Lent and May Races

Eligibility and Conditions of Races

    1. That there be regular Eight-Oared Bumping Races held from:
      • Either the 7th Tuesday to the 7th Saturday of the Lent Term or the 8th Tuesday to the 8th Saturday of the Lent Term, depending on which Saturday doesn’t clash with the Women’s Eights Head of the River Race. If there is no clash, the later date is preferred.
      • The 8th Wednesday to the 8th Saturday of the Easter Term.
    2. That the number of Men's and Women's divisions shall be appointed at the first CUCBC Meeting of the term preceding the Races.
  1. That any College Boat Club wishing to put boats on the river for these Races inform the Hon. Secretaries when requested to do so.
  2. That every Men's and Women's College Boat Club have the right to at least one boat each on the river for the Lent and May Races.
  3. That if a boat misses more than one race in the Lent or May Races of one year, the Club concerned forfeit that place on the river and be obliged to `get on' should it wish to compete again in a future year.
  4. That new single boat entrants to the CUCBC Bumping Races be placed at the bottom of the penultimate division, or at a higher position, at the discretion of the Executive Committee.
    1. That no crew be allowed to compete in a Bumping Race on the Cam without a minimum of twelve training outings. Outings after 9am on weekdays may count for 1.5 outings. Only outings of length 60 minutes or longer may count towards the minimum outing requirement.
    2. That no crew be allowed to compete in the Lent Bumps that contains more than 2 novices starting in the Lent Term.
    3. That the Executive Committee should be notified of any crew failing to fulfil this requirement.
    4. That the CUCBC may in extraordinary circumstances give a crew that has failed to do so permission to race.
  5. That every Boat Club return its entries for the Bumps and the Getting-On Races with the correct fees (see Rule 14) to the CUCBC before a deadline (which shall be before the start of these Races) to be set by the Hon. Secretaries. Any boat failing to do so may not take part in these races.
  6. That no current member of the University Squads may row or steer for his/her College in the Lent Bumps without the permission of the Executive Committee and the relevant University Club President. Except in the case of reserves, permission will only be given in exceptional circumstances.
    1. That no person who has gained first Lent or May Colours or a Trial Cap may row or steer below the third division of the CUCBC Lent or May Races or below his/her College third crew, whichever is the lower, without the permission of the Hon. Secretaries. This shall normally be given only in the case of accident or illness.
    2. That no person who has rowed in, steered or been a reserve for any of the CUBC, CUWBC or CULRC crews may row below his/her College third May Boat without the permission of the Hon. Secretaries, which shall normally be given only in the case of accident or illness.
    3. That anyone infringing 21.a and/or 21.b be forbidden to row in any crew for the remainder of the Races.
    1. That, with the exception of the sandwich boats, no-one may row or steer in more than one division in one day, and that no-one who has rowed in a particular crew in the races may then row in another crew, except with the permission of the Executive Committee, which shall usually be given only in cases of accident or illness.
    2. That anyone may row in one division and steer in another on the same day.
  7. That there be no restriction on the type of eight used in the CUCBC Lent or May Races, with the exception of front loading eights, which may not be used under any circumstance.
    1. That crews be removed from the start order if their coxswain (or a competent representative from his/her club) in the Lent or May Races fail to sign in at the Coxswains' meeting held by the CUCBC before these Races.
    2. For coxes who have previously coxed the Lent or May Races, a competent representative shall be definied as a senior cox from his/her club who undertakes to brief the coxwain on safe racing during bumps.
    3. For coxes who have not previously coxed the Lent or May Races, a competent representative shall be definied as a senior cox from his/her club who undertakes to brief the coxwain on safe racing during bumps, and where prior permission has been granted by the CUCBC Safety Officer.
  8. ‚ÄčSubstitutes must be deemed capable by the Executive Committee of competing safely in the division they will be subbing into, and all substitutes must be eligible competitors for the crew they will be subbing into. Permission for substitution shall only be given in the exceptional circumstances allowed by Rule 5 and:
    1. to crews in the first or second division in the case of compulsory and immovable academic commitments;
    2. to crews in the third division in the case of academic commitments, or other sporting commitments;
    3. to crews in lower divisions for those reasons or any other reason,
    4. provided permission for any eligible substitute is sought at least 24 hours before racing.

Getting-On Race

    1. That if there be more new entries than vacant places, the bottom eighteen crews (at most) on the river and all new entries then row a timed race (the Getting-On Race)
    2. That the race be held on the Friday preceding the Races, from the upstream side of the A14 Road Bridge to the upstream side of the Railway Bridge, and that the result of this Race determine which boats race in those Bumps.
  1. That the number of crews taken off (subject to Rule 26.a) be sufficient to ensure one available place on the river for every two boats entered for the Getting-On Race.
  2. That no person who has gained first Lent or May Colours or a Trial Cap, or who has rowed in, steered or been a reserve for any of the CUBC, CUWBC or CULRC crews may row in the Getting-on Race UNLESS the Getting-on Race crew concerned is the Club's second or third crew.
  3. That no-one who has rowed or steered in a successful boat in the Getting-On Race row or steer respectively in a higher boat during the races which follow, except with the permission of the Executive Committee, which shall usually be given only in cases of accident or illness of someone in a higher boat.
    1. That those crews regaining their places on the river from the previous year get on first in the order that they were taken off.
    2. That the order of the remaining crews be decided by ballot.
    1. That should a crew which has been entered not arrive for the start of the CUCBC Getting-On Race, they forfeit the entire entry fee.
    2. That the CUCBC return half the entry fee to College Boat Clubs for crews which, having rowed in the Getting-On Race, are not then included in the Races.

Details of the Race Procedure

    1. That the Races be rowed in divisions of seventeen boats each, excluding the sandwich boat, except the lowest division which may contain eighteen boats.
    2. That the order of the divisions be such that the Women's First Division immediately precedes the Men's First Division, with lower divisions, as far as possible, alternating between Men's and Women's crews.
  1. That the starting posts be 150 feet apart, and that the last starting post be at Baitsbite Lock
  2. That the finishing posts for the Lent Races be as follows:
    1. Top Finish : The farther post at Chesterton Footbridge.
    2. Bottom Finish : The concrete post at Morleys Holt.
  3. That the finishing posts for the lower divisions of the Lent Races be as follows:
    1. Top Finish : The upstream side of the Railway Bridge
    2. Bottom Finish : The Railings.
  4. That the finishing posts for the May Races be as follows:
    1. Top Finish : The farther post at Chesterton Footbridge.
    2. Bottom Finish : The concrete post at Morley's Holt
    1. That the Bumps course be such that the first nine boats in each division race to the Top Finish and the rest stop at the Bottom Finish.
    2. That the tenth boat only shall have the option of rowing on to the Top Finish.
    3. That a boat shall be deemed to have finished racing when the stern has passed the relevant finishing post.

Before the Start

  1. That no boat proceeding to the start of the Bumps may spin until after First Post Corner, except at Ditton Corner or above the Railway Bridge, except in an emergency. Boats that do spin cannot expect the Chief Umpire to delay the start should they then be late.
  2. That any boat causing delay at the start may, at the discretion of the Chief Umpires, be fined or disqualified from racing.
  3. That in the event of structural damage occurring to a boat on its way down to the start of a CUCBC Lent or May Race, the Chief Umpire be informed immediately:
    1. If the boat can be repaired, the Chief Umpire may at his/her discretion delay the start of any Division by up to fifteen minutes.
    2. If the boat cannot be repaired or if the newly repaired boat cannot make it to its station by the revised division time, the crew starting behind it shall be awarded a technical bump.
  4. That each division of the Races be started by three guns, the first gun to be fired four minutes before the start, the second gun one minute before the start, and the third gun at the start.
    In the event of the one minute gun failing, the next gun to be heard will be a one-minute gun.
  5. That any crew which has not spun by the One-Minute Gun be immediately disqualified, and that it then pull into the bank to avoid obstructing crews racing.

Starting Procedure

  1. That no running starts be allowed.
  2. That in each boat, when the starting gun is fired, the coxswain be holding the regulation chain attached to its post with his/her hand above the water.
  3. That if s/he drops the chain before the gun is fired, and the Chief Umpire deems that the result of the race was affected by this action, the penalty be as follows:
    1. If the offending crew make a bump, the Chief Umpire shall either disallow the bump or give the boat that has been bumped the option to re-row;
    2. if the offending boat row over, or if it make a bump that is disallowed, the boat starting behind it may, with the consent of the Chief Umpire, claim a re-row.

Making a Bump

  1. That a boat be considered fairly bumped when it is touched by any part of the boat behind it before its stern is past the finishing post save that, between the start and the towpath gate on Grassy Corner, a boat will be considered fairly bumped when the bow ball of the chasing boat passes the Cox, whether or not contact has been made. Should the cox fail to concede at this point, the Chief/Deputy Chief Umpire will use his or her authority to declare the boat to have been bumped and may also impose a dangerous coxing penalty. Over the remainder of the course drawing level with a boat will be considered equivalent to a bump, provided the bow balls are level. For the purposes of this Rule, the word 'boat' includes the ship, the crew, and oars if in the rowlock.
  2. That the coxswain of a crew so bumped acknowledge the bump immediately by holding up his/her hand, this crew rowing on for at least three strokes after the acknowledgement. The crew having made the bump shall at once cease rowing, and both boats shall draw into the bank, if possible to the outside of a corner, until all other boats still racing have passed.
  3. That if one boat bump another, the two boats change places on the subsequent day of racing, whatever may have been their positions before starting.
  4. That any boat having made four Bumps may row up after the races on Saturday with its flag hoisted, as may also the boat rowing Head.
    1. That when, because of obstruction by preceding boats, a crew following is considered bumped according to the Rules, the Chief Umpire may award a technical bump or disallow the bump and offer a technical row-over or a re-row to those crews affected.
    2. That obstruction shall be defined as any event which substantially affects the orderly course of rowing, and nothing in this Rule shall limit the powers of the Chief Umpire to offer re-rows in other cases.
  5. That if a boat miss a race, the crew behind it be awarded a technical bump (having rowed past the starting point of the offending crew) and that, if the offending crew fails to appear on the following day, that crew shall be removed from the start order for that set of Bumps and the crews behind it will each move up one place.

Umpires and Disputes

    1. That the Senior Committee appoint a Chief Umpire to take overall control of running the main CUCBC races (University Fours, Lent and May Races). That the Executive Committee and Chief Umpire appoint at least one Deputy Chief Umpire and a sufficient number of Senior and Junior Umpires for each Division of the Lent and May Races and each day of the University Fours.
    2. That boats provide Marshals as requested by the Executive Committee to assist with the running of the races.
    1. That all disputes be referred to the Chief Umpire via the Control Desk within 30 minutes of the start gun of the division. No correspondence concerning appeals will be entered into thereafter.
    2. Only eye-witness evidence from race officials and others at the discretion of the Chief Umpire will be admitted.
    3. That the Chief Umpire shall have final authority over all decisions.
    4. That s/he shall have the power in all doubtful cases of causing the boats concerned to row the race again that evening.
    5. That there be no re-rows on the final day of racing, save at the Chief Umpires' discretion, which will only be exercised under extreme conditions.
  1. That nobody attend a disputes meeting unless referred to it by the Chief Umpire, who shall also attend the meeting, and that no bumps be disputed after the termination of the disputes meeting.

Fines and Fixed Penalties During Bumps

Inevitably, due to the nature of the Bumps races, all eventualities cannot be covered here and the Chief and Deputy Chief Umpires may, at their discretion, apply alternative penalties to those listed below. Fines generally relate to the safe and fair running of the races, both on the water and on the towpath. The object is not to catch out crews and clubs, but to encourage safe racing. It is up to Captains and Club officials to ensure their members' competence, sporting attitude and respect for the rules of racing. It is the responsibility of the race officials to ensure that the races take place safely, that the rules are applied consistently and without bias, and that disputes are heard and settled fairly within the practical limitations of the Bumps. If both sides succeed, fining will be minimised, and the Bumps will be more enjoyable and satisfying for everyone.

Fixed penalty offences

  • No Marshal supplied by a club: £15 first occasion; £30, £45, £60 subsequent repeat offences.
  • Marshal late for briefing: £5 first occasion; £10, £15, £20 for repeat offences.
  • Incompetent Marshal supplied: £10.
  • Dropping bung before start: £15. (NB: gaining significant advantage after dropping bung is likely to lead to disqualification or a technical bump against that crew).
  • Bank party size (NB: This applies to each crew individually. More than 4 clearly identifiable cycling supporters, i.e. students, coaches, friends, including the boatman, senior treasurer and any College VIPs; does not include Junior/Senior Umpires or unattributable cyclists): £30 first occasion; £45, £60, £75 subsequent repeat offences. Repeat offences may lead to bumps being disallowed.
  • Failure to show bike pass: £25 (i.e. ignoring pass checking Marshals).
  • Ignoring marshalling instructions: £20 (e.g. restrictions on number and place of practice starts, excessive delays on paddle down).
  • Lack of a bowball, or cox without a lifejacket, leads to crew not being allowed to race and awarding of a technical bump to the chasing crew and a fine of £50.

Variable penalty offences

  • Illegal crew member: £10 - £50, including non-notified substitutions. Rowers must be valid members of the College concerned. While top crews must have bona fide student members, in practice the involvement of College Fellows in lower crews has been encouraged. However, the CUCBC Committee must approve all non-bona fide substitutions before racing begins. Identified illegal rowers will not be allowed to compete further, bumps may be disallowed and technical bumps awarded against offending crews. NB: anyone who rowed or coxed in a crew which gained a place in the Getting on Race may not row or cox respectively the Bumps in a higher crew unless as a bona fide substitute (see Rule 28).
  • Dangerous activity around bumps occurring, including the elements of:
    • late acknowledgement (leading crew).
    • failing to easy (chasing crew).
    • failing to clear the river.
    • abusive behaviour of either crew or associated bank parties.

    Each element may attract a separate fine in the range £20 - £75, depending on the seriousness of the offence. Repeat offences by the same crew on separate days will lead to increased fines.

  • Dangerous coxing: £20 - £75, generally applied in the context of failing to avoid stationary (bumped out) crews, but also relevant to marshalling, paddling to start and returning after the race.
  • Obstruction, abuse, violence towards officials (Marshals, Divisional and Senior Umpires), and general obstruction of, or abusive or violent behaviour on the towpath: £20 - £50.

Depending on the seriousness of any of the above offences, individual offenders, in either crews or bank parties, may be banned from further participation in the Bumps, bumps may be disallowed, and crews may be banned from further participation in races. Finally, crews which demonstrate a dangerous lack of competence during the races may be banned from further racing for safety reasons.