Powerboat GP blog

Adrenaline junkies this is for you

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




Lancashire Grand Prix.

Just under a week to go until powerboats roar back into action at Carr Mill Dam,Lancashire for the Lancashire Grand Prix.This is also the first round of the 2017 Powerboat GP British Championship.

This is the time of the year that always gets me excited to see which drivers will show up with anything new for the season and it`s the meeting of old friends again after what seems like a long winter.

As always all classes will be close fought affairs right till the end,and I have no idea who will end up with the title.

But dont let us get ahead of ourselves,most of the drivers have had some practice meetings to get their boats sorted so wont be going in totally cold.

As always new drivers,new boats and new sponsors will be making their appearance and having watched a few practice meetings I have to say some of the new colour schemes this season are great and very professional looking.

One of the new drivers who I have seen is Jamie Atlee in the GT15 Class ,he seems to me to be progressing very well for a newcomer .I know of several more new drivers in various classes this season which is always good news.009

I have to say the F2 boat of Matt Palfreyman was looking good at the Stewartby  meeting on the 23 April and he had the Baba boat lapping quickly by the end of the days racing.926

If you haven`t been to watch racing before go and have a look ,to check times and places go to Powerboat Gp website or their Facebook page for all the details.

As we have said before if you fancy a go contact your local club they will have training boats that can be used,who knows next season it could be you battling for a title                .

Bob,Powerboat gp photographer.





Stewartby Practice Meeting.

Hello All powerboat fans,

Last Saturday and Sunday a practice and testing meeting was held at Stewartby.These meetings are important at the begining of the season to allow drivers to try out new equipment and to get back into the swing of things after the winter break.

I went on Sunday so I will let you know about some things from then.785

F4 looks to be a class on the up in this country at the moment with new boats and drivers appearing from everywhere.7 boats turned up on Sunday and with several more regulars not attending we should have a great class this season.Rob Veares has got a new boat and it has a great black and blue colour scheme and should stand out .John Donnelly is using the ex Jordan Muckles boat and once he gets used to it will be a useful addition.Although he was not at this meeting British Champion Sam Whittle has a new Baba hull from Italy and has been testing near the factory.Another new driver attending was David Gibbs who had a good weekend,Oulton Broad driver Ray Read has got Rob Veares old boat and hopes to be doing the national series.With the two Ben`s, Jelf and Morse also racing I must say I am looking forward to this season.

Jonny Brewer was testing 2 ex Ben Jelf hulls in GT30,which one he will use is anyones guess.Elliot Fleet was going well ,unlike most of the other drivers in this class he uses an Evinrude engine as opposed to Tohatsu. Thomas Mantripp will be concentrating on GT30 class this season and was another who had a good practice meeting.Another driver who had a good day was Tony Judge.642

In GT15 George Elmore has a new boat and he had it going really well,he should be up front ,Harvey Smith was not attending after he hurt a leg in a non boating accident a few weeks ago,when he is back he will take a lot of beating.

OSY 400 is another class that should be well supported this season,on Sunday The Moyse racing team were trying new equipment Wayne Moyse with a great new colour scheme and this season with a team mate Brad Holman who had several outings last year in the training boat.684

2 formula boats were testing Mark Williams and Steve Hoult with his new Molgaard from Denmark.

This is the start of what should be a great racing season,there is another club /testing meeting at Stewartby on 22nd -23rd of April.Oulton Broad starts it`s regular Thursday evening racing on the 20th and at the end of the Month 28th-30th the first National championship meeting of 2017 at Carr Mill ,near St Helens ,Lancashire

Go on give us a look ,you will enjoy it.

Back soon

Bob H.

Powerboat Racing behind the scenes.

Hi all,With news still being in short supply and the 2017 powerboat season getting closer I thought I would give all you newcomers a bit of a look at what goes on behind the scenes at any National Championship powerboat meeting.

The first thing that happens on the day of the race is scrutineering,which means that every boat that has entered has to be checked by one of the appointed technical team.They are checked for all the relevent safety regulations for both the boat and driver.Also each boat has to meet the rules laid down for that class.

Once the driver and boat has passed inspection they can sign in with the Race Secretary,who will check the driver licence and any certificates needed for the boat and make sure it has passed the technical inspection.They may also collect any entry fees outstanding.

After this drivers are free to prepare their boats for the practice/qualifying sessions to come.

Before any boat is allowed on the water,the officer of the day,basically the person in charge of the event calls a drivers briefing,which is compulsory for all drivers,the younger drivers in class GT15 have to be accompanied by an adult to these briefings.The briefings will cover anything the officer of the day thinks the drivers need to know ,such as how the course is laid out,order of racing,timings and any other race business.This also gives the drivers a chance to ask any questions they may have.

During the racing any boat that has an accident will be rechecked to make sure it is safe to race again,and any protests may be heard by the jury which usually comprises of one member of each club that has a driver competing(in international racing this will be one person from each country competing).

All national meetings in the UK are attended by an Royal Yachting Association (the governing body) official who makes sure the rules are kept to.

After racing the first 3 boats in each class are parked in a secure area and the engines and boats checked to make sure they are legal as to size etc.Once these have been completed the prize giving can bve arranged another thing that is compulsory for all drivers to attend.

This gives just a brief idea of what is going on behind the scenes at the races you may attend.

Try coming to one of our meetings this year I`m sure you will enjoy it we aare all a friendly bunch.

Bob -Powerboat gp photographer




More news for 2017

Hello again,more for you from PowerboatGP,and the racing for 2017.

We have a provisional fixture list for the British Championship rounds and a World and European Championship meeting in July at Stewartby,near Bedford.

The British rounds are

Lancashire Grand Prix –April 28th-29th at Carr Mill Dam ,St Helens.

Lowestoft GrandPrix—May 28th-29th at Oulton Broad ,near Lowestoft.

Kingsbury Grand Prix—July 8th-9th at Kingsbury water park,near Birmingham.

Cannock Grand Prix—July 15th-16th at Chasewater,Cannock..

Bedford Grand Prix—Sept 16th-17th at Stewartby,near Bedford.

Sheffield Grand Prix—at Rother Valley Country Park.( a venue that has not been on the calendar for quite a few years.

Also on July 1st and 2nd at Stewartby,we have a round of the World Formula 4 Championship and the European GT30 Championship.One not to be missed this.

So as you see we cover quite a bit of the country with our racing,should be a course somewhere near you.1417-copy

I also have some news about one of the GT15 class drivers.Harvey Smith ,son of ex racer Martyn,  is one of our top drivers in this class and this season is hoping to do better than last,a difficult task when you consider he was always in the top 2 or 3 throughout the season,and  he took his boat to Norway and won,beating some of the top European drivers,you can see what a hard job that will be to better that,.However I have a feeling that he will do us all proud on his travels in 2017.

The F1 Atlantic driver will be competing in all the rounds of the British Championship and also is travelling to Imatra,Finland for the World GT15 Championship in Jun and the European Gt15 Championship at Aluksne,Latvia in Aug.Speaking to his father I`m told he is also planning some more trips to Scandinavia to race and and alo plans to watch as many of the Formula 1 Championship rounds as possible.

I am also informed that he is also testing in Formula 4 this season,so a very busy season awaits Harvey and team.

Thats all for now ,will be back with more news when I get it





News for 2017 season.

Hello to you all,may all of us at Powerboat GP wish you a belated Happy New Year and hope your year is healthy and sucessfull.

Now on to news for the 2017 season of powerboat racing in the UK.

As I have said before a lot of the drivers keep their plans very much to themselves and we will only know who has what when the boats turn up at the first meeting.However I have managed to get some info for you,just as a taster.The OSY 400 hydroplane class should be good this season with new boats and more drivers to compete ,hopefully a full championship can be held.Last seasons runner up Jamie Marr has got hold of a new boat from Mosquito boats in Estonia and as  the first of this make in this country should be interesting to watch how it performs.His last seasons Kala hull also from Estonia has been aquired by David Smith and if I know David he will be trying his best to be near the front of the pack.Last seasons champion Jason Mantripp is sticking with the hull he got from Miroslav Bazinski ,albeit with a new paint job.In fact I have been told that quite a few of the boats are having new colours for this year.Wayne Moyse is another driver who will be doing his utmost to put his ex Luke Hugman hull at the front,but that of course applies to all the competitors.

2016 GT15 Champion Thomas Mantripp is concentrating this season on GT30  so in the smaller class the championship is a very open affair with no obvious winner should be very close racing here.

In F4 I do not have any specific information to give but I think there may be a few more drivers  which is always good.Ben Jelf after his success at the speed records at Coniston in October should be a contender now he has had more racing time in this class so we will have to wait and see.

The other news I have is in the F2 class .Ex champion Steve Hoult has once again got sponsorship from WNT who supply metal cutting tools to the engineering industry.Oulton Broad driver Ray Birnie is working on a composite hull at the moment .The big news however was revealed today at the London Boat Show.Matt Palfreyman of Pepstar racin has unveiled his new boat.A Baba boat from Italy it has got sponshorship from among others E.P.Barrus who are a Mercury engine dealers and should be able to supply Matt with the best expertise when it comes to setting the 2.5 ltr engine up.Matt is intending to race in the World Formula 2 championship again this season and I hope he is able to fit in the British Championship rounds as well.

1118-copyIf I get any more info be sure I will pass it on,all the best to you all

Bob,Powerboat gp photographer.

More Ramblings

Hello again,

In the off season for powerboat racing news is usually quite thin on the ground ,if I get any worth passing on I will post it on here.

As anyone who knows me and some who may have read these blogs before I am a power boat racing nut,I have been watching and photographing the racing for over 40 years and don`t think I will be stopping anytime soon.I have made many friends in the sport and have found most of the people involved to be a friendly lot ,quite often a lot of mickey taking goes on but that helps to build friendships.194

Most of my experience has taken place at my local course of Oulton Broad,Suffolk,which must be one of the more difficult courses to drive,being a straight up and down 2 bouy course with one very tight turn and one with more room.That`s what I like about the courses in England they are all so very different to one another.

I have watched racing at most courses in England some of which are no longer in existence,and have also been to Europe to watch some meetings so wherever you are you can find racing near you,there are not many areas in the world that don`t race in some form or another.

Although I have been watching  all this time I`ve never actually had a go at racing,probably too old and big now.But if you fancy having a go, all clubs have training facilities and would be pleased to help you in any way.474-copy

Changes are always happening in the sport and one season is never like the one before,some drivers may retire but new ones come along to take their place,some move to a new class of boat so nothing stands still.This time of year is always a case of who has got what for next year,some drivers like to keep news very close to the chest while others are happy to let others know what is happening.

As I said earlier as soon as I find out any news about next season I will let you know.

Back again soon.


Out of season ramblings.

Hi there all you speed freaks,

Now that the powerboat racing season has come to an end for 2016,this is the start of  a series of ramblings by me about various subjects connected to the racing.

I always think this is a good time not only to look back on the past season but to look forward to the next one.This last season we had some great racing both nationally and internationally,and some of our home grown drivers had great success in their classes.For instance Thomas Mantripp taking 3rd place in European championship for GT15 boats,Harvey Smith travelling to Scandinavia and winning also in GT15 ,never an easy thing to do.Moving up classes Ben Jelf and Tiegen Goodfellow had a season long battle for the GT30 British championship.In F4 Ben Morse made a comeback late in the season and promptly took 3rd place in the European championship.In the F2 class Owen Jelf just failed to take 3rd in the World championship series,a great effort in a new boat.Looking forward to 2017 all these drivers will be looking to push on ,some of them will be moving up to other racing classes some no doubt will be trying to better their 2016 efforts.

As always there are plenty of boats for sale at this time of year,any drivers with new boats over the winter will no doubt be playing their cards very close to their chests,and not saying a lot about them till nearer the new season.There are always plenty of rumours going about at this time of year and not all will be true,thats the excitement for me ,who`s got what and who did they get it from.2020-copy

If any of you out there think I would like to have a go at that get in touch with your local club,there are clubs all over the country.They all have training boats  for people to try.The usual way is to start training in say GT30 Class and work up.

Some of the clubs  are Lowestoft &Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club,based near Lowestoft.Stewartby Powerboat club,near Bedford.Lancashire Powerboat racing club,Carr Mill ,Near Haydock.Midland powerboat club,Kingsbury waterpark near Birmingham.Windermere club,in the lake district.Try looking on Google you may be able to find more.They will all be able to help direct you to the nearest to you.

If you don`t fancy racing, photo opportunities are to be had at all meetings.More about that in a later ramble.

I must have been watching and photographing powerboats for about 40  + seasons now and still love the sport.Maybe another idea for another blog later.Above all if you get involved just enjoy it.

See you all later.

Bob H1831-copy






The European powerboat championships 2016.

On September 24th and 25th the European powerboat championships were held at Stewartby Lake near Bedford.

Three classes raced over the 2 days ,the 120 mph + F2 boats ,F4 catamarans and the GT15 class for the younger drivers.

The weather gods did not want to play ball that weekend and the course was very rough and windy,however it did not stop the meeting going ahead.Unfortunately some drivers were caught out by the wind and flips and barrel rolls,the good news is that none of them were hurt  badly,surely a testament to the safety regulations now in force.

I don`t intend to post a long and probably boring report,thats not my thing so I will go over some of the highlights.

In Gt 15 class 15 drivers were signed in to race from countries like Sweden,UK,Estonia and Norway.After 4 hard fought heats Stefan Arand from Estonia was crowned European champion,second was Adam Wrenkler from Sweden and Third was the British champion Thomas Mantripp.Praise must be given to all these young drivers who battled hard all weekend in terrible conditions in their small lightweight boats.1844

F4 had 13 entries from France,UK,Finland,Norway,Germany/Russia,Latvia and Sweden.At the end of their heats Finlands World champion Juho Matti Manninen was declared the winner with 3 heat wins,in second place was Magnus Sederholm also from Finland and in 3rd  Ben Morse from UK,Ben did extremely well having only returned to racing a few weeks ago after a break..Hopefully we can get some extra boats in this class in next years British championship.2757

Now the F2 class and 19 boats were on the list from Sweden,UK,Austria,Germany/Russia,France,Lithuania,Latvia,Norway,Hungary and Portugal.After their Qualifying Johan Osterberg had pole position,But Britains Matt Palfreyman beat him off the start line and took the first win.This was especiall good because in the free practice in the morning Matt rolled his boat and it was only with the help of his and other teams that he was able to take part.

After 3 heats however the winner from Latvia was Uvis Slakteris in his immaculate looking Mollgaard hull,Matt Palfreyman finished second overall and third was Colin Jelf also from the UK,another great performance as Colin has only had this boat for a couple of weeks.3062

All drivers ,officials ,rescue crews and other volunteers deserve praise for putting on such a great race meeting.



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