2016 Guernsey Powerboat Association Stanley Gibbons Investment Race series
As the majority of UK racers continue their resistance against the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the national governing body, the Guernsey Powerboat Association (GPA) and its members got on with what they do best and put on another spectacular show of competitive powerboat racing last weekend.
Spectators lined the Castle walk and La Vallette viewing areas which engulf Havelet Bay to welcome 18 teams competing in National and Club class racing.
Force 2 – 3 winds over the weekend which saw just a low swell out at Lower Heads proved ideal for National class offshore racing.
As the boats entered Havelet Bay for the first time, as expected, the V24 ‘Diablo Racing’ (Dave Corbet / Kerry Le Patourel) stretched out a huge lead on its first appearance this season, powered by the all new Volvo V8 engine.
The acceleration from the new engine was incredible, leaving class competitors ‘It wasn’t Us’ (Martyn Roberts / Tim Abbott) and ‘Dirty Harry’ (Mark & Tom Sauvarin) both using the older Volvo units ,with no chance whatsoever.
In National class 3B, there were only two entries, both from Guernsey, and it was the 19′ Phantom ‘The Governor’ (Gareth & Matt Keast) which lead all the way ahead of ‘Dirty Deeds'(Mark Terry / Sue Cosgrave).
The most intriguing battle was taking place in the new Z150 National Class where runaway leader in Guernsey Club Class this season, ‘Dewpacabra’ (Patrick & Philip Dewe) were battling it out with the only UK boat to attend this, the first National event of the season, ‘Tintorera Racing’ (Sharon & Stuart Atlee).
This was Atlee’s return to competitive racing after a short break from the sport and watching her drive, no one would have known.
After following Dewe for the first couple of laps, Atlee shook off the cobwebs and moved up a gear to pass the Sark boys and never looked back.
The third boat in this class, ‘Money Monster’ (Katie Sauvarin / Ben Backhouse) were forced to retire whilst running in third place with steering problems.
Whilst these three classes were battling it out for National points, Club Classes were having their own battles.
In Class 1, the yellow Argo cat ‘Jublee’ (Hugh Donnelly / Matthew Kershaw) were proving to be a class act out there building confidence from race to race and increasing their speeds as each weekend goes by to take the honours from the B23 Bat boat ‘Wonkey Donkey’ (Sean Homer/Dave Le Maitre’.
All credit to this pairing as after rolling their boat previously, they are driving carefully and gradually building up their confidence once again.
‘Outlaw’, driven by Jamie Le Marquand and Dave Fairbrother on their first venture into the World of Powerboating suffered a baptism of fire towards the end of the race after initially putting in an assured drive.
Their Backdraft dipped its port wing on the southern most turn mark, flicking the boat to starboard and spitting both crew members into the water.
Fairbrother’s leg was trapped momentarily when coming out of the boat which required immediate Paramedic attention.
He was later taken to Hospital with knee and calf muscle damage, whilst the boat itself suffered wing and hull damage rendering it beyond repair.
Both crew members are undeterred and presently on the look out for a replacement boat.
In Club class 2 it appeared that ‘Paranoid’ driven this time out by Birthday boy and 2016 World 3A Champion navigator, Barry Culver with Richard Le Feuvre navigating would lead the competition throughout.
This wasn’t to be with mechanical gremlins rearing its ugly head, allowing the Stanley Gibbons Investment boat ‘Grey Sea’ (Jai Rive / Kirsty Savident) to track them down and take their first ever honours in club racing.
These newcomers to the sport this year are gradually getting things together in their 21 Phantom and admit to have been bitten by the powerboating bug.
Edging ‘Paranoid’ out of 2nd place on their first ever race was the Yamaha powered Ring 20′ Kalypso with Pierre Petit and Jack Lunn onboard.
Their placing was most notable as Petit, who skis on water and snow, has only the use of his right arm after a motor bike accident and what he achieves on a day to day basis is absolutely incredible.
On this first showing behind the wheel, he is undoubtedly destined for future success in the sport.
Club Class 3 was dominated by ‘Slayer’ (Paul Etasse / Chris Stonebridge) back from Norway where they placed second overall in the UIM 3A World Championship.
Second place on it’s first appearance under new ownership was the Backdraft, ‘Bad Influence, (Chris Bates /Jon Le Page), as novices, they drove sensibly throughout and will no doubt improve as the season goes on.
With the two other local Z150 boats competing at National level, ‘Me too’ (Bill Gladstone / Diogo Freitas) was left to race against itself and only just made it to the finishing line before running out of fuel, but thankfully safe enough to accrue points.
With similar conditions on Sunday, the course had to be shortened just before the start due to the threat of fog seen moving in from the south.
As the boats again entered Havelet Bay for the first time, the many spectators lining the Castle walk were treated to a display of speed and noise as the three V24’s came into sight, lead by ‘It wasn’t Us’ followed by ‘Dirty Harry’ and then’Diablo Racing’.
On the inner turn mark, Diablo Racing’ took the inside line over ‘Dirty Harry’ and accelerated away in its pursuit of ‘It wasn’t Us’.
In National 3B the result was the same as the previous day with ‘The Governor’ again taking maximum points over ‘Dirty Deeds’ having the lead throughout.
Again, it was National Z150 where all the action was taking place between ‘Dewpacabra’ and ‘Tintorera Racing’.
This time around, it was obvious that Dewe had the bit between his teeth from the off and at one stage earlier on had pulled out a significant lead on Atlee.
However, beware a woman scorned as they say, as Atlee reeled in Dewe by the halfway stage as she continually sent her Tintorera hull airborne, broke her boat chasing down the opposition and won.
A good weekend’s work from this very experienced lady indeed who will take her National points lead with her to Cowes in September.
Photos: Martin Gray