World title contest finally gets underway

A window in the weather allows Guersey organisers to declare a result

After early postponement due to severe weather conditions the 2008 World Class IIIC offshore championship finally got under way in Guernsey on Sunday. A window in the weather allowed the organisers to run two heats, sufficient under the rules to declare a result with the overall title going to veteran Jersey driver Roy Smith.

An international fleet of 18 boats representing five nations had travelled to the island to compete in what is now the most popular sub-division of Class III, a category of offshore powerboat racing launched in Britain 45 years ago.

Despite the delay – the opening heat was scheduled to take place on Thursday – the two-heat event was one of the closely fought in the recent history of the sport. Roy Smith droveCondor Ferriespowered by the same Mercury outboard he used in the recent Round Britain Race. It produced a constant performance and carried him to his third world title.

Smith drove a tactical race despite a massive challenge from the leading French contender. He finished second in both heats, a result giving him the winning score and the world championship with 600 points. It was the final icing on the cake of when the prize giving heard Roy Smith announce his retirement 22 year racing career.

It was the first time a world Class III offshore championship organiser has managed to hold two championship heats on the same day but had this not happened, the 2008 IIIC world title contest would have been abandoned.