SMB Bearings sponsors GB rowing record attempt

Bearings 10-06-2020

Ceramic bearing specialist, SMB Bearings has partnered with ocean rowers, Gus Barton and Duncan Roy as they attempt to break the world record for the fastest unsupported row around Great Britain. SMB Bearings will be sponsoring the rowing duo by providing two sets of full ceramic bearings for their adjustable rowing boat seats.

The event which will commence in June 2020, will see the endurance athletes row 2,000 miles around the British mainland, aiming to break the world record which currently stands at 41 days, 4 hours and 38 minutes. That’s not all, the rowers will be supporting NHS Charities Together, raising vital funds for our health service during this extraordinarily challenging time.

Rowing world record  | Equipment sponsor | Marine bearingsFollowing the success of a previous transatlantic rowing application, SMB Bearings was brought on board due to its specialist knowledge of selecting bearings for marine environments. The full ceramic bearings were chosen due to their extreme weather and corrosion resistance properties. The bearings are unaffected by seawater and operate seamlessly when permanently submerged, which could make that all-important difference to the performance of the team.

“Most rowers use stainless steel bearings, but a real bugbear is having to spend time after a hard day’s rowing replacing bearings because they have rusted,” said Chris Johnson, managing director of SMB Bearings. “In endurance events such as this one, it’s incredibly important for the equipment to be working for you instead of against you. We supplied full ceramic bearings with raceways made of zirconium dioxide, which is perfectly suited to corrosive seawater conditions. This will have a positive impact on the level of exertion required and the ease of rowing.”

“Rowing around Great Britain is considered to be more challenging than rowing across the Atlantic Ocean,” explained Duncan Roy. “We’ll be battling extreme weather, some of the world’s strongest tides, ripe tides, storms, while navigating through busy shipping lanes and rocky coastlines. We’ll need to make sure our equipment is up to the job, which is why we contacted SMB Bearings.”

“Our core values of resilience and adaptation to change, will be put to the test during this challenge,” added Gus Barton. “Preparation has been key and I’m not just talking about the long hours of training. Everything from our calorie intake to the smallest boat mechanical elements, such as bearings, has been meticulously planned. We’re excited to see the performance impact of using full ceramic bearings in our boat.”

You can discover more information about SMB Bearings’ full ceramic bearing range here. Alternatively contact an SMB Bearing expert by emailing


Our determination to remain specialised gives us a high level of product knowledge, providing bearing and lubrication solutions to existing or potential customers, whether individuals or large corporations. We don’t just sell bearings, we help to solve your problems. - Chris Johnson, managing director of SMB Bearings.