Spirit of Norway was leading the British Class 1 Powerboat Grand Prix when she missed a turning mark

A crucial navigation error while leading in the fifth lap handed the British Class 1 Grand Prix to the Victory team on Sunday and dashed Spirit of Norway’s championship hopes.

“It was my error,” admitted driver and team boss Bjorn Gjelsten, although as the talk around the paddock had it, it was an error forced by an errant spectator boat. Missing the turn buoy allowed the two Victory team boats through, and in spite of Spirit throttleman Steve Curtis’s most aggressive efforts he could not shake their grip on the race.

The battle for fourth was equally hard-fought between two other Norwegian drivers, Andreas Ugland in Jotun and Eric Kirkedelen in Jolly Motor. The only diesel boat in the Plymouth line-up (Ken Thorne and Edoardo Polli having both missed this round following accidents), the Seatek-powered Jotun lost a cylinder in the final lap when a high-pressure fuel line fractured, costing about 10mph and allowing Jolly Motor through to steal fourth place.

Saeed Al Tayer in Victory 7 remains at the top of the championship table with 72 points, with Ali Nasser in Victory 1 on 65. Spirit of Norway’s third place puts Gjelsten and Curtis on 32 points.