwi Race

Cambridge University Boat Club suffer disappointment Down Under, coming last in the annual Great Race.

Boat cubc Great Race loss New Zealand

Cambridge University Boat Club’s first race of the season ended in disappointment yesterday as the rowing eight came in dead last. The Great Race, which takes place on the Waikato river in Hamilton, New Zealand, is an annual event between the University of Waikato, and two other prominent university teams from abroad.

The Great Race is held on the Waikato River

Sydney, Waikato and Cambridge lined up in this years race

Dubbed the “Battle of Champions” by local press, the race between three-time winners Cambridge, last year’s victors, Sydney, and hosts, Waikato, was not exactly tight. Whilst Cambridge struggled from the start, the host team pulled away from Sydney to eventually win by five seconds. Waikato, electing to start in the middle, quickly pulled over towards the eastern bank, forcing Cambridge to give way and allowing Sydney to move into second place. While Sydney and Waikato scrapped for open water, Cambridge fought back to take a short lead. However, Cambridge tired and Waikato powered home, finishing more than 20 lengths ahead of Sydney.

Waikato celebrating at the finish line

Sweet as: Waikato celebrating at the finish line

The Cambridge Boat Club has been involved in the 3.85km race since its inception in 2002 and has competed on 6 other occasions. CUBC’s last time racing, in 2011, went awry after a broken rudder – caused by a collision with Waikato – spoiled their chances. The Light Blues have won the race in 2004, 2008 and 2010, taking home the Harry Mahon memorial trophy. A New Zealand citizen, Mahon, who died of cancer in 2001, coached the Cambridge Boat Club between 1993 and 1999, leading them to seven Boat Race wins in a row. Those were better times.

Harry Mahon. Cambridge Boat Club Legend

Harry Mahon. Cambridge Boat Club Legend

It’s not all bad news for the Cambridge boys and girl though: it’s tradition for the visiting team’s expenses to be paid by Waikato, who also arrange for a full itinerary to make the journey worthwhile. The trip will not doubt prove an invaluable bonding experience to kick-start a successful season ahead.