Torquay hosted the first race meeting of the 2019 OCRDA Championship consisting of 7 rounds – future rounds at Caernarfon, Westbay, Lowestoft, Howth (Ireland) - the venues for rounds 6 and 7 are yet to be confirmed.
The format of a race weekend is two 25 minute races on both Saturday and Sunday. The boats are split in to 4 classes based on engine size.
The weather for the weekend was overcast, with a brisk wind whipping up quite a swell – the rougher conditions being on Saturday. The sea off Torquay was a major challenge for the 17 boat fleet – this was down on the large number of boats that started the 2018 season – hopefully a few more boats will join the fray as the season progresses.
As a warning to the competitors, the conditions claimed their first victim before race 1 on Saturday had started. The Frode 25 “Enforcer” of Nick Newsam went over as the boats were warming up. This led to a delay whilst the boat and crew were recovered. Fortunately the crew suffered no injuries and the boat was towed back to shore. However, “Enforcer” would take no further part in the weekend’s proceedings and spent the rest of the weekend being dried out on Beacon Quay. Hopefully it will be out again at Caernarfon. “Enforcer” was one of only two entries in Class 1 / Formula Sport – so the other boat – the stunning “Fat Boy” Cougar 27 of Mark Childs had lost its only competition.
The majority of the entries were in the Class 2 / Formula 1 and Class 3 / Formula 2 categories where the competition was fierce. Last years Champions, Jeremy Gibson and Malachy Browne were back again to defend their Championship. This time in the Phantom 19 “Who Dares Swims”. The race commentator mentioned that Jeremy had only sat in the boat half an hour before race 1! Once racing was underway, it was the pairing of Gibson and Browne way out in front – a superiority that they maintained for races 2 and 3 as well. The highly experienced Jeremy Gibson showing off his fantastic racecraft and seamanship in the difficult conditions.
The final race on Sunday was the most exciting of the weekend with a very close battle at the front – lead again by Jeremy Gibson, but this time he could not open up a lead – Bob McCarthy in the Bernico F3 “If Only” and Richard Dean in the Phantom 21 “Joker” were keeping Jeremy very honest. Bob McCarthy seemed to slow slightly which let Richard Dean into second, and at one point, he was nose to tail with Jeremy Gibson. However, whilst overtaking a back marker, some superb driving by Gibson enabled him to open up a slight lead which he was then to keep until the chequered flag.
In Class 3 / Formula 2 it was Chris Brown in “Chris Brown Marine” who took the honours from Craig Temple-Murray in “Matahari 4”.
It was great to see Annika Hawthorn returning to racing, driving Jamie Stickler’s “Team Rooster”. Annika was injured in the horrendous accident at last years West Bay race which sadly claimed the life of her partner Kevin Edmondson. She was the only lady competitor.
During the intervals between the races, there was a great demonstration of jet ski acrobatics to entertain the spectators.
A stunning looking McLaren 650S was on display from event sponsors HR Owen.
It looks like the 2019 OCRDA season is going to be another exciting one - OCRDA – where the action is!
The overall weekend results:
Class 1 / Formula Sport
Fat Boy – Mark Childs / Stuart Unwin
Class 2 / Formula 1
Who Dares Swims – Jeremy Gibson / Malachy Browne
Joker – Richard Dean / Michael Barnes
If Only – Bob McCarthy / James Goldsmith
Class 3 / Formula 2
Chris Brown Marine – Chris Brown / Pete Snell
Matahari 4 – Craig Temple-Murray / Paul Scott
51 Racing – Simon Harding / Mark Lloyd
Calypso – Sam Jackson / Perry Murphy
Fat Boy Swim – Andy Childs / Chris Ellis
For a selection of my pics from the event, please visit my Flickr album https://www.flickr.com/photos/rivier...57691348263463
To view a video of the weekend’s action, please visit my YouTube channel