This film is part of Free
'Bumps' On the River Cam
Tense scenes from Cambridge's unorthodox boat race.
Bumps racing is an old Cambridge tradition, a boating contest devised to overcome the narrowness of the river, which hampers side-by-side racing. Crews start evenly spaced along the river, and at the starting gun try to catch the boat in front before being caught by the boat behind. This 1922 newsreel suggests that little has changed in the competition's roughly two-century lifespan. Towpaths may once have been wider, slides shorter and coxes more smartly dressed, but the joy of victory, the pain of defeat and the chaos of supporters on the bank are the same as ever.