Leander seize victory in new record time at 2024 Head of the River Race

In exceptionally fast conditions, Leander lowered the course record – set by Brookes only last year – by 1.7 seconds


Leander A. (Photo: Ben Rodford Photography.)

Stream conditions on Saturday, 23 March were still fast even though the Port of London Authority ebb tide flag status had gone back to green that morning after the latest low water had just dropped under the 1.7m boundary. The addition of a lively tailwind was all that Leander – starting second – needed to lower Brookes’ 2023 course record of 16:28.4 to 16:26.7. Until last year the record had been 16:37:0. Leander’s lineup was Jack Tottem (cox), Matt Rowe, Dan Graham, Douwe Degraaf, Sam Bannister, Miles Beeson, Tobias Schroder, Tom Ballinger and James Vogel.

Oxford Brookes A, who led the field off this year, finished second in 16:31.8 with their B crew third in 16:45.2. Between them, these two clubs claimed seven of the top 10 place between them (three for Leander and four for Brookes). London secured two more and Thames one. Thames A won the Club Pennant and the Vernon Trophy for the fastest Tideway-based crew by finishing fourth in 16:47.9. The Bernard Churcher Trophy for the fastest Academic crew went to Oxford Brookes C, who were sixth in 16:53.7.

The remaining pennants were shared widely. St Paul’s School Boat Club A won the Open Junior Pennant after finishing an impressive 11th in 17:10.8. This is by far the highest junior placing in recent years – although Eton College also finished 11th some 50 years ago in 1974 (in a time of 19:00.6). The result is perhaps unsurprising for a crew that had romped to victory at the Schools Head of the River Race three days earlier, setting a new record in the process. The Club Junior Pennant went to Hinksey Sculling School A (58th, 18:02.5).

Royal Chester RC men's eight Royal Chester RC A – winners of the 2024 Jackson Trophy. (Photo: Ben Rodford Photography.)

Commercial A from Ireland took the Overseas Trophy, coming 15th in 17:13.7, closely followed by 16th-placed Molesey A, who retained the Page Trophy for the fastest non-Tideway British crew in 17:14.0. The Jackson Trophy for the fastest provincial crew was also retained – by Royal Chester A (23rd in 17:25.4).

Leicester A men's eight Leicester A – Small Club Pennant winners. (Photo: Ben Rodford Photography.)

The Medium Academic Pennant was won by Downing College A  (72nd, 18:17.1), and the Medium Club Pennant by Dart Totnes A (78th, 18:22.5). University of Exeter D (97th, 18:36.2) took the Academic Beginner Trophy, Army (103rd, 18:39.6) the HM Forces Award, Leicester A (168th, 19:14.8) the Small Club Pennant and Trevelyan College A (158th, 19:08.5) the Small Academic Pennant. Vesta H (283rd, :21:13.8) won the Club Beginner Trophy.

The three masters pennants went to Thames H (68th, 18:12.1 – Masters B), Masters C Pennant: Henley (128th, 18:55.0 – Masters C), and Neptune Rowing Club, Ireland A (159th, 19:09.7 – Masters D). None of these three won the equivalent categories the following day at the Vesta International Masters Head of the River Race the following day.

There were no entries eligible for the Lightweight Pennant. 298 crews raced after a small reduction in the entry based on the expectation that PLA ebb tide flag status would remain at yellow on race day.

Read the full results here >>

Photos: Ben Rodford Photography