Rough going at Exmouth Grand-prix

Drivers and their crews competing in the third round of the RYA British National Powerboat Championship at Exmouth last weekend took something of a beating...

Drivers and their crews competing in the third round of the RYA British National Powerboat Championship at Exmouth last weekend took something of a beating during Sunday’s Jurassic Gateway Grand Prix. Breaking seas and 25knot winds counted out 11 of the 35 starters, and put a premium on local knowledge.

Not surprisingly then, the top performers on the day were local aces Stuart Anthony and Charles Williams-Hawkes who averaged 43.84 knots in their Formula 1 rigid inflatable boat (RIB) Bridge? and now lead the championship series in their class. The pair were pushed hard by Jackie Hunt and Mike Shelton until an unfortunate slip in mis-sighting the Exe turning mark, knocked them out of the results.

Another to come through strong were Mike & Dave Deacon with their Open class RIB Hot Lemon?. They set the second fastest pace to take a commanding lead in the overall championship standings for their class.

Surprisingly perhaps, the 11 non-finishers were all hard boats (as opposed to RIBs) including three of the four entries in the Class III 4litre class. Victory here went to Max Walker and Mick Spong with their despite them also suffering a badly damaged bow section.

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The 2litre Class III was more competitive with six finishers, through this too had a runaway winner in the form of Wave Slave II? piloted by Bob Lewthwaite and Val Bryant. They finished 52 seconds ahead of 2nd placed Explosion? driven by Tim Nurser and Gareth Southcombe.

Bob Lewthwaite drove a masterful race and deserves to lead the championship standings in this class? says John Puddifoot, the RYA’s Powerboat Racing Manager who finished 2nd in the Formula 2 RIB class to the aptly named Comfortably Numb? driven by Gareth Williams and Gavin Brown. However, Puddifoot’s greatest praise went to the smallest class on the water. The guys in the 1.3Litre class took a real beating and the performance by Richard and Danielle Strawford who finished two laps ahead of their nearest rivals with their boat Retribution? showed considerable skill.?

Saturday’s feature Dash for Cash? race proved to be a great success for spectators though a little confusing for competing teams. After a dash round Torbay, the two leading boats which included Stuart Anthony and Charles Williams-Hawkes, crossed the wrong side of the finish line, and by the time they had turned round, found themselves pipped to the post by Rory Power and Deborah France in their boat Agitator 2?.

Organised by the British Inflatable Boat Owners Association and Exe Powerboat and Ski Club, points scored at the Jurassic Gateway Grand-prix count towards a coveted place in the RYA National Championship to be held off Gibraltar in November. The next event in the series is the Poole Powerboat GP on August 9-12.


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