Quinten Richardson became the latest in a line of Island-associated rowers to win the fabled Boat Race — but in a different locale than the usual.
The Shawnigan Lake School graduate was part of the winning Cambridge team Sunday that defeated Oxford, which included Brentwood College-graduate Martin Barakso of Nanaimo, in a gritty battle and the closest race since 2003. Cambridge hit the front early and stayed there before crossing the line a length ahead.
The event was not held on the usual route along the Thames. The 166th incarnation of the race was instead contested on the Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire due to the pandemic. The usual 6.8-kilometre distance on the Thames was reduced to 4.89-kilometres on the Great Ouse.
Cambridge won its fourth race in the past five year, and its third in a row. Richardson, 29, is the first Shawnigan Lake School graduate to contest the Boat Race since Kip McDaniel from Cobble Hill rowed for Cambridge in a losing cause in 2006.
With Richardson and Barakso on opposite crews, there was guaranteed to be an Island winner this year.
Richardson is studying for a master’s degree in planning, growth and regeneration after rowing as an undergraduate at Brown Univeristy.
Barakso, 26, is from Nanaimo and rowed at Princeton. He got his start in representative racing with gold medals for B.C. in the eight and four at the 2013 Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke, Que., and won gold with Canada in the eight at the 2015 Toronto Pan Am Games, and is preparing for the Tokyo Olympics this summer.
Alex Bebb of Vancouver was also a part of Oxford’s crew.
Richardson joins Malcolm Howard and Barney Williams, both of Victoria, as winners of the Boat Race.
Howard, a graduate of Brentwood College and Harvard who won gold with the Elk Lake-based Canadian eight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and silver at the 2012 London Olympics, stroked Oxford to victory in the 2013 Boat Race.
Williams, 2004 Athens Olympic silver-medallist in the four, won two Boat Race championships as an Oxford business student in 2005 and 2006, the latter as captain.
Up to 250,000 people line the Thames in normal times to watch the race. Cambridge leads the series 85-80 with one tie.
Cambridge also won the women’s race Sunday against Oxford.
— With a file from The Associated Press