Websters on board for Norwich Rowing Club’s 2012 Head of the River race

Norwich's Head of the River race takes place on Saturday – and looking better than ever.

The Norwich Rowing Club-hosted event on the River Yare continues to play an important part in the region's rowing and sporting calendar, with crews of eights, fours, pairs and scullers across male and female seniors, masters and juniors taking part.

Rowers from all over the eastern region travel to take part in the testing and historic event, with an estimated 200-plus boats on the water over the course of the day.

And 2012 promises to be the race's best year yet.

The Yare course has been extended to 5,000m, starting from Riverscourt, Surlingham for the senior crews.

The longer course is unusual away from the Thames and will provide crews with a racing time similar to the Tideway Head of the River raced over the Boat Race course through the capital.

The Yare also provides ample distance and space for competitive racing and overtaking.

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The 2,000m for junior crews in two divisions starts at 10.30am and 2.15pm respectively.

'The public are very welcome to come and watch' said Norwich Rowing Club's Roger Croome.

'They can either come down to Whitlingham Boathouses, behind the Little Broad, or view from the Woods End pub, Bramerton or at the finish at Whitlingham Green.

'People can see all levels of crews from elite to novice and it is great to watch.'

For the first time, Websters Estate Agents on Unthank Road, Norwich will be the race's main sponsor. The Webster family has also donated two silver trophies – the Riverscourt Pot for the fastest men's crew, and the Websters Cup for the fastest women's crew.

The latter is the silver christening cup of Neil Webster, Charlie Webster's great uncle who was killed at the battle of Monte Cassino, Italy in 1944.

'As a new Estate Agent, Websters is very proud to be sponsors of this race,' said Charlie Webster. 'This great event brings together the local community of all ages, Norwich Rowing Club, the University of East Anglia and two schools.

'This the first year of our involvement and we are looking forward to the race going from strength to strength over the next three years.'

It will also be the first Head of the River race with Norwich Rowing Club's new Whitlingham Boathouses and 30m quayside – which also houses Norwich Canoe Club, UEA and Norwich School boat clubs and Norwich High School Rowing Club.

Phase one has already been completed at a cost of �750,000 and fund raising has started for phase two, costing a further �300,000.

'The Norwich Head of the River is very important; it involves so many people of different levels of expertise and ages from all over Norfolk,' said the rowing club's David Ashcroft. 'Seeing all these boats will be a great sight.'