The Boat Race... a real dampener

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The Independent Online
Q. Is it possible to define whose initial idea it was to create the Cambridge University v Oxford University Boat Race which is now part of the British Heritage. Who chose the route?

A. I'm not sure whose idea it was, but I, for one, will never forgive him (or her).

S James, Hackney

A. The oldest Varsity sporting event is not in fact the more famous Boat Race, but the cricket match between Oxford University and Cambridge University. It was first held on 4 June 1827 at Lord's. The initial Boat Race took place two years later, but over two and a quarter miles between Hambleden Lock and Henley Bridge rather than Putney to Mortlake. Oxford won easily in 14min 30sec. No more races took place until 1836 when Cambridge beat Oxford (in 36min) over a row from Westminster to Putney. However, for several years Henley Regatta was used for the race: not until 1856 did it become an annual event on the now traditional tideway, a distance of 4 miles 374 yards.

Tim Mickleburgh, Grimsby

Answers please

Q. In its pre-season grand prix review, a tabloid newspaper stated that Formula One cars have so much downforce that, at top speed, they can be driven on the ceiling. Is this fact or fiction?

A Brodkin, London N2

Q. Which other countries have their own exclusive national stadiums?

D Charles, Ipswich

If you know the answers to either of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894.