Boat Race: Impressive Oxford beat Cambridge

Oxford produced a storming performance to overturn the odds and beat Cambridge to win the 157th Xchanging Boat Race.

The Dark Blues, who won the toss and opted for the Surrey station, made a strong start and then produced a powerful burst to take control at Hammersmith Bridge.

Oxford's crew took full advantage as the sweeping middle bend turned in their favour to establish a three-length lead.

They were then able to take a tight line around the final bend, which should have been to Cambridge's advantage, to extend their advantage right to the line, with a victory margin of about four lengths.

Oxford's crew featured just one returning blue in president Ben Myers, while Cambridge had three previous race winners on board in George Nash, Geoff Roth and Derek Rasmussen.

Dark Blues coach Sean Bowden employed a tandem rig for the first time in the race since 1975, which saw Ben Ellison and Karl Hudspith in seats four and five rowing on the same side.

Bowden had never used the tactic before but felt it was the best way to harness Oxford's power and keep them going straight, and it worked emphatically.

Oxford were beaten from the Surrey station after winning the toss last year and the last four Boat Race winners all started on the Middlesex side.

But Isis, Oxford's second crew, raced from Surrey half an hour earlier and showed the way by demolishing Cambridge in the reserve team race.

And Oxford's blue boat never seemed in any danger of losing today.

They neutralised Cambridge's advantage around the first bend, taking an aggressive line and receiving a warning for clashing, but they reached Craven Cottage with a canvas lead.

As the river turned back in their favour, Oxford produced the race-winning surge to open clear water and from that moment controlled the racing line.

Cambridge trailed at Hammersmith 12 months ago but came back to win. Today, Oxford refused to concede an inch and they continued to pull clear, opening a lead of three and then four lengths.