Opinion - Gavin Burke, raft-racer

Last weekend I participated in the Lewes-Newhaven raft race, with the Ousing Flankers team (an inspired name). It was our first attempt, and we were proud to come 8th in a field of 24. But it left me wondering: why is it the Lewes-Newhaven raft race, and not vice-versa? It was hardly inspiring after hours of hard graft to finish in the shadow of a rusty Transmanche ferry. The rafts should leave Newhaven (always a pleasure) on the incoming morning tide and finish in Lewes at around lunchtime. The spectators could have a lie in sitting around the banks practicing their throwing while having a picnic, and we could finish in a much more scenic setting.

Harveys could be persuaded to put up some sort of finishing line and Lewes, the town of our dreams, would have a fantastic carnival atmosphere with hog roasts and the Snowdrop doing a roaring trade. It would be better for the rafters and better for the public. I would also like to complain about the little sods with the big catapults who were firing eggs at our faces at about 5,000 miles an hour. Play fair, or next year we’ll get our own catapults.


Gavin Burke of the Ousing Flankers:
“why isn’t it the Newhaven to Lewes raft race?”