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Powerboat GP blog

Adrenaline junkies this is for you

British Sprint Championships.

Just a few days to go to the Powerboat GP British Sprint Championships at Stewartby Lake,Bedfordshire and once again Britains best powerboat drivers will be converging to battle for the honours at this huge lake.

Unlike the British Championship rounds this is a completely seperate event held over 2 days with the winner  taking the title.You can bet that all drivers attending will be wanting to show off their best form and this event gives anyone a chance of silverware ,even drivers who have not had the best results in the season so far.

All classes will be taking part from GT15 TO F2.

GT15 Class has been a battle so far this season between Harvey Smith and George Elmore but with Harvey going to race at Tonsberg,Norway in an International event that he won last season it gives a chance to other drivers to challenge George.Aiden Fleet and Ethan Goodfellow have been well to the fore and will be expecting to be on the podium,but don`t rule anyone out it only takes 1 mistake or 1 bit of rough water to lose a race.971

In the GT30 Class Thomas Mantripp and Jonny Brewer will be doing battle again,but Tiegen Goodfellowand Jack Pickles will not be far away.Elliot Fleet has got his hands on another boat and has been showing good form with it so he is also one to watch out for.

In the T850 Class this season has been dominated by Bill Owen,but I know Mr Bill has had engine problems recently so who knows maybe Steve Cash or local driver Nigel Edwards can take advantage and soon Jason Brewers luck has to change.But knowing Bill Owen I think he will have the problems sorted in time.

OSY400 has been a great class to watch this year and with a few drivers who haven`t raced at all the national saying they are going to race this one should be a cracking event.Jamie Marr is leading in the National series but Jason Mantripp last season National Champion will be out to show his best form,and Wayne Moyse once he gets his new boat from Estonia set up will be a serious threat.

F4 has for me been the best class to watch this season,several drivers are so close that no one can afford a mistake,The 2 Bens Morse and Jelf were the first 2 home at Chasewater and early in the season Rob Veares was pushing Ben Morse for the win .Mike Pillow will bring his experience to the event and could easily get a place and Ray Read and Leon King will be trying to get amongst the top few.4279

On to F2 ,the premier class raced in the UK has suffered a bit from this season ,at Chasewater Colin Jelf could not race after his accident in the F4 European Championship in July but I know he was hoping to be back for this,we shall have to wait and see.Matt Palrefreyman and Owen Jelf are at Tonsberg,Norway racing in the World F2 Championship so we shall have to see who will be going for the title,whoever it is you can be sure of some great high speed racing from this 100MPH + Class.Stewartby is a great course for F2 racing if the Gods of weather are kind so with any luck we will have a couple of hot ,dry and most importantly days with little wind.

If you are in the area give us a look,it`s a free event and racing starts at approx 10am each day .

I no doubt will take far to many photographs but no change there.

Bob H.   PowerboatGP photographer.

 

World/European Championship Meeting ,Stewartby 2017.

On the 1st -2nd July 2017 ,just a few days away ,Stewartby near Bedford hosts a powerboat meeting  comprising of 1 World Championship round and 3 European Championship rounds.This is also the first time in many years that racing hydroplanes will be taking part for European championships in the UK.

If you have seen the OSY400 hydroplane class racing for the British title ,you will have some idea of what to expect.The main difference is that as the name suggests the racing  classes use  racing engines rather than stock engines,and are therefore much faster.You will notice the exhaust stacks at the back of the engine as well,these can be adjusted to allow for better acceleration whilst leaving the turns.

At this meeting the F125 class and the f250 class will be showing their speed and skills,most of the drivers will be from Europe and at the time of writing a final entry list has not been recieved.However I know that the current leader of the European Championship Marek Peeba  from Estonia will be taking part and from the UK Nigel Stopforth will bw racing,hopefully there will be quite a few more visitors.

In the F250 class David Loukotka from the Czech Republic is coming over ,David is always a quick Driver.Peter Bodor from Hungary is also competing.The UK hope here is Wayne Turner an ex European champion.566

The other class racing for it`s European championship is GT30 .This should be a fantastic event as there are always a lot of very quick visiting drivers to take on the contingent from the UK. Viktoria Soodla from Estonia should be making an appearance along with her Estonian compatriots,Sander Sarlin and Aivar Commissar.Top British drivers should be Thomas Mantripp ,Jon Brewer ,Tiegen Goodfellow and Jack Pickles.643

The World Championship taking place is for the F4 class,this is 2 seperate races on 2 days,several drivers from Finland including Juha-Matti Manninen, who is the current World champion, Magnus Sederholm,will be joined by Nikita Lijks from Latvia and many more visitors.Several British drivers will be taking up the challenge ,notably Ben Jelf,Ben Morse and Sam Whittle who all competed in the first 2 races in Finland and all finished well up the order.Also a few more British names will be racing Rob Veares and even Colin Jelf .So as you see it should be a great couple of races.

In fact the whole weekend is one not to be missed ,for myself I suppose it will end with many more photos to sort out afterwards but thats what I enjoy,so time now to get the camera and lenses in order and cleaned ready

Bob H

Spotlight on Thomas Mantripp.

Before the International meeting at Stewartby this coming weekend I had a chance to have a few words with one of the UK`s top hopes for the meeting.1107

15year old Thomas Mantripp races in GT30 Class and this will be his 7th full season of racing..He is the current British GT15 Champion and is at the moment leading the British GT30 Class championship after 2 rounds.

Although Thomas was racing last season in both classes he was mainly concentrating on the GT15 Championship and was using the other class for experimenting with boat settings etc.Having said that I know Thomas wants to win every race he enters and as he said “I don`t race to come second”.

I asked if he thought this season would be easier now he only has 1 class to focus on but he said “Not really,we had 5 seasons to get the settings right for GT15 and only last year for GT30”.

Speaking about next weekends European championships at Stewartby,he feels his biggest rivals will be the Estonian drivers,Sander Sarlin who has won Championships before,Victoria Soodla and Aivaar Commisaar,but without knowing the final entry list it`s hard to say exactly who will be up there.I know Thomas is hoping for at least a podium finish,but as was said before he will be trying for the win ,thats his way of racing.399

More on the meeting soon.

Bob H.

Vuoksi race-Imatra,Finland.

British Powerboat GP drivers Harvey Smith,GT15 Class,Ben Morse ,Ben Jelf and British Champion Sam Whittle ,all F4 Class are travelling to Imatra in Finland to compete in their respective World Championships.1417-copy

The F4 boats are racing in the first round of the championship,another round to be held at Stewartby ,near Bedford,on the 1st-2nd July and Harvey is racing in a one off championship.

We wish them all good luck and safe racing.

More about the Stewartby meeting to come later,keep watching.

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Lots of boats and great racing.

Bob.

Lowestoft GP – The Sea Mist Cometh

For me it was a late start by the water on Monday. Software issues on Sunday night meant that I was delayed looking at the days photographs, so after breakfast it was back to my room so I could at least get qualifying processed before heading back to the water.
When I arrived I arranged this time to be dropped off on a jetty on the far side so I could get a slightly different view of the boats exiting the Wherry Turn. Following a brief free practice session for each class, and the realignment of the start jetty after the increasing winds had blown it out of position, the F4 drivers lined their boats up ready to get the second round of heats underway. Around this time, the weather was beginning to turn as the fresher winds blew the clouds overhead. It was considerably cooler than Sunday, and I was starting to regret paying the forecast so little attention.

The F4 race went off without serious incident with all seven starters finishing in an almost exact copy of Heat 1’s result. Ben Jelf showed just how hard he was pushing to close the gap to Rob Veares when he spun coming out of the Wherry Turn, but it was another dominant performance by Ben Morse that saw him take maximum points so far.

The drivers in the next class, GT15, never cease to amaze me. Talking to them in the pits, they all show such levels of maturity and a love of what they’re doing. The form set on Sunday continued into Monday, with George Elmore taking Heat 2 ahead of Harvey Smith and Aiden Fleet. I also can’t take anything away from Ethan Goodfellow or Joseph and Jessica Haylock. All these young drivers drove brilliantly all weekend, but it was what happened after the chequered flag dropped that really made an impression. At some point George had spotted me on the far bank. There was no reason for him to be looking to where I was but he did, and following his win he looked straight down my lens and gave me a celebratory wave. A classy touch from such a young man.

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The GT30’s went on to provide some of the hardest-fought racing of the weekend as Thomas Mantripp and Jonathan (Jono) Brewer battled it out for the top spot and Tiegen Goodfellow and Jack Pickles fought over third and fourth. Ultimately, Monday’s races went one a piece to Thomas and Jono while the battle between Tiegen and Jack went Jack’s way both times despite Tiegen’s best efforts.

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Bill Owen continued his winning form in the T850 class, but it was Nigel Edwards who took the second spot on the second day of racing with Steve Cash third in Heat 2 and unfortunately failing to finish Heat 3.

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The OSY class, with seven entires, also provided some great racing over the weekend. Brian Shulver, having switched to the class this year, was clearly loving every minute of racing this new class, and the last time I saw Bexley Nunn racing he was in a GT30. He too seemed very comfortable racing in this very different category. The weekend belonged to James Marr though, who continued his streak of lights to flag victories.

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The final second heat, for the F2’s, went off without incident but then throughout the afternoon, a patchy sea mist rolled in from the coast and there were a number of occassions where Heat 3 starts had to be delayed because visibility was deemed to be too poor. I even heard locals saying they had never seen it roll in and sit over the broads they way it was doing. Prior to their lining up, there was talk of sending one of the F2 drivers out on a sighting lap to establish how suitable the conditions were. It was decided though that this would not be neccessary and when the Officer of the Day spotted a gap in the mist he gave the intruction for the boats to line up on the pontoon. In a repeat of the weekend’s previous results, Colin Jelf converted his pole position into another win, albeit over a shortened race distance as the combination of mist and lingering boat exhausts caused the race to be cut short on safety grounds. An impressive drive from Mark Williams saw him hold off Paul Balfour and take second in both Heats 2 and 3, with local driver Ray Birnie coming home fourth. Unfortunatly Steve Hoult suffered a mechanical issue with his new Molgaard and was unable to compete in the day’s heats.

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From here, we now look forward to heading Stewartby in a little over a month. On the weekend of the 1st and 2nd of July we will be hosting a round of the F4 World Championships and the GT30, F125 and F250 European Champonships. This promises to be yet another weekend of action, with competitors from around the world descending on Bedfordshire, and a host of British drivers joining the fray too.

We hope to see you there, and in the meantime, keep up to date on our Facebook page and by continuing to read (and like) our blog.

Bryan – Powerboat GP Photographer

Lowestoft GP – The story so far…

I don’t think there’s any way to start this other than by echoing what I heard from so many people in the pits after the day’s racing was finished. What a day! The weather couldn’t have been better for day 1 of the Lowestoft GP, and for the first couple of hours after I arrived in the pits I did as I always do and made a point of saying hi to anyone I had not yet seen. I love this time in the pits. People are busy, but normally not too busy to talk, and also they are generally quite relaxed. It gives some great opportunities for photographs that show a side to racing that a lot of people don’t often see: the sometimes qute delicate work that goes into preparing the boats, the bustling within the garages when the scrutineers turn up, and the routines that different people have and go through when preparing to race.DSC_8678

When the boats then hit the water for their qualifying session I had joined them on one of the safety boats stationed out around the course.  The course here is brilliant for photographers in a lot of ways, allowing plenty of access very close to the water.  The probelm is, from a photographers point of view, I always want to get the shot that no-one else got, and that means getting where no-one else is. Having gained permission from the Officer of the Day, Rescue Officer and Jetty Marshall, I donned my life jacket and we headed out to sit off the exit of the Wherry Turn.

Qualifying was great to watch, with drivers in all the classes giving it their all to try to claim pole position. Then when race time came around everybody was well and truly ready, and the calibre of racing was very high. The F4’s were the first class out and Ben Morse dominated the day, claiming pole by over a second from Rob Veares in qualifying and leading the race from lights to flag. George Elmore was equally dominant in the GT15 sessions, again taking both pole position and the win. GT30 qualifying was the most disrupted session of the day with two stappages, but at the end of it Tiegen Goodfellow came out on top with a cracking lap that put her first by 0.11s. Unfortunately for Tiegen she wasn’t able to maintain her position and she finished third behind Thomas Mantripp and Jonny Brewer.

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The T850 class were the next on the water, and in qualifying it soon became clear that Jason Brewer’s boat was not the happiest it has ever been. The remaining three drivers fought hard amongst themselves for pole but it was Nigel Edwards who ultimately came out on top. Sadly when their race came, Nigel was unable to get away from the start pontoon and it was Bill Owen who crossed the line first, leading Steve Cash and Nigel. Nationally, LOBMBC is the home of the OSY class and it was great to see seven on these fantastic little boats on the water. Returning to the form set by the first two classes, the pole-sitter went on to take the victory, with a lead of over half a second in qualifying and a convincing win. The final boats in each session were the F2’s. Due to international commitments for some drivers the field was slightly depleted today, but the five drivers who were here put on a brilliant display of driving and in qualifying the boats in second to fourth were covered by a little over a third of a second. But it was Colin Jelf who claimed the top spot and later went on to convert this to a heat 1 win, I believe setting a lap record in the process.

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So now we look to today, which for me will consist of pretty much the same again, only with possibly more frequent applications of sun cream. For the drivers, some are aiming to go out there and do it all again, repeating today’s performances. Others will have taken the evening to gather their thoughts, regroup, and will be going out there tomorrow to aim to improve on their points haul today.

The action on the water starts with free practice at 12pm at Nicholas Everitt Park, with Heats 2 and 3 following throughout the afternoon.

Newcomers Join The Party

For me, the Lancashire GP was a brilliant way to kick off the season. The racing was great, it was fantastic to see OSY’s racing round Carr Mill again, and the overall atmosphere of the event was exactly what you want for the first race of the year. The biggest and nicest surprise for me though, came in the form of the number of new or returning drivers that were taking part.

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The GT15 fleet was boosted by the arrival of Jessica Haylock and Caleb Jelf, both of whom certainly proved their worth over the course of the weekend, and the GT30 field was increased even more as Ralph White, Jayme Speller and Andy Cousins entered the mix. Newcomer to the series, Brad Holman complimented the OSY field, and the F4 field was the largest we’ve seen in recent years thanks to the arrivals of Martin Wood, John Donnelly, Ray Read, and the return of Mike Pillow.

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One thing that was obvious during the races was that everyone, regardless of their experience competing at national level, gave their all out on the water. The action was fast, sometimes frantic and occasionally frenzied, and the spectators on the banks and up at the clubhouse were treated to a brilliant display by all six classes.

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From a personal perspective, I took the opportunity to try out some new equipment, with varying results, but sometimes you have no alternative but to try things out “in the field” as it were. As I’m sure all the drivers will agree, you can test all you like but there’s no real substitute for getting out there in the thick of it to put your equipment through it’s paces.

So our attention turns now to the Lowestoft GP which will be wrapping up a week from now. Lowestoft & Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club (or LOBMBC, the world’s oldest motorboat racing venue) has seen bumper fields this season for their regular Thursday night race meetings, and with their large spectator area and great location this coming weekend has everything set to provide two great days of racing and family entertainment.

The action takes place on Sunday and Monday at LOBMBC, Nicholas Everitt Park in Lowestoft. If you haven’t done so before, come down and see what we’re all about – and feel free to say hello if you see me about!

Bryan

Powerboat GP Photographer

PowerboatGP update.

Hi all,

Just a quick update for you.The uk has been allocated 2 more European championship rounds this season ,the F-125  and the F-250 classes and PowerboatGP are pleased to announce that they will be run on the same weekend as the World F4 Championship round and the GT30 European Championship.These will take place on 1st and 2nd July at Stewartby Watersports club near Bedford.Please go to PowerboatGP website for more details.

For those of you you who have not seen racing hydroplanes this is an opportunity to see a completely different style of racing. Be there.,or you will be sorry you missed it.

See you all soon with another piece .

Bob ,Powerboatgp Photographer.520

The first round of the National Championship.

Carr Mill dam,near St Helens,Lancashire hosted the first round of the RYA/PowerboatGP British Championship last weekend.

This is not going to be a report as such just my impressions of the meeting.1625

The first boats on the water for qualifying were the OSY400 class,these boats were competing at Carr Mill for the first time in a few years and for most of the drivers it was a new experience.Almost as soon as qualifying had started the red flags were flying as Jamie Marr in his Estonian Mosquito boat was caught out by a gust of wind and flipped over,fortunately he was not hurt and the boat only had minor damage.

Most of Saturday was taken up with Qualifying ,each class had at least one race each also,with the rest to come on Sunday.

In all classes there were some close times in the qualifying sessions and the races were sure to be very close.Although the weather looked quite good drivers reported a gusty wind on the course and they certainly had to wary .

Starting at the begining in the GT15 Class,in the first heat Harvey Smith,no.9,had a bad start but soon worked his way to the front and stayed there till the end,holding off Caleb Jelf,Aiden Fleet and George Elmore who was having engine problems.George`s pit crew changed engines overnight and this seemed to make all the difference as he won the other two heats,however as the engine was changed he had to lose the points gained with the first one.Overall winner and very well deserved was Harvey Smith,who had the customary dunking on his first national win.

Gt 30 Class was well attended ,and for the first time on this course they had to race on the full L shaped course including the right hand turn ,not a usual thing for this class.In the first heat 2 boats were docked a lap for missing a turn marker  and when the chequered flag fell Thomas Mantripp was the winner.One driver who was competitive in all three heats was Jack Pickles and he finished just behind Thomas in second place after 3 heats.077

F4 had the most entries and some of the best racing in all 3 heats Ben Morse and Rob Veares were neck and neck ,in fact in heats 2 and 3 Rob held the lead until Ben managed to find a way past with some great driving.Ben Jelf had a good meeting in 3rd place.

OSY400 Class may not have had the most entries but still gave us some good racing .Last years champion Jason Mantripp in the Slovakian Bazinsky hull won overall with a dried out Jamie Marr in second.

The T850`s were also here to entertain the crowds and Mark Williams was racing in this class as well as F2,Mark who is a multi times T850 champion and has lost none of his skill,won the meeting from Local Lancashire driver Bill Owen.

In the F2 Class Colin Jelf had his boat and engine set up perfectly and took all 3 heats from Paul Balfour.677

So what can we get from the first round,I think in all classes the racing is going to be close this season and trying to predict who will end up as the champion yet is impossible.If I have learnt anything in 40 years of spectating it is that it`s not over till the final flag.It was also good to see so many spectators watching around the lake especially on Sunday.After all these events are free entry and always exciting to watch.

So as I always say at the end of these blogs,why not go along to meeting and see for yourself.You may even fancy a go and all clubs have training packages available.

The next Championship round is at Oulton Broad on the Bank holiday weekend at the end of May.

See you there adreneline junkies.

Bob,Powerboat GP.1625

 

 

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