Police vans were present on Turl Street last Friday as the annual ‘Turl Street Dash’ took place once again.
The Dash is an annual bike race around the streets of Oxford that has ended in the past in excessive drinking and violent confrontation between members of long-standing rival colleges, Exeter and Jesus.
The event had previously been banned by both colleges following the Dash of two years ago.
The 2009 Dash made national news, ending with students breaking into and urinating on rival colleges, throwing bikes and a fight that forced Exeter’s porter, junior dean and bar manager to step in and break it up.
However, while police vans did turn up at this year’s banned event, the confrontation did not reach the same levels of aggression that have been seen in previous years.
After 70 students from each college had assembled on the street, the race, complete with the customary drinking of ten pints followed by one for every year spent at college, got under way.
While there were shouts of abuse between the rival colleges and water was thrown, the atmosphere was distinctly less aggressive than in previous years. Some attributed this to the presence of the police van.
A first year student at Exeter claimed, “We didn’t even know if it was still going to happen”, while a member of Jesus college said, “It was all just a bit of a laugh. Nothing serious”.
The decreasing aggression between the two colleges will come as a relief for the organisers of the ‘Turl Street Arts Festival’ occurring this week, organised by students at Exeter, Jesus and Lincoln colleges.