The winter months have been spent by Bob McCarthy listening to racers, both new and old, and the result was 20 OCR boats turning out to Torquay this weekend with some stunning racing action not seen for over a decade.
Bob has invested his time and energy in many new trainees and they teamed up with some seasoned old hands to create the fleet. Some last minute prepared boats not making it past the first turn buoy meant a slightly diminished fleet of sixteen coming into the harbour turn, appreciated though by Peter Butler on commentary who was struggling to keep up all the new faces. Peter’s knowledge and ability was appreciated by the crowds that gathered to watch.
Race 1 was convincingly won by Jeremy Gibson in group 1 with Graham Lawton chasing him all the way. Graham recognising that the conditions on the water were a lot worse than they looked from the shoreline was spotted carrying what can only be described as a bodybag down to the pontoon and reversed that position in race 2 with a superb drive.
Malc Dopson and Josh Lindsay suffered a bad stuff in race 2 with both sporting rather bruised noses for the remainder of the weekend and a damaged gearbox putting paid to their Sunday races but allowing Bob McCarthy to take third.
Group 2 consisting of boats up to 150 hp saw Mark Mawby and Lee Ormsby tussling out race 1 with Dave Wilcox picking up third.
Race 2 again was being dominated by Mark Mawby until he suffered a split on the deck join just before race end and promptly sank in front of the harbour wall. Excellent recovery by Tony McCarthy had the boat upright and back on the trailer within a very short time.
With a lot of the fleet suffering either some form of damage or mechanical failure a real spirit of camaraderie kicked in with everyone helping each other out to ensure they race the next day.
Race 3 saw Kerry Bobin and Graham Lawton tear away from the pack until the aged racer gave up on lap 3 claiming his battery had come free. Graham took another very convincing win ahead of Bob McCarthy with a suspiciously yellow propeller improving his performance from Day 1.
Barry Culver came a well deserved second to Mark Mawby in Group 2 followed up Richard Mason who had finally sorted his engine gremlins.
Race 4 saw the same start position as the previous day but an early red flag as Jack Bobin hooked on the seaward turn buoy rolling the occupants into the water. A slightly wet brand new four stroke not quite being the plan for his testing set up. Again faultless recovery by Tony meant the rig was up and running before being hooked up for home.
A restart was made with again Graham Lawton showing the fleet the way round but Craig Temple Murray, Mark Power and Richard Mason coming in to the mix.
The racers themselves were commended for the excellent standard of racing discipline by both the OOD and Harbour Master which is a feat in itself given the large fleet with numerous new racers that achieved near to 3 hours of racing.
So many stories of friendly banter, teams assisting each other, new racers welcomed, old racers returning, parents and offspring, young and old, tireless officials and spectacular racing that the memory of the event will stay for a long time with those that attended.
Final awards were handed out by the Mayor of Torquay, Gordon Oliver, with the insistence for OCR to come back such was the impression left.
The only thing standing in the way now of a successful season for OCR being the limitation of event licences as racers do not wish to pay out for a full national licence since OCR is only club racing. Hopefully that should be easily resolved with the national authority given that insurance is no longer an issue.
1 Graham Lawton and Mark Johnson – Who Dares Swims
2 Bob James Goldsmith
3 Barry Culver and George Gibb – Hyperactive
1 Mark Mawby and Matt Woodward – BlueBell
2 Craig Temple Murray and Paul Scott
3 Dave Wilcox and Tania Wilcox – Full Circle
All photos kindly supplied by Tim Tapping
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.