Rounds 9 and 10 of the 2016 Microlink ThunderCat Championship were held at Clevedon in Somerset last weekend.
The town of Clevedon was a new venue on the ThunderCat calendar and it certainly delivered; exciting racing with large enthusiastic crowds there to watch the racing action.
The racing comprised of four 30 minute ‘Enduro’ races which were held over the weekend.
The two races held on the Saturday counted for Round 9 of the Championship.
Microlink / Ahmad Tea crewed by the Welsh Duo of Rob Davies and Darren Phillips took the overall round win with a first and second place. The 2016 Championship leaders have really mastered the ‘Enduro’ discipline, having dominated earlier in the season at Liverpool.
The other podium positions were taken by both of the Multispark Racing teams.
Bligh Julius and Charlie Hatfield took a race win and a fourth, while Gary Tolman and Scott Brown’s second and third was good enough for the third step on the podium.
The outstanding performance of the day, if not the weekend came from Darryn Harrison in Moku Evolution.
The South African born hard charging Brit has been developing a new Series 5 Bobkat hull with his father Grant.
It looked good on its debut last month at Southsea and plenty of testing was expected before the Clevedon event. That was scuppered when the young, bearded Harrison had to spend 6 days in hospital with gall bladder complications and lost 8 kilos in the process.
To race a few days later was amazing, to finish fourth overall was remarkable.
Marc Newton and Martin Pullen were the only team to sample the delights of the Bristol Channel after flipping Bulletproof / Pulton Properties over during the second race.
The Clevedon locals were enthralled with the action and there was plenty more to come in Round 10.
Microlink / Ahmad Tea took the two race wins, Round 10 and are looking hot favourites to win the 2016 Microlink ThunderCat Championship.
Their Team Manager Martin Tummuscheit said;
The boat seemed really settled in the changeable conditions and the boys pulled off two wins despite several restarts to take first overall, which combined with our first place finish in round 9 completing a perfect weekend.
Mutispark Racing #33 took second overall with Moku Evolution claiming third overall.
The racing between Julius and Harrison particularly in race 2 was as fierce as you will see anywhere.
Neither driver was prepared to give an inch to the other, Julius came out on top this time but told me after;
Darryn had the speed on us against the wind, I just had to out race him on the other sections. I’m pretty pleased with the result as we are building up to the World Championship in South Africa next year and don’t want to peak too early!
Julius’ team mates in Multispark Racing #61, Tolman and Brown secured fourth overall with Topsham chef Tom Williams taking a hard fought fifth in Broad Bean after an even harder time the night before the race preparing.
Simon Mathews and Martin Jerome had a torrid weekend in #26 Seavaction after showing flashes of blinding speed.
A disqualification, engine problems, a flip that resulted in injury to Jerome over shadowed a team that have got their hull dialled in whilst missing a vital ingredient – luck.
Clevedon proved to be a breath of fresh air for the competitors, the new venue exceeded all expectations and the Chamber of Commerce President Paul Anslow who has been working on the project for 18 months announced at prize giving that the town are looking forward to hosting ThunderCat Racing again, next year.
All photographs Mike Powell
Saturday 27th August – Round 9 2016 Microlink ThunderCat Championship
Sunday 28th August – Round 10 2016 Microlink ThunderCat Championship
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.