Dangerous river rules out Torpids races
By Jim Railton
The Oxford University Torpids races which were scheduled to start today have been cancelled by Paul Wright, secretary of the Oxford University boat club. The reason is that the river is not only dangerous with an exceptionally fast stream at the moment but also the conditions for the two-lane racing are unfair. Only last week a new [sic] college crew placed their lives in danger and wrote off their shell when they ran into difficulties on the river.
Altogether 67 eights in seven divisions were to have competed this week. Mr Albert Andrews, the Oxford University boatman for 25 years, said yesterday that "althought there was just a possibility that the two top divisions with their more experienced coxswains might have been able to negotiate the course, it would have been foolhardy for inexperienced coxswains ever to attempt it. The last time Torpids was cancelled was in 1963 when the river was frozen over for most of the term".
The Torpids have been cancelled rather than postponed because of examinations during the rest of the term which would affect many crew members and also the short-term weather forecast indicates more rain. There have been other rare occasions when Torpids have been postponed or curtailed, but I believe this is only the second time the event has been cancelled altogether. The Torpids were first held in 1838.
Oxford decided at a meeting last night to run a head of the river style race on Saturday to replace the Torpids. Called the "Rapids" it will consist of the top 40 crews.
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