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Chasewater

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… 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.

Kingsbury_20160703_51055

The ‘Chase’ is On…

Anyone who knows me will know how I got involved with powerboat racing and photography. To cut a long story short, it has a lot, if not everything to do with my Dad, Simon. He has always taken pictures, and mostly of some form of motor racing. In my younger days the focus was cars, but the powerboats were always there in the background. When I would asked my dad about his pictures (some of which I have included in this post) I would hear stories about places I now consider myself to know quite well; Nottingham (Holme Pierrepont), Oulton Broad and my local venue, Carr Mill. I would also hear stories of events at classic venues such as Bristol, Fairford, and Chasewater, which returned to the National calendar in 2014 and plays host to the next of this years rounds this coming weekend.

Chasewater Then and NowChasewater has created itself a place in powerboat racing history. The venue for the UK’s first ever 24 hour circuit marathon race, Chasewater club has gone on to host many high profile races over the years. Club Secretary for many of these events was Bob Goodfellow, grandfather of Tiegen who won her first National event at Kingsbury, and a man who I had the pleasure of wishing a happy birthday to on that same day.

DSC01563This brings me to my point. Powerboat racing is a family thing, both literally and figuratively. There are a number of second or third generation competitors taking part at the moment, and the wealth of knowledge and experience to hand at any given event is incredible. Beyond actual families though, this knowledge and experience is often extended out to anyone who can benefit from it.

When Matt Wood crashed at Kingsbury, he could have been left high and dry (well, perhaps not dry…) but no. Immediately on hand to help dry out his engine and get his boat ready for the final heat were a multitude of people from all over the pits, offering their services. And this was by no means a one-off. This is the norm. This is the powerboat racing family pulling together and showing what makes this sport great.

Chasewater GridsIt isn’t just the established drivers and crews who form this one, big family either. New teams, officials, everybody comes together and pulls whatever they need to out of the bag to make each weekend the best it can be, and being there to see it happen is a privilege.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I love this sport. I also love the idea that I am in some ways following in my dad’s footsteps. I love the sense of history I get when I arrive at Chasewater, having seen my dad’s pictures from the late 70’s and 80’s. The Championships are all still there for the taking, and I can’t wait until we’re back out on the water at Chasewater Watersports Centre (WS8 7NL).

Bryan

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