Racing correspondant Ray Bulman reports from the 2015 Cowes Torquay classic, where Vector Martini scooped top honours for the second year in a row

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Flat seas and an offshore breeze little more than force 2 for the 2015 Cowes Torquay classic on September 6 produced record speeds.

Vector Martini Rosso (Mannerfelt/Mercruiser), driven by Peter Dredge set the pace, covering the first leg to Torquay an average speed of 95.67mph.

He and his crew completed the course virtually unopposed apart from a last-minute battle with the sole Italian entry of Maurizio Schepici driving the diesel powered Buzzi Tommy One.

This challenge however came to a sudden end with a blown turbocharger as the leading pair entered Torbay.

Veteran offshore racer Drew Langdon aboard Silverline (Buzzi/Seateck) arrived in Torquay almost 11 minutes later with Smoking Aces (Dragon/Mercruiser) – driven by Chris Dodge in a less powerful class – finishing third at a creditable average speed of 78.48mph.

With the Italian team no longer in contention it left Vector Martini Rosso with little opposition on the return leg to Cowes two hours later.

Vhid Ganjavian driving Microlink (Phantom/Ilmore) was its closest challenger but fell back with a mechanical problem in the closing miles.

Vector Martini Rosso finished the 95-mile return course at a slightly slower average of 93.47mph. Silverline came home in second place almost 11 minutes after the winner with Smoking Aces filling third slot five minutes later.

But it was a particularly poignant day for Peter Dredge and Vector Maritini, who secured their second consecutive Cowes Torquay classic victory just three months after a violent crash near Hamble Point.

Peter’s son Simon Dredge was on board when a V40R capsized during a high-speed testing run. He spent four weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries.

A separate return race from Cowes to Poole saw a much larger fleet of classic offshore races cross the start line 15 minutes after the main event was flagged away. This was won by Bubbles (Cigarette/Diesel) driven by Richard Carlton.

Both racing groups totalled in excess of 30 monohull contenders, making it the largest fleet seen at a British offshore powerboat racing event for more than a decade.