Information for Spectators
Bumps evolved on the Cam because it is a narrow river, only wide enough for side by side racing for short sections. It is also a very twisty river and has a number of sharp corners in the first half of the course. Racing VIII's on the Cam are fitted with rudders but learning how to race round corners using minimal rudder - the rudder slows a boat down when it is used - is critically important, particularly in Bumps racing. Racing is also influenced heavily by wind conditions; whilst the first part of the course as far as Ditton corner is relatively sheltered, the 'Long Reach' (roughly the second half of the course for crews in the top Divisions) is a wide straight section of river.
The Bumps run from Baits Bite lock - near Milton - up-stream to Chesterton, with finishes at different points for each Division. The 18th boat in each division starts virtually from inside the lock and has to row some 800m before it passes the head boat's station at the top of First Post Reach near First Post Corner.
Those planning to go, particularly families with young children, are advised to watch from the garden of the Plough in Fen Ditton - CB5 8SX.
Not only is the Plough well positioned along the Course for all Divisions, it is also where most crews will do a 'practice start' (it might as well be for the spectators as much as for anyone else) as they make their way to their starting positions downstream.
Parking at the Plough is limited but, courtesy of Fen Ditton Recreation Ground Trust (Charity no. 288528), the Recreation Ground will be open from 4.30 pm to 9.30pm on Thursday and Friday (only) for a small charge of £5 towards the upkeep of the recreation ground facilities. Please park there and walk to the Plough - it is not far. Please note there is no relationship between the parking charge and the Plough; the two are separate.
Please respect the needs of residents in Fen Ditton to be able to access their homes at all times and for the emergency services to be able to respond without hindrance if required. Please park respectfully on Tuesday and Wednesday and only in the car park provided on Thursday and Friday. The Police are aware of this arrangement.
Only experienced and knowledgeable spectators should watch from the towpath. Neither the Bumps Committee nor the CRA can accept any responsibility for any injuries sustained by spectators on the towpath. Cycling is strictly limited to followers of the crews taking part in the Races.
The provisional division times for the 2019 bumps are as follows:
A map which shows the whole bumps course - complete with significant waymarks can be found here