50 of Britain’s top Powerboat Racing stars head to Stewartby Watersports Centre this weekend (6/7 August) for the 2016 Powerboat GP British RYA Sprint Championships.
A stand-alone event that will see six Powerboat GP RYA British Champions crowned as the racers go head to head in a battle of epic proportions. The 2016 Powerboat GP RYA British Championships have been the closest campaign to date, action at every round has been fast and frantic and to date, no championship leader is secure in the top spot.
The 2016 Stewartby Sprints means a whole new competition for the British racers. Everything that has happened so far this season no longer counts and the slate is wiped clean for this competition.
Each class will battle out for pole position and then over 3 heats and by the end of the weekend 6 individuals will be crowned the RYA Powerboat GP British Sprint Champion.
In the GT15 Class the junior drivers will go head to head for the prestigious sprint crown reigning champion Thomas Mantripp will look a favourite to retain his crown. On home water, several of Stewartby Powerboat Racing Club’s youngsters will be looking to challenge including Lincoln’s Jonathan Brewer and Kent’s George Elmore.
Local Bedford boy Aidan Fleet will be looking to secure his first podium finish in the stiff British Competition.
Ben Jelf will be hoping to secure his 12th successive British Title as he sets his sights on the GT30 crown. Looking to stop him in his tracks is the only female racer in the whole championship, Tiegen Goodfellow, who has been on flying form recently but there will also be strong pressure from Jack Pickles following his first podium finish at Chasewater he’s hungry for more silverware and Bedford’s Elliot Fleet will be looking to prove himself on his home course.
The OSY400 Hydroplane class is anyone’s for the taking with Jamie Marr facing tough competition from Jason Mantripp and the rest of the hydroplane fleet as they battle for the crown. Newcomers Wayne Moyse & Sean Woods will also be looking to make their presence known as they take part in their first National Race.
The F4 competition at Chasewater had spectators on the edge of their seats whilst Sam Whittle cleared up with three straight heat wins the rest of the fleet was so close that the silver and bronze podium spots ended in a three way tie.
This means we’re set for a extremely close competition for the sprint title as Leon Wigg, Robert Veares, Matt Wood and Ben Jelf all look to knock Whittle from his top spot and claim their first F4 crown.
The final class of the weekend will also compete for the Jerry Lamba Memorial Trophy and in addition to a sprint title up for grabs for the F2 fleet they also compete for Powerboat GP RYA British Championship points making the competition all the more important for these catamaran contenders.
Following engine problems at Chasewater reigning Sprint Champion and local racer Colin Jelf will be looking for a return to form and will be hoping to catch Paul Balfour in the British Championship campaign and retain his sprint crown for a second consecutive year.
There will be mixed emotions for the 2015 British Champion Steve Hoult who spectacularly crashed out at the sprint championships last year and nearly cost him his British crown. Mark Williams seemed to put problems behind him that have plagued him for the last two seasons and the former F4 World Champion will be looking for his first F2 Championship crown.
Jason Brewer, Powerboat GP promoter can’t wait for the 2016 Sprint championship battle to get underway;
This season the racing’s so close and there’s very little separating the racers throughout the whole championships, but this weekend the rest of the season doesn’t count.
All that stands now between the racers and a British Championship title is 3 heats of racing. One wrong move or even the smallest mistake can loose you the crown. Even the best racers can have an off day and as always in Powerboat racing another racer is right in your wake waiting in case you do. It lends itself to some awesome action on the water and by the end of the weekend we’ll have six newly crowned British Sprint Champions.
The on water action will get underway from 10.30 on both Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th August starting with qualifying and then with each class competing over three heats to find the 2016 Powerboat GP British RYA Sprint Champions.
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 reports on the Jelf Racing Team and international F4 racing.