THE organisers of Bewdley Regatta have added an exciting new set of races to this weekend’s rowing extravaganza.

Clubs from across the country will descend on the River Severn to race the traditional 800 metre course on Saturday and 600m distance on Sunday.

But Bewdley Rowing Club have also included a new shorter distance in order to give spectators the full view of the excitement.

The 200m sprint for crews of eight will start at 2pm on Saturday at the bridge and race downstream in front of the crowds.

The event, which is sponsored by The Mug House Inn, will see the winners win £450 in prize money.

Captain Simon Collingridge said: “We’re very excited by the new sprints. It means the spectators will see the entire race, instead of just the end as with the longer distances.

“That means they will see the entire spectacle of the eights taking off, which is something they don’t normally see.

“All 12 crews will start and it’s a case of winner stays on so the action will be intense and thrilling.

“I don’t think other regattas have done this before but it’s always nice to add something extra.”

This weekend’s event is also set to attract a good number of crews, with about 260 in action on Saturday and 245 on the Sunday, with races every few minutes.

The ages of competitors start at 12 or 13, and finish somewhere in the 60s or 70s, while racing on the River Severn makes it one of the biggest events of its kind.

Collingridge added: “I believe we’re set for a heat wave this weekend so the conditions for watching the action should be good.

“The heavy rain topped up the river last weekend and I believe we are due a bit of rain at the end of the week which will also help.”

The action on both days starts at 8.30am.