The 82nd North of England Head of the River Race on the Dee attracts competitors from as far afield asTeesside, York and Lancaster. It is the premier race for eights and quads in the North West and this year attracted 106 entries with competitors aged from 14 to 75 years.
This year the Head Trophy and medals were presented by Chester MP Chris Matheson in a ceremony held in the Boathouse Inn river garden.
Hosted by Royal Chester Rowing Club, the race is in two divisions over 5000 lung bursting metres from Eccleston ferry to the finish at Dee Lane, starting at ten-second intervals with frequent enthusiastic overtaking. The prize for the fastest crew is a spectacular antique silver trophy first awarded in 1937 with medals for the crewmembers and status winners.
The weather and river conditions frequently play a part in the result but on this occasion the sun shone, the river calm and a light breeze all made for perfect racing conditions.
Agecroft RC led off the race followed by Royal Chester, Northwich and Shrewsbury School. With little help from the stream it was up to the crews to make the most of the calm conditions. Agecroft were under pressure throughout the race and although not overtaken they had lost time to Royal Chester and Shrewsbury School by the time the finish line was reached. Royal Chester posted the fastest time of the day, 16mins 1sec, and 10 seconds ahead of Shrewsbury School winning the North of England Head Trophy. The Royal Chester second eight also won their status event ahead of Agecroft, Liverpool University, King’s School and Runcorn RC.
The fastest Women’s crew on the day and Trophy winners was the King’s School eight in a time of 18min 16secs.King’s School was the most successful local club with wins in Junior 18 quad, Junior 17 quad and junior 15 coxed quad.Grosvenor RC won the Masters G/H event and Queens Park High School took the medals in the Junior 15 Octuples.