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.
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.
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.
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.