With less than two weeks to go until the 2023 Boat Race, the last ‘fixtures’ were completed this weekend on the ‘Championship Course’ in London.

In the weeks leading up to the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race, the Coaches of the Clubs invite top quality crews from other clubs to race in ‘fixtures’ on the Boat Race course to test the line-ups. The series of races give the opportunity for the crews, and particularly the coxes, to get to know the course, and test themselves alongside strong opposition.

On occasion, both Oxford and Cambridge may race against the same opposition which can give followers the chance to try and make direct comparisons between the two crews. However, this year, the results indicated that the boat races on the 26th March are wide open and really could go either way.

Oxford Brookes, one of the leading university clubs in the UK, raced against all of the boat race crews during the fixture series, and absolutely dominated. Their fixture against Cambridge women was the first of the series, back in January, and they comfortably won all of their pieces. Brookes took on the Oxford women in the last of the fixtures and were equally controlling of the race, winning by six lengths. Brookes also raced both of the men’s crews. They took on Oxford first, on the 25th February, winning both of their pieces, by three lengths and two lengths respectively. One week later, Brookes won both pieces against Cambridge, the first by two and half lengths and the second by one and three-quarter lengths. Speaking after the fixture, Cambridge Men’s Chief Coach Rob Baker said “I think this [Cambridge] crew is fast enough to win against Oxford, but we need to implement the learnings from today in the next three weeks”.

Photo: Benedict Tufnell / The Boat Races

Both Oxford and Cambridge men and women also raced against Leander Club. Cambridge men were the first to take on the famous club from Henley-On-Thames and raced two half-course pieces. Leander claimed victory on both occasions by one and a quarter lengths in the first piece and by just one quarter in the second. Leander also claimed victory over the Oxford women, although were disqualified in the second of three pieces following a clash. When Leander came up against the Cambridge Women a few weeks later, the light blues won by 1/3 length in the first piece, but Leander overcame Cambridge to win the second piece by one length, and the third by half a length. In the final fixture of the series, Oxford’s men raced against Leander in an exceptionally dramatic race with clashes and challenging conditions. Leander led for much of the race, but Oxford took advantage of the final bend to pull ahead and taker a narrow win. However, the Oxford cox Anna O’Hanlon received stern words from race umpire, Sarah Winckless after the race for aggressive steering.

In the middle of the fixture series, Cambridge men took on a crew made up of Dutch National Team members. The crews raced two pieces over the boat race course with Cambridge winning the first piece and the Olympic hopefuls from the Netherlands winning the second. The ‘local knowledge’ of the Cambridge crew paid dividends, particularly as they experienced some very choppy conditions.

Fixtures complete, the Coaches now have just a couple of weeks to make final improvements ahead of the races on Sunday 26th. The races will be broadcast around the world with the women’s race starting at 16:00 BST and the men’s race at 17:00 BST.  Full details on how to watch the race can be found