The University of Waikato rowing crews are back to defend their titles in The Gallagher Great Race this September.
This unique river racing event on the Waikato River is looking to be the best yet, with Waikato University celebrating its 50th Anniversary by welcoming top international varsity crews to Hamilton.
Accepting the challenge are crews from the United States; Harvard (men) and Washington (women). Also in the hunt to take home a trophy is old rival Melbourne University (both crews).
It’s warming up to be yet another world-class event as each boat is challenged once again to navigate and handle the extremely strong, unpredictable currents of the Waikato River. It’s superb world-class river racing action on a highly technical course.
The Gallagher Great Race has been sponsored by local business icon Gallagher since its inception in 2002 and is now in its 13th year.
The race’s international format includes a three boat competition raced upstream over a 3.8km stretch of the Waikato River, which includes going under three of Hamilton’s six bridges.
This year is especially exciting as Sir William Gallagher welcomes his old university back onto the course, having spent time at Harvard whilst completing his MBA.
“It’s fantastic to host such high calibre US universities that have strong rowing reputations. It’s a special, very challenging race, much different to the 2km format. It puts a premium on training hard, teamwork, determination and endurance. It’s a true athletic contest.”
Some of the world’s best young rowers are set to compete in the iconic Gallagher Great Race.
The men’s crews will be battling for the coveted Harry Mahon Memorial Trophy.
Harvard was beaten by Waikato in their sole previous visit in 2007. Waikato has won the men’s eight event eight times, while the women’s crew has an even better track record, winning the Bryan Gould Cup on 10 occasions. They’ll be out to make it five wins in a row when they meet Washington and Melbourne on Sunday 14 September.
Melbourne has won the women’s title once in five visits, back in 2006, while Washington has only previously sent a men’s crew in 2005.