Powerboat GP blog

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Cannock GP

Focus On… Jack Pickles – TopCat Racing GT30

So Jack’s dreams of scoring his first ever National podium came true last weekend. Some of the closest racing of the weekend came from the GT30 class, and Jack found himself frequently embattled with Thomas Mantripp.

Jack’s boat clearly has the pace to mix it up towards the front of the field, and at Chasewater Jack showed that he has the racecraft to match. His lines were good, and he held his own. If anyone wanted to pass him, Jack was going to make them work for it, and Jack also put together a couple of beautifully times moves to pass people on his was to third overall.

Cannock_20160717_54826Jack’s dad tells me he has a “Breakfast of champions”… In less than two weeks we will all be heading to Stewartby for the one-off Sprint Championship weekend. Will Jack continue his charge towards the front?


My “Not A Race Report” – Cannock GP

For the third year running, Powerboat GP returned last weekend to Chasewater Watersports Centre for this year’s Cannock GP. Steeped in history, this venue saw three more heats of GT15, GT30, F4 and F2 racing (no T850’s as it was one of the two weekends racing is permitted on Windermere) take place over the two days.

Cannock_20160716_51765Chasewater is one of those places where a long lens is really useful. On Saturday, I headed down on to the dam. The sky was dark and the air was damp, not the most conducive to good photo’s, but I wanted to see what the head on view was like as the boats passed the pits approached the first turn. Later in the day I headed back to the pits and focused my attention on using what little light there was to best effect, getting some fast panning shots as the boats passed at pretty much the closest part of the lap to the shore.

Cannock_20160716_51883Sunday was a different ball game. The sky was blue and it was all together a much better day for photo’s. In fact, it was hard to believe that these were two consecutive days. What was consistent over the two days was the quality of the racing. Right across the range of classes the racing was close, hard and fair. Some of the locations I have shot from in previous years were inaccessible due to the high water level, but I managed to find some equally good (or in one case I think better) alternatives to see Thomas (GT15), Ben (GT30), Sam (F4) and Paul (F2) take their overall weekend victories, and also I feel Jack Pickles deserves a mention for his first ever National round podium finish.

Cannock_20160717_55255Powerboat GP head to Stewartby Lake near Bedford next – the final venue of the season but there are still three events to run. The first of these is the Sprint Championship on the 6th & 7th August. It’s all to play for at this stand alone championship event. Why not come along to see who will be crowned 2016 Powerboat GP Sprint Champion?

Focus On… Jack Pickles – TopCat Racing GT30

A couple of days ago, Jack told me he wanted to score his first podium this weekend. He moved a step closer to that goal with his performance today, in fact you could say three steps closer, as the GT30’s had their qualifying and first two heats today, leaving only one race for them tomorrow.

With a great effort in qualifying, Jack managed to claim third on the grid behind Ben and Tiegen, and managed to keep his position through race one. Heat 2 looked like it was going to be a different story though. As the lights went out and the boats took off from the start pontoon, Jack’s boat remained there for several seconds before he managed to get it going. What followed was, in Jack’s own words, “The best race I’ve ever done.” Over the first two laps, Jack managed to chase down and pass Nigel and Tony, and then the task was to reel in Thomas.

Watching from the timing tent, I could see the gap closing, them, right in front of the crowded pit area, Jack made his move. Coming in to the final turn, Jack positioned his boat perfectly, giving himself a run up the inside and the best line into the first corner.

Cannock_20160716_53457“I promised myself I’d keep going straight this weekend. If anyone wanted to pass me, they’d have to work for it,” he told me after the race. “Once I had passed Thomas, I just tried to keep my lines as tight as possible so as not to give him any chances.”

Cannock_20160716_53528So that’s two thirds for Jack so far at the Cannock GP, and he’s well on his way to his target. What can he do today? Why not come along and see for yourselves?

Focus On… Osprey Powerboat Rescue Team 

The day starts early for the Ospreys. Not only are they responsible for rescue duties during racing, but before any boats can go out on the water Osprey need to set the turnbuoys. 

Following this, the begin to set the boats up. They cover the course using two drop-front boats, each of which must carry exactly the same medical equipment. 

One the boats are ready, it is then the turn of the crew themselves to ensure they have all their gear on board. This is a slick, well-drilled process, and having got to know a few of them over time I can see that as much as they like a laugh, they know whilst wearing the Osprey babe they have one job  and one job only. 
The GT30’s are launching for qualifying as I write, and Osprey are on station. The last thing I’ll hear on my radio before the competitors head out  will be the words “Safety Officer to OOD (Officer of the Day), water is clear.”

Focus On… Jack Pickles – TopCat Racing GT30

Day one of the Cannock GP is here and driver’s briefing has just ended. I grabbed a quick word with Jack whilst his boat was being scrutineered. 

He’s really excited for today, and looking forward to hopefully making up list ground from the start of the season. There’s a moderate breeze blowing across the water, whipping up a few waves which Jack feels will help his cause – he feels confident on rough water.

In a little over 20 minutes, Jack and his fellow GT30 competitors will take to the water for the first of this weekend’s qualifying sessions and I feel an air of confidence from every driver I’ve spoken to so far. This one, is going to be good. 

Focus On… Jack Pickles – TopCat Racing GT30

Kingsbury_20160703_51603The first of this weekend’s “Focus On” features will be following young GT30 racer, Jack Pickles. Jack has been on the scene for a couple of years now and has established himself as a hard but fair competitor. I caught up with Jack earlier this week to get his take on the season so far.

Kingsbury_20160703_50784“The Nationals this season have been a great learning curve for me, experiencing a new class and seeing how differently the boat handles. They haven’t really gone as planned though, as we got a DNF at Lowestoft, got docked a lap at Carr Mill, and then missed a turnbuoy at Kingsbury. We’re hoping to score all the points we can at Chasewater and hopefully gain our first podium.”

Jack will be competing in this weekend’s round of the RYA Powerboat GP GT30 Championship at Chasewater, WS8 7NL. Come and see the action for yourselves, and don’t forget to say hi if you see Jack or any other drivers during your visit!

Focus On… The Osprey Powerboat Rescue Team

The second of our “Focus On” features this weekend will look at the Osprey Powerboat Rescue Team. Chasewater has an important place in the history of the Ospreys. Almost 50 years old, the team came into existence when a group of divers from Stafford Sub Aqua Club were asked to attend a powerboat race at Chasewater. Witnessing the rescue provision at the event, the club members felt that they would be able to greatly improve the rescue response provided, and they set about creating the Osprey Powerboat Rescue Team.

Kingsbury_20160703_50409Not only did they put together a team of specialist divers, they also designed a boat that would help them to assist an injured driver with minimal risk of aggravating any injuries that may have been sustained. Their powerful, drop-front craft is a design that has been adopted by many rescue teams around the world and has over the years helped save many drivers from the additional trauma of being hauled over the side of a conventional boat.

Worlds_20150829_24576This weekend, as well as providing rescue at Chasewater, Osprey are also attending the F1H2O race in Evian, France, and a third event at Windermere, on one of the few weekends per year they allow racing there.

Over the course of the weekend, the Powerboat GP blog will be checking in with the Osprey members in attendance at Chasewater and giving you an insight into the work that goes on behind the scenes with the world’s longest running circuit powerboat rescue team.


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