Jelf Racing chase down championship leaders at Chasewater Grand Prix

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Last weekend, The Jelf Racing Team  were at Chasewater for the third round of the Powerboat GP British RYA Championship.

The team were represented in the four championship classes racing that weekend and were ready to get down to business to chase the silverware.

First up in action was the team’s Junior racer George Elmore in the GT15 class.

The previous two rounds an epic battle has been developing between Harvey Smith and George and this weekend was set to be even closer as both boys contend for their first British crown.

The fleet of 6 got quickly down to business in qualifying, with George taking an early lead a second quicker than his nearest rival Harvey Smith.

Heat 1 got underway and Smith managed to find some extra speed beating George to the first mark and taking the lead, once in front Smith kept his head managing to keep George in his wake for the 6-lap race despite his best attempts to pass him at several times throughout the race.

Heat 2 and from pole position Harvey got a clean start away to the first turn but George was once more, hot on his wake looking for an opportunity to pass his rival changing, his lines into the corners George did everything he could to find that extra speed and room to get past but once more Harvey held him at bay.

The third and final heat once more saw Smith take the lead from the lights to the first turn again out in front he was not going to let George past him and held his lead to the chequered flag with George finishing in second and a fantastic 2nd Overall for the weekend.

Next in action for the Jelf Racing team was Jonathan Brewer in the GT30 Class. In qualifying 0.12 of a second separated Jonathan Brewer, Jack Pickles and Championship leader Thomas Mantripp with Jono taking the all-important pole position.

From pole position Jono focused on the job ahead of him and as the lights went out despite immense pressure from Thomas Mantripp, Jono rounded the first mark in the lead and once in front he remained calm and collected keeping his head to keep Mantripp in his wake until the chequered flag.

Heat two and once more from pole Jonathan chose his line and powered towards the first turn with little separating him from Thomas who was riding his wake looking for a mistake from Jonathan or the smallest opportunity to slip past him. 8 laps of the course passed in a flash with both drivers pushing their boats every inch of the course looking for the second heat win but Jono managed to hold on to his lead and take another heat win.

The final heat and all eyes were on the water as the lights went out with Jono and Thomas leaving the jetty simultaneously both powering into the first turn. Once more Jonathan claimed the lead but as the 8 laps dwindled down towards the chequered flag nothing separated the two racers and in by far the closet battle of the season, the race went down to an almost photo finish with Jonathan Brewer just pipping Mantripp to the chequered flag in fantastic finish and Jono’s first Grand Prix win of the season.

Nigel Edwards and Jason Brewer were the team’s next representatives in the T850 monohull class where just two seconds separated the top three boats in qualifying with Nigel Edwards just missing out to championship leader Bill Owen who once more laid claim to the coveted Pole Position.

Following qualifying Jason Brewer was forced to retire through mechanical failure so the other three drivers went into battle all looking for the first win of the weekend. Heat 1 and with the best starting line Bill Owen made a fantastic start as the trio powered away from the start pontoon and into the first turn Nigel Edwards tried his best to try and catch Bill but couldn’t and Bill soared home to take the first chequered flag of the Grand Prix, with Nigel in a strong second and Steve Cash completing the line-up.

The second heat of the weekend and Bill Owen once more gat a storming start and held his lead throughout the 8-lap race to the chequered flag making it two out of two for the Lancashire racer.

But this time Steve Cash got the lead on Nigel Edwards and although a battle ensued Steve managed to hold on to his second place meaning that the fight for the silver grand prix medal would take a sensational finale in heat 3 of the weekend.

Bill Owen made it three out of three wins for the weekend claiming the Chasewater Grand Prix title. As predicted the race for second was a fantastic battle between Cash and Nigel, with Nigel claiming second and second overall for the weekend. Nigel is now joint with Steve Cash for second place in the British Championship with a tied 124 points each.

The final racer in action this weekend was Ben Jelf racing for Powerboat GP British Championship points in the F4 Catamarans class.

Fresh from rounds 3 & 4 of the UIM World Championships at Stewartby in Bedford two weeks ago where Ben finished a fantastic 5th at both rounds meaning he currently sits 5th in the World Championship with a further two rounds to go. Once more looking untouchable in qualification was Championship leader Ben Morse who cruised once more into pole position for the third time this season but hot on his heals and taking second on the grid was Ben Jelf less than half a second behind him.

Heading into Heat 1 Ben Jelf that got the best start of the fleet and as the 6 boats headed into turn 1 Morse found himself off the pace, when further disaster came as he was pushing hard and spun out on the first turn finding himself at the back of the fleet. Recovering well began to work his way through the fleet and managed to make up three places to finish the race in third. With a clear course in front of him Ben Jelf set his mind on one thing and that was claiming his first chequered flag of the season and holding Rob Veares at bay, 8 laps later the youngster had done just that and now focussed on heat 2.

Heat 2 and from pole position Jelf once again got a fantastic start although Morse was bearing down on the youngster and waiting for the chance to sail past him with both pushing hard this time it was Jelf that hooked on the bottom turn leaving the door open for Morse to squeeze past in to the lead to take the heat win. Jelf managed to recover quickly and take second ahead of Rob Veares and to keep his grand prix fight alive.

In what was turning out to be a fantastic battle for the Chasewater crown both Ben’s were set to go head to head for the throne however with both racers having spun out in the previous two heats Rob Veares was also looking for his opportunity to take the win.

The final heat of the weekend and the fleet powered away from the start with Ben Jelf just edging out Ben Morse into the first turn and Rob Veares chasing hard in third. The 8-lap race continued with nothing separating the two boats, with both racers pushing themselves and their boats to the limit in the bid for glory. Jelf managed to hold his nerve and take the win securing his first ever catamaran Grand Prix win and the Chasewater Crown. Ben Morse claimed the silver medal and Rob Veares completed the line up with Bronze.

Following Colin Jelf’s accident a fortnight ago at the UIM World Championships that resulted in a short stay in hospital all the team were glad to have the team manager back with the team even if it was from the shore side.

Ben Jelf had this to say on the team’s achievements this weekend;

The Silverware the team have secured this weekend were for Dad, it’s great to see him recovering quickly and back amongst the team this weekend giving us his advice. The team all work hard together to achieve the best we can but no one works harder for the team than dad so it’s great to reward him the team and our sponsors this weekend with two Grand Prix titles and two silver medals.

He continued;

We’ve all been pushed really hard this weekend in every single race, There is very little separating George and Harvey and Jonathan from Thomas so it will be interesting to see how the season progresses now. Dad started racing F4’s 30 years ago so to be competing at the World Championships with him two weeks ago and now taking my first Grand Prix win in the F4 class this weekend makes this all the more special for me.

Nikki Drummond

Nikki is the Sponsorship and PR Manager for the Jelf Racing Powerboat Team.

She was a Powerboat Racing Senior Administrator at the Royal Yachting Association for 6 years.

Nikki will be reporting on the Jelf Racing Team and the 2016 Powerboat GP season.