THE 2021 Boat Race will not take place on the Thames – for the first time in 185 years.
Organisers have moved the annual Cambridge v Oxford race to the Great Ouse at Ely, Cambridgeshire to avoid large crowds gathering in London next April.
The 2021 Boat Race between Cambridge and Oxford will take place on the Great River Ouse in AprilCredit: AFP or licensors
Official races have been held on a Thames course since the second staging of the race in 1836.
The Boat Race was held away from London during the Second World War but these were unofficial events.
A statement said: “The decision to relocate the 2021 event reflects the challenge of planning a high-profile amateur event around continuing Covid-related restrictions.”
However, the safety concerns over Hammersmith Bridge also played a significant role in the decision to relocate.
The landmark bridge, almost at the halfway point on the regular Thames course, has been closed for the last 18 months due to structural issues.
All river traffic under the bridge was banned in August after large cracks were discovered with repair costs estimated at £120million.
The course for 2021 on the Great River Ouse is three miles, a mile shorter than the usual Putney to Mortlake course in London.
There will also not be the bends which often play their part in the Boat Race spectacle – instead it will be one long slog in a straight line to the end at Littleport.
Hammersmith Bridge is currently closed and is considered too risky to have river traffic pass underneathCredit: Times Newspapers Ltd
This year’s event was axed 13 days before it was scheduled to go ahead because of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Cambridge won both men’s and women’s races in 2019, as James Cracknell joined up with the Light Blues.
Their men lead Oxford in the all-time head-to-head record 84-80 with one draw from 165 races while the women from Cambridge – who took on Oxford first in 1927 – are ahead 44-30.
Cambridge won all four races in 2019 with James Cracknell, second right, joining the men’s teamCredit: Reuters
Cambridge president Dara Alizadeh lifts the trophy during the 2019 celebrationsCredit: Reuters
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