Norwegian Kjell Rokke and co-driver Jim Dilk of the United States have taken the points lead in this year's world Class I (16 litre) offshore championship series

Norwegian Kjell Rokke and co-driver Jim Dilk of the United States have taken the points lead in this year’s world Class I (16 litre) offshore championship series after driving Jolly Motor (Tencara/Lamborghini) to victory in the opening round of the series at Trieste.

The 120 mile multi-lap event off the Italian city was held on flat seas and hence soon became a race of attrition. The winner went ahead at the halfway mark as the pace began to tell but Britain’s Steve Curtis, throttling Norwegian Biorn Gjelsten aboard Spirit of Norway (Tencara/Lamborghini), hung in to finish second less than a minute astern.

Australian Bill Barry-Cotter driving the diesel powered Riviera (Riviera/Detroit) achieved one of his best results of his Class I career by filling third slot. By then high, full throttle speeds had taken its toll and the rest of the fleet had collapsed apart from the Italian outfit Binautica (Cuv/Lamborghini) that finished fourth in the hands of Roberto Biancalana. The retirements also included the two-boat UAE entered Victory Team.

It was a poor start for what should be the epitome of high speed offshore competition and did much to illustrate the growing trend of sacrificing reliability for ultimate high speeds. Peachment wins world Formula II title Britain’s Jerry Peachment (Burgess/Mercury), two-time national Formula II (Two-Litre Production Outboards) title holder, has become the first world powerboat champion of the millennium after collecting the highest points score at Epinay-Sur-Seine near Paris on May 29.

The contest held over four 20 lap heats was led in the opening race by Ragnard Friberg (Molgaard/Mercury) from Sweden. By contrast Peachment had a poor showing finishing well down in seventh after a losing power while testing a new set of induction valves on his non-fuel injected power unit.

The second round then had to be abandoned when Thani Al Quenzy (Dac/Mercury) from the UAE and Italian Roberto Carezzo (Molgaard/Mercury) collided, both performing 360 degree rolls. This round was therefore abandoned without any points allocated.

Round three was won by Italian Fabio Compareto (Dac/Mercury) with Sven Jannsson (Dac/Mercury) from Sweden second and Bruno Corsin (Dac/Mercury) of Italy third. But it was in the fourth and final round where misfortune turned the tables on the flying Compareto.

Italian points leader Fabio Compareto now started on pole position and it wasn’t long before he was again heading the fleet. But as he sped up the straight on the fifth lap Jannsson began to make his challenge. Compareto saw it coming and quickly altered course away from the river bank: a manoeuvre that was to cost him, Jannsson and Corsin any chance of championship honours.

The back-draft caught the hulls of Corsin and Jannsson flipping them over. All drivers escaped injury thanks to their cockpit safety cells but it marked the end of their championship.

When the race restarted it became the turn of the British team to lead the way. The previous three top points leaders were no longer in contention and Jerry Peachment followed by team-mate Ted Walsh (Dac/Mercury) took first and second with ease: a result giving Peachment the title with a final score of 42 points.

World Formula II Championship
Final results

1. J.Peachment (GB) Burgess/Mercury 42pts
2. T.Walsh (GB) Dac/Mercury 34pts
3. Fabio Comparato (Italy) Dac/Mercury 33pts