This Sunday at 09:30, 11 boats will roar away from the Solent to make the arduous trip to Torquay and hopefully back again.
2018 will see the 58th time that Offshore Powerboat racing has taken place from Cowes on the Isle of Wight and for 4 teams, the stakes couldn’t be higher.
Warpath, Silverline, Dry Martini and Blastoff Racing not only need to win the coveted Beaverbrook Trophy that comes with a Cowes Torquay Cowes win, the teams need the big points to secure the oldest motorboating trophy in the world, the Harmsworth.
The trophy that was first awarded in 1903 to lady racer Dorothy Levitt and is this year being contested over 4 rounds.
Round 1 was held back in June in Dorset, where the Warpath team of Glenn Chidzoy, Ole Finholt and Gordon Compton won the Fortitudo Property Poole Bay 100. Christian Toll, Mike Bontoft and Michael Peet steered Dry Martini to the runners-up position.
Later that month the teams travelled to Falmouth in Cornwall, Drew Langdon and Miles Jennings finished ahead of Warpath and took the overall honours in Silverline, some compensation after mechanical issues had relegated them to 5th overall in Poole.
After 2 rounds Warpath goes into the Cowes race with 700 points, Silverline is on 527, Dry Martini 525 and Blastoff Racing’s Dorian Griffith and Will Stevens have secured 320.
The race to Torquay this weekend will count as Round 3 and the Round 4 race back to Cowes is set to start from Haldon Pier at 14:00 on Sunday afternoon.
The hot favourite to win the Beaverbrook Trophy is the Swedish team of Mikko Oikari, Lars Eriksson, Michael Backhuvud with Irish ‘bon viveur’ John Ryan completing the crew.
They are bringing an Outerlimits hull, ‘Going Lean’ which is powered by 4 Fiat Powertrain diesel motors which push out some 2400 hp.
Oikari is no stranger to Offshore Racing, having won the Skagerak Across race (Norway to Denmark) and has competed admirably in the 2008 Round Britain race.
The 2016 Cowes Torquay Cowes winner, Richard Carr has pulled out all the stops after his Fortitudo Cougar hull suffered extensive and expensive damage at the Poole 100 race. He will be racing with Mark Pascoe and James Sinclair, his usual throttle man Steve Curtis has a prior commitment to race for Geico in the United States this weekend.
The burning question is, after completing the 189.80 NM Offshore Race, will the winning team even have the strength to lift the famous old trophy on Sunday evening at the Royal Yacht Squadron?
You can follow the race via the Cowes Torquay Cowes Website.
John raced Offshore UIM Class 3 in the 1980’s & 1990’s.
He served as the Cowes Torquay Cowes Event Director for 4 years, including running the 50 th Anniversary Event in 2010.
He has recently organised 4 British Offshore races under UKOPRA sanction.
He is the Editor of Powerboat Racing World.