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