After the highly successful return of powerboat racing to the Royal Victoria Docks in London, the UK will once again play host to the world’s best racers when the competitors arrive at the Lowestoft & Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club to battle it out for the 2018 UIM OSY400 Hydroplane European Championship title (Saturday 07 – Sunday 08 July 2018).
With the 1072 metre circuit officially ratified to run fourteen racers, the entry list is made up of the top names currently racing in the OSY400 class but one man who is heading to the Suffolk coast will undoubtedly start as favourite for the title and he’s Rasmus Haugasmagi from Estonia.
Only last month in Poland, Haugasmagi won an unprecedented sixth OSY400 World Championship title to add to his four European Championship wins, such is his dominance that he’s now undefeated in every one of the last twenty-nine heats he’s raced in.
Sure, people say I will win but there is always a chance of someone being a threat to my titles.
In the end it is anyone’s game and you have to race until the chequered flag drops.
I think I have also proven that whatever the circumstances I remain calm and that actually all those wins have not been as easy as it seems.
So, who does he see as mounting the toughest challenge to his title defence?
Every driver has his own specific racing style and therefore everyone should be watched.
If I had to point out someone then I would say Britain’s Wayne Moyse as I know what his boat can do because it’s the one I raced last year with and it’s only a matter of time before he gets it running really well.
There’s no doubt that Moyse is quick enough, after all he set a new British record up at Coniston Records Week last year, but things didn’t go to plan in Poland.
Yes, we came away from the World’s feeling very disappointed.
We have work to do because that Povvat hull is one of the best OSY of all time.
He will be one of seven locally based racers competing on their ‘home’ circuit, so just how much of an advantage will that be?
I have to say that this circuit is the hardest I have raced on as that bottom turn really gets cut up with wash from other competitors.
Even the front runners will find it hard because the water bounces back from the concrete edge making that Wherry turn unpredictable.
On the positive side, racing on your home circuit certainly gives you an advantage, plus the added buzz you get surrounded by friends and family always helps.
Moyse knows that it won’t just be the overseas racers who could present a challenge because he will be up against the likes of James Marr, who won the OSY400 RYA British Championship last season and Jason Mantripp, who he finished ahead of in the championship by only a single point.
Mantripp, who at 46 considers himself as a ‘veteran’ has recently set up a new team, BFS Racing, with the continued support of the Beccles based Fabrication Company and joining him will be Daniel Drake, who will be making his International racing debut.
Daniel is a naturally fast driver.
Rocket men don’t come along very often, so it was an easy decision to form a new partnership.
The pair of them will be racing the Estonian built Mosquito hulls, along with friend and rival Marr.
Our biggest challenge to a podium place could be the Polish racer Cezary Strumick who will also be racing a Mosquito hull, he recently finished runner up at the World’s and will certainly be one to watch.
The pair have been carrying out some ‘last minute’ testing with mixed results.
Mantripp was trying out race set ups and propellers which looked to have worked for him.
Drake on the other hand will have a lot of work to do with his newly acquired Mosquito outfit.
Unfortunately he picked up some minor damage to the hull along with a seized motor, hopefully he will be sorted and ready for weekend.
Hoping for local success will be the Commodore of the Lowestoft & Oulton Broad Powerboat Racing Club, Peter Mantripp, who is Jason’s cousin.
When the availability of the 2018 European Championship arose, we knew it had to happen at our club.
Our passion and desire to improve the current state of circuit powerboat racing in the UK is second to none and this fantastic opportunity is the icing on the cake.
Mine and the committee of dedicated individuals’ vision is to showcase this event and then make plans for future International races.
Racing gets under way at Nicholas Everitt Park, Oulton Broad on Saturday 7 July.
OSY400 Free Practice commencing at 12:00 noon, (GMT +1). Qualifying gets under way at 15:05, followed by Heat 1 of the UIM OSY400 European Championship at 16:35.
Sunday 8 July sees three further heats (14:20, 15:40 and 16:45) followed by the Podium Presentations at 17:45.
All times are subject to change.
Top Photo: Rasmus Haugasmagi and Cesary Strumnik