Powerboat racing arrives on the Devon coast
- Credit: Nigel Cole
Brixham hosted Round 3 of the 7-race series organised by the Offshore Circuit Racing Drivers Association (OCRDA) when a fleet of 20 of the UK’s fastest race boats came to town.
The boats, with a driver and navigator aboard, negotiate a course defined by marker buoys, and each race is of 25 minutes duration. Unlike a race track, the sea is constantly changing, so the crews have to be very alert and ready to react demanding intense concentration.
The boats are defined by the capacity of their outboard engines, divided into four classes. A typical race weekend will be comprised of four races over two days.
On Saturday, although warm, it was very overcast and the sea was choppy for both races. These conditions favoured the boat of highly experienced pairing of Jeremy Gibson / Malachy Browne - Smokey & The Bandit - who went in to the Brixham event as the F1 Class leaders.
The boats made an impressive sight with high rooster tails of water behind them as they bounced their way towards Brixham Breakwater in the choppy sea and past the cruise liner Queen Victoria. The course took the boats out to Berry Head, and then back around to travel the length of the Breakwater from where the spectators had an excellent view of the action.
In both races, the Gibson/ Browne pairing had a hard battle with Exeter based, Craig Temple-Murray, in his boat Matahari 4. Craig is another highly experienced racer, and for the weekend, renewed his racing partnership with son Tom – they last raced together ten years ago.
Craig’s usual navigator, Paul Scott, is still recovering from injuries that he sustained in a freak accident at Round 1 in Torquay.
It was an intense, race long battle that eventually saw Gibson/Browne hunt down the Temple-Murray’s to take both race wins. In an unfortunate twist, Craig was later disqualified from the second place in Race 1 because he lost his engine cover. Although this was recovered and re-fitted for Race 2, the boat was deemed to have broken the rules due to a clip failing – a second place and vital points lost to a 50p clip!
On Sunday, by the time the first race got under way, the sun was blazing down and the sea was virtually flat. The Temple-Murray’s boat with its stepped bottom design was probably better suited to the smoother conditions.
Again, he was chased by the Gibson/Browne boat, but held on to win both races, reversing the results of Saturday. However, the two wins on Saturday ensured that Gibson/Browne left Brixham still leading the F1 Class from Racing Green – Richard Mason / Adam Corser and Matahari 4 – Craig Temple-Murray.
Another father and son team that were celebrating a great weekend were Malc and Bradley Dopson – 66 Racing – competing in the F2 Class. They won both races on Saturday, and the fourth race on Sunday after finishing runners up in Race 3 - a perfect way to celebrate Father's Day.
They had to battle hard against Thurston – Ben Brown and Andrew Jenvy – a win and two second places ensured that they maintained their healthy lead in the F2 Class.
In addition to the power boat racing, jet ski racers also competed in four races. Carl Lofthouse dominated the 300 Pro Class with 3 race wins, Rob Peters won the 300AM Class and Charles Mcilwraith won the 200 Class also winning every race. There was also a dynamic fly board display from Ryan Campbell on Saturday, so there was plenty of action for the spectators to follow whilst enjoying the sun and cooling down with an ice cream or a dip in the sea.
The weekend was rounded off on Sunday afternoon with a prize giving ceremony to the winning teams at Breakwater Beach. The OCRDA show now rolls on to Norfolk with Round 4 at Kings Lynn at the end of July.
Check out the OCRDA website and Facebook page for all the latest news and information – www.ocrda.com