More than 1,000 rowers are set to take to the water in the annual St Neots Regatta this weekend.

The two-day event on the River Great Ouse is one of the biggest in the country – and this year it will also mark the beginning of a new era for the sport.

New rules, which are designed to pitch competitors against opponents of a similar standard with the goal of producing close and exciting races, are being used.

They don't officially come into effect until April, 2018, but St Neots Rowing Club is leading the way by implementing them early.

“Everyone at the club is working really hard to prepare for this year's regatta,” said Trevor Rickwood, the St Neots Rowing Club chairman. “We've enjoyed some terrific races these past few years and, under the new rules, we'll hopefully see even more this year.”

Racing begins at 8.30am on Saturday over a 1,000m course and the action continues on Sunday over a shorter 500m course.