I decided to ‘go it alone’ in April and set-up Powerboat Racing World.
With the first event that I was set to cover just a matter of days away, I built the website, registered and linked social media outlets in a few hours and then got back to the business of reporting on powerboat racing, hoping that my new venture would have at least a couple of readers in the first week!
With help from Fiona Pascoe, Mette Brandt Bjerknæs and Kerry Bobin, the Powerboat Racing World Facebook Page had 1500 followers by the time I headed south to Bournemouth to cover the first 2 heats of the 2016 Microlink ThunderCat Racing Championship.
If setting up websites and social media pages is cheap, quick and easy, putting on races and Championships is quite the opposite as 2016 proved.
The 2016 Season
International Offshore Racing
The ‘Crown Jewell’ of International Offshore Racing – The UIM Class 1 World Powerboat Championship lost its promoter, H2o Racing at the end of the 2015 season and it was ‘touch and go’ if the big cats would go into battle again.
Powerboat Racing World broke the news in September after speaking to ADIMSC’s Saif Alqamzi in France that the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club would hold and support a 3 heat Championship in November.
ADIMSC’s philanthropy allowed their neighbours, Dubai’s Victory Team to take a 15th UIM Class 1 World Title.
In the same month, the Victory Team crewed by Arif Saif Al Zaffain and Nadir Bin Hendi won another UIM XCAT World Series title in a shortened 4 race World Championship.
Speculation and rumours swirled around the XCAT Racing World Series promoters, World Professional Powerboating Association (WPPA) all season until we reported in late November that their CEO, Ali Bin Hendi assured, ‘We are in for a great future in this brand of powerboat racing’.
The British Powerboat Racing Club (BPRC) ran the 57th consecutive International Offshore Race held at Cowes in September.
The 2016 Cowes Torquay Cowes race will surely go down as one of the roughest ever held – Only 3 boats made it to Torquay within the time limit and only 2 made the official overall finishing list.
Cougar 46 throttled by 8 times UIM Class 1 World Champion, Steve Curtis MBE with Richard Carr and Paul Sinclair, pushed the Mercury powered Cougar aluminium mono hull through horrid seas for a popular win.
The UIM Class 3 World Championships were held in Tvedestrand, Norway in July.
3 being the number of countries represented in each class, 3 nationalities would gain World Champions and all raced in wave heights getting on for 3 m at times.
The UIM 3A World Championship was won with a twist in the tail.
Going into the third race, most thought that Paul Etasse’s Team Slayer had done enough to secure the 2016 title.
With 700 points in the bag and his closest rival Jack Bobin holding only 400 points, Etasse only had to finish 5th to take a Gold Medal home to Guernsey.
The predictable turned into the unbelievable when Team Slayer hoisted the orange retirement flag due to a broken saddle.
Bobin, totally unaware of the misfortune that had befallen his rival, drove flat out to take the race win which enabled him to secure the World Championship.
In the same week, Fredrik Groth Fyrø and Hanna Thorén from Sweden won the 3B World Championship with Norway’s Jan Braaten and Linnea Carlsson taking Gold in 3C.
3A has become one the most popular of the classes in a very short space of time without impacting on 3B entries as some suspected, it will be interesting to see whether the new 3X class will mirror that success in 2017.
In September, the the French team of Francois Pinelli and Saul Bubacco added the 2016 UIM Class 3D World Championship in Chioggia, Italy to their 2015 3D European Championship win.
International Circuit Racing
Frenchman Philippe Chiappe clinched his third successive UIM F1 H2O World Championship in December beating off the might of UAE teams Abu Dhabi and Victory.
The UIM F2 World Championship saw another champion successfully defend his crown.
Pierre Lundin from Sweden mainly kept out of trouble in some frenetic races that at times verged on the crazy with accidents galore.
His team mate Mette Brandt Bjerknæs surprised him in Macon, France when she put in her best ever qualifying run, finishing third on the timing screen and above the World Champion.
Uvis Slakteris took the honours at the UIM F2 European Championship held at Stewartby in September.
Winning two of the three heats was enough to give the Latvian his first international Championship win.
Britain’s Matt Palfreyman turned his boat over in the morning practice, subsequent concussion and boat damage didn’t however stop him from taking UIM Silver.
With thanks to everyone that helped me with Powerboat Racing World in 2016.
Here’s to 2017 –
Happy New Year!