OXFORD president Alex Davidson is determined to avenge last year’s bitter defeat when he lines up against Cambridge again in tomorrow’s 159th BNY Mellon Boat Race.
Twelve months ago, Oxford had rowed themselves into a strong position when the race was dramatically halted after a protester swam in front of both crews. When the race was eventually restarted, Oxford’s Hanno Wienhausen suffered a broken blade in a clash of oars and Cambridge pulled away to win by more than four lengths.
Oxford coach Sean Bowden had warned his returning Blues at the start of the season that revenge alone would not be enough motivation, and that they needed something positive to chase. But Davidson conceded the painful memories of defeat have shaped Oxford’s preparations and will drive him hard when he takes the water in Putney on Sunday.
“We lost last year’s race and that changes the tone from day one. It affects things but I never saw this year as a case of righting wrongs,” Davidson said. “It is a new team. Everyone is here to win this Boat Race. I want to win a Boat Race because I know how bad it is to lose a Boat Race – but I will not be dwelling on last year.”
Royal Marines will be stationed in inflatable boats along the length of the course to ensure the event is not disrupted by another protester in the water.
Last year Trenton Oldfield swam into the path of the two crews and narrowly avoided being struck by an Oxford oar as he looked to sabotage an event he regarded as elitist.