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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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