Major celebrations on the Quayside for The Siemens Boat Race of the North


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Engineering company, Siemens is sponsoring the Siemens Boat Race of the North for the next two years – a company working to create a smarter, more sustainable energy supply for UK cities and infrastructure.

Boat Race of the North

Saturday 11 May
1.30pm – 3pm
Newcastle and Durham Universities Rowing teams including a club race. 

For the 19th year local rivals, and two of the North East’s leading universities, Newcastle and Durham Universities will go head to head in the Siemens Boat Race of the North on the River Tyne on Saturday 11th of May.  This year, the rowing event will run alongside the carnival-style celebrations created by the Champions Rugby Village on the Quayside to celebrate Newcastle hosting a weekend of professional, championship rugby.

The Heineken Champion Cup and European Challenge Cup, the most prestigious event in European Club Rugby, will take place at St James’ Park on Friday 10th May and Saturday 11th May.

Thousands of sports fans are expected to congregate on the Quayside to enjoy all the activities that are being laid on for the visiting rugby fans.  A large screen positioned at Newcastle Law Courts will broadcast both the rugby match and the University rowing races for the crowds to enjoy.  The public will be able to zip-wire off the Tyne Bridge as well as try their hand, or their foot, at kicking a rugby ball into the Tyne as well as other sporting challenges linked to both the rowing and the rugby.

As part of the Siemens Boat Race of the North, seven rowing races will take place on the river starting at 1.30pm in the afternoon – building up to the blue ribbon events, the men’s and women’s 1st eights.  The Rowing will provide an early afternoon sporting spectacle for the fans on the Quayside as they wait for the rugby action, which kicks off at St James’ Park at 5pm.

Unlike the famous Oxford vs Cambridge boat race, which is 6.8km long, the Siemens Boat Race of the North is more of a sprint at 1,500 metres.  Depending on the river conditions, each race will last approximately five minutes.  Racing starts at the Redheugh Bridge and finishes at the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, with the club race starting the racing action at 1:30pm.

The University boat race is a fiercely contested event, which Newcastle has dominated since its return in 2015.  Due to the Beast from the East, last year’s event had to be rescheduled and instead took place on the river Wear, at Durham Regatta.  Newcastle retained the coveted trophy with wins in both the men’s and women’s 1st 8 races.

While the rowing excitement unfolds on the river, there will be lots of things for the public to enjoy on land with a Siemens Energy Rowing Machine Challenge. Prizes will be available for those who record the fastest times.  The Energy Challenge will show how the energy system is changing in the UK – with more power generation being more local, with energy consumers now part of the energy system, generating energy themselves through solar panels on their roofs.  The challenge of generating enough energy to power a household object shows how much energy we need to generate, especially at peak times. Local club, Tyne Amateur Rowing Club will also be scouting for new rowing talent among the public who take part in the Challenge.

There will be plenty of family friendly activities, food and drink stalls, live bands and a stage for entertainment as part of the Rugby Fan Village.    The village will be open from 10am – to 11pm on Saturday and a firework finale will bring the weekend to a close at 10.30pm.

Colin Henry, Siemens said:

“As a major North East employer with a strong partnership with Newcastle University we’re delighted to be sponsoring the Boat Race of the North and creating the opportunity for local rivals, Newcastle and Durham to thrash out their competition on the river for the 19th year.  It is a pleasure to support our local universities where we have so many activities looking at sustainable energy from Internet-of-Things Lab at Newcastle to a research centre into battery life.   I’m sure each race including the club one will be hotly fought contests and we are delighted to be playing our part in adding to the major celebrations on the Quayside.”

Katherine Bulmer, Event Organiser and President of Newcastle University Boat Club said:

“The Boat Race of the North is a fantastic event that highlights the longstanding rivalry between the two universities.  It is a chance to showcase the talent that both clubs have on offer in the heart of the city centre.  To race through the iconic bridges that cross the Tyne is something really special and means a lot to all of the rowers involved.  We are delighted to be running this event in conjunction with the rugby celebrations and hope that we can convert a few rugby fans into rowing enthusiasts! A huge thank you must be extended to NE1, Siemens and Newcastle City Council for enabling us to put on such a spectacle.”

Tariq Albassam of NE1 Ltd who helped to bring the event to the River for a 19th year said:

“We have enjoyed working to bring the Siemens Boat Race of the North back to the Tyne and the NE1 Newcastle City Marina and are delighted that Siemens are involved and sponsoring the event for the next two years.  Siemens is a major engineering company working on creating a smarter, more sustainable energy supply for UK cities and infrastructure and the event gives them a great vehicle for raising awareness about energy generation. This year, it will be fantastic for the rowers to have thousands of people cheering them on, this year, alongside traditional rowing enthusiasts and University supporters.  Newcastle will be fighting to defend its winning title on home water and we know the rowers will give the crowds on the Quayside a great afternoon of races to enjoy.  The Siemens Boat Race of the North will be a fantastic spectacle on the Tyne and a great addition to the Fan Village celebrations. ”

Newcastle University Team Profiles

Newcastle University Boat Club may not have a James Cracknell, 46, within their ranks, with the average age of the rowers being 23 years old, but they do have eleven athletes who have trialled for the Great Britain rowing squad.

Eight of the University’s men’s team and three from the women’s team have trialled for their chance to represent GB in the next Under 23 and Senior World Championships which will be held later this year.

Newcastle University has won the Boat Race of the North for the past four years.



Siemens Energy Rowing Machine Challenge 

While the action unfolds on the water – the public will be able to have a go on the Siemens Energy Rowing Machine Challenge.

A fun competition for people to take part in will see people having to row 100m as fast as they can, with the fastest man and woman receiving a prize at the end of the day

To see the energy equivalent of the power people use while rowing a board will display the details of the following household appliances and the equivalent energy they use:

Row Time (seconds) 

Power (Watts)

Household Appliance




15 – 16

680 – 830


16 – 17

570 – 680

Coffee Machine

17 – 18

480 – 570

Washing Machine

18 – 19

400 – 480


19 – 20

350 – 400


20 -25

180 – 350


25 -30

100 – 180


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