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The Bumps

15th June 2018

It’s that magical time of the year where people line the Cam to watch boat crews race down the river bumping each other for the win! That’s right, the bumps races are happening this weekend! As there aren’t many races like these in the UK, people descend to the Cam to watch the spectacle from the sidelines with anticipation and joy.

Not sure what the bumps are, here’s a quick rundown of the race.

This special race allows large scale competition on rivers that are narrow and winding, like our very own River Cam. It can be a complex process to understand, but basically, every crew tries to bump the crew in front before they are chased down by another crew. The term ‘bump’ means you need to hit the boat in front. Then, the two boats stop and withdraw from the river.

A fun event that allows you to see intense and eventful racing from multiple college crews who are vying for coveted trophies and honour is a treat for all. Many say it’s Cambridge's own version of the Henley Regatta so if you are in town don’t miss out on the biggest riverside party of the year!

A few historical facts about the bumps:

  • May Bumps began in 1887
  • Lent Bumps were cancelled from 1915 to 1918 due to war, and in 1895 and 1963 due to ice.
  • Not to be outdone, Eights Week, also known as Summer Eights, is a four-day bumps races which constitute the University of Oxford's main intercollegiate rowing event of the year.

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