2009 Honda Formula 4-Stroke series goes to the wire

Perfect sea conditions greeted competitors for the final three races in the Honda Formula 4 Stroke Association sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company in Douglas. It was the final chance for some of the crews to get vital podium places with battles raging throughout the field in both classes. The third race of 225hp went down to the wire in the final rounds of the 2009 Formula 4 Stroke series with the finals of both championships deciding the overall winners.

The final 225hp race of the series became a straight battle between Lings.com and Team Williams, both crews being separated by a mere three points. They raced neck and neck to the first buoy. Scott and Ken Williams squeezed out their rivals David Cowley and Paul Barkshire but in doing so let Heights of Abraham with driver Rupert and navigator Sophie Pugh take the lead, a position they maintained to the chequered flag. Team Williams secured second place overall in the race edging Double Six into third.

The Hampshire based crew of Brian Caudwell and Sean Massey kept out of trouble on the first lap and literally drove around the field to take second but a fighting and aggressive display meant Team Williams edged them out of second although still achieving a place on the podium. It took some calculating but Lings.com did enough to gain fourth slot ahead of the Power of Dreams while securing the 2009 225hp championship by one point.

In the second 150hp heat of the weekend Premier Cru was in a difficult position as they headed into the final rounds knowing that to throw away the championship would take a an incident of some kind. Driver John Wilson and Neil Scarborough had a fraught and sleepless night going through the possibilities. In the end they decided to keep out of trouble and finish mid-pack safe in the knowledge that they couldn’t be beaten as long as they finished both races.

For Team Hydrex all they could do was maintain maximum pressure taking race one at a canter ahead of the all female crew of Rose Lores and Sara Cureton in Eclipse which had the best finish of the year winning a place on the podium. Octane driven by Lee Smith and navigated by Simon Loveridge had a good start, battling with three others over the final podium place. The calm seas helped achieve one of their best finishing places of the year in a trouble free run around Douglas Bay.

In the third 150hp race, unbeknown to the huge crowds that lined Douglas promenade Premier Cru’s title ambitions almost came to an end on the start line when the crew were left behind due to a worn bush on the prop. Navigator Neil Scarborough had to keep a constant watch over his shoulder to make sure they dropped no lower than fifth overall.

Up ahead Hydrex maintained the lead to take anther maximum points… Octane carried on their great form and once they got their noses in front of the other contenders they looked like seasoned campaigners in second place. The crew had swapped seats from the first race with Simon taking wheel and Lee becoming navigator.

Team Williams with Martin Campbell and Dale Williams had a solid run into third place. They had to contend with a hard charging Rose Lores in Eclipse who didn’t have the cornering speed. Premier Cru hung on to fifth but only after Team Purple had the only major incident on the water when Stuart Cureton thrown over navigator David Sexton into the sea. Marshals kept the area clear as Stuart was helped back into the boat but their race was over, a disappointing end to the season.

Final championship standings:

150hp

Premier Cru 196

Hydrex 188

Team Williams 158

225hp

Lings.com 184

Team Williams 183

Heights of Abrahams 169