STAGING Vesta host quality Veterans Head - British Rowing

Vesta host quality Veterans Head


Over 200 crews took to the Thames on Saturday morning for the 2015 edition of the Vesta Veterans’ Head of the River. Despite concerns that the event may not go ahead owing to a forecast of inclement weather, competitors were greeted on Saturday by the sight of a docile and calm championship course. 

The race marked the end of another impressively competitive head season, one which had seen several of the top crews from yesterday face off in a number of other events. In the end the headship, and the Masters A category title, went to Austrian Alumni, a crew containing representatives from RV Gmunden, RV Villach and London Rowing Club amongst others. 


The victors, who set the pace at 19:01, and London RC/Kings College School crew went off second and first respectively and their duel down the course set the tone for the rest of the event. The close proximity of the fastest crews was a real testament to the quality of masters rowing in the UK.

The top places were dominated by composite crews, with four of the top five finishers representing more than one club in their respective crew. The Masters B category was won by a crew containing no less than seven clubs, a remarkable feat in itself. This Old Monmothians crew finished second overall and were six seconds clear of their nearest opposition, which was another London Rowing Club composite.

The majority of the pennants were collected by Thames based clubs – Molesey and London took the Masters C and D eights in fast times while Wallingford won Masters E, 33 seconds clear of Quintin who took Masters F.

The women’s events were a little clearer cut. Tideway Scullers School retained their headship in 20:40, some 30 seconds clear of their nearest opposition in Women’s Masters A. 

Jacqui Johnston, who sat in the bow seat of the crew, was delighted with their performance. 

“The race was fantastically run, with results coming in a mere two hours after we finished racing,” she said. “The win was a wonderful feeling and testament to the skill of the women who come through the club.”

A Reading Rowing Club composite finished two seconds behind TSS to win the Women’s Masters B category. Wallingford racked up their second win of the day by taking Women’s Masters C while Upper Thames continued their strong run in Women’s Masters D by retaining their title in 21:17. 

Host club Vesta failed to pick up any wins but were well represented throughout, with their second place finish in Women’s Masters A an obvious highlight. 

Former captain of Vesta, Jim Harlow, was quick to emphasise the importance of the race within his club’s calendar. 

“The Vets Head went very well this year. A great mix of entries in all categories, in particular the many foreign crews who travel to compete and make this a unique race with its blend of fun yet serious racing.” 

He added: “It’s a very special day for Vesta with our crews racing, many members involved in the organisation of the event and of course the best bar on the Tideway offering the usual festivities until late into the night.”

For full results, click here:

By Tom Morgan

Photos by BigBlade