Beginnings of the “Two Cities Boat Race”

There have been claims that MUBC first entered Henley Royal Regatta in 1966, but it seems at least possible that this was not the first entry – further research is needed.  But what is certain is that the first annual “Two Cities Boat Race” versus Salford University was instituted in 1972.  For many years this was held as part of Agecroft Regatta, and consisted on only one (mens) race in eights.

The Club boated a number of good crews through the seventies (including entries at Henley), but struggled as the decade came to an end.  The 1979/80 season saw the Club only able to put out a four, but strangely they omitted to tell the AU and so the crew had a great season, racing all over the North using a budget intended for a rather larger club…

There was something of a renaissance in 1980, with over 60 members recruited at the start of the academic year, a new state of the art “Carbocraft” eight – the first shells made of honeycomb sandwiched between composite fibers- bought in the following spring, and a renewed presence at Henley.

1982 saw the 50th Anniversary of the re-founding of MUBC.  A celebration dinner was organised at the University Refectory (now demolished) and the guest of honour was Dr Boris Rankov, who held (and still holds) the record for Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race appearances – he rowed in all six times.

The merger of the men’s and women’s Athletics Unions was mirrored by a merging of MUBC and MUWBC, and the newly combined MUBC had its first female President in 1983/84. The Club continued to be strong for a number of years, with another “Carbocraft” eight bought in 1985, and regular experienced and novice eights boated by both the men and women.