The weekend of the 5th / 6th May 2018 saw Round 1 of the Aqua Adrenaline Tour powerboat series come to Torquay. The Round comprised 2 races on both Saturday and Sunday - each race lasting 25 minutes plus 1 lap of a course around Torbay. The whole lap being visible to the large crowd gathered on Haldon Pier which provides an excellent vantage point and also serves as the dry pits for the teams.
The racing took place in glorious Bank Holiday sunshine on the English Riviera. The sea conditions were virtually flat on Saturday, although 3 boats were upended with the red flag coming out whilst recovery took place. The important thing, there were no injuries to the crews......just flooded outboards and very wet drivers....and damaged pride. On Sunday, there was a good swell much to the drivers delight....and all the boats remained upright.
This race series has become enormously popular under the Chairmanship of very experienced racer Bob McCarthy. The OCRDA broke away from the constraints of the RYA last year and for this season over 40 teams have registered to compete in the 5 race series 32 of them turning up for the first round. Only a few years ago the numbers dwindled to single figures and it looked like racing at this level may pass into history. Thanks to the hard work and enthusiasm of Bob, his team, and the competitors, this is now the largest race series in Europe.
There were many teams returning from previous campaigns, and a lot of new faces too. One of the new for 2018 competitors was Max Walker an experienced racer over the years who last achieved success in the early 2000s in Batboat.com . Returning to racing after a few years away, now in Racer Division, a B23 Mannerfelt / Mercury XS and he was joined by Daisy Coleman as navigator. Daisy has been racing for the last six years after leaving the Royal Artillery. She has been incredibly successful 2017 and 2016 P1 Superstock Champion (with brother Sam) after being runner up in 2015 and 2013 P1 Sports Personality of the Year. Unfortunately it was a dire weekend for the pair and they did not complete any of the 4 races due to persistent mechanical problems. They had successful offshore racer Tom Montgomery-Swan of Sunus Racing on the spanners but to no avail.
Across the 4 races there was very close racing in all 4 categories. Like last year, in Class 2 Fair Play Jeremy Gibson and Malachy Brown (Phantom 19 / Yamaha V4) - were setting the pace and they took an excellent win in Race 2 and finished first overall. Bob McCarthy was also rapid as usual in his Bernico F3 Extreme, If Only, but his weekend was spoilt in Race 2 whilst in third place when he hit the swell from a cruiser which had strayed on to the course and he went over. The boat sustained quite a lot of damage however, overnight repairs enabled him to compete again on Sunday but he had lost some pace and could not challenge the front runners.
Another great performance came from Cafe Racer (Phantom 19 / Mercury 200XS) David Foa and Charles Swales Race 4 winners and third overall. They had a close battle with Fair Play Jeremy Gibson and Mr Bump (Phantom 18 / Yamaha V4) Mark Mawby and Matt Woodward who were hard chargers all weekend and finished fourth overall. There was also a fantastic performance from mother and daughter pairing Odette and Kayleigh Priestley in Sick Childrens Trust (Phantom 19) they finished second overall in Class 2.
In Class 3 the ever rapid Y Knott (Phantom 19 / Yamaha 130) - Kevin Edmundson / Annika Hawthorne swapping horse power on four legs they are a trainer and jockey for horse power on the water they took overall honours from White Fusion (Phantom 19 / Mercury 115 Pro XS)- Malcolm Dopson / Benjamin Brown only 6 points separated the two crews over the 4 races. Alan Power from Dublin finished third overall ,only 21 points behind, in a boat of his own design, a Banshee 595 / Yamaha V4.
Entries for Classes 1 and 4 were low with only a couple of crews competing in each category.
On the evidence of Round 1, this will be a vintage year for offshore circuit racing and long may it continue. With very healthy numbers contesting Classes 2 and 3 in particular, a season long fight for honours can be expected.
The series now heads off to Caernarfon in a couple of weeks, then West Bay, Howth (Ireland) with the finale at Herne Bay at the end of September.
OCRDA where the action is!
Class 1 (350HP)
1. Lethal Viking - 118 Joshua Lindsay / Dan Mott 400 pts
2. The Edge - 80 Jason Briggs / Brett Croxson 380 pts
Class 2 (200HP)
1. Fair Play- 19 Jeremy Gibson / Malachy Brown 780 pts
2. Sick Childrens Trust - 30 Kayleigh Priestley / Odette Priestley
3. Cafe Racer - 36 David Foa / Charles Swales 524 pts
Class 3 (150HP)
1. Y Knot 12 Kevin Edmundson / Annika Hawthorne 607 pts
2. White Fusion - 66 Malcolm Dopson / Benjamin Brown 601 pts
3. Power Marine - 5 Alan Power / Sam Jackson 580 pts
Class 4 (100HP)
1. Calypso - 14 Nathan Scott / Mark Leek 800 pts
2. Kamo Krzee - 35 Tony Walker / Paula Brown 540 pts
To view pics from the event please visit my Flickr site: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rivier...57690939653700
To view a video then please visit my YouTube site: