The UKOPRA awards held in Southampton last Saturday night saw veteran powerboat racing journalist, Ray Bulman receive an award for his services to the sport.
The UKOPRA Chairman writes for Powerboat Racing World.
There are few remaining that can speak with such authority on Offshore Racing.
Prior to 1961, racing on the sea had generally consisted of head to head challenges in protected waters and circuits in even further protection.
Whilst in 1961 Sir Max Aitken created the now world famous Cowes to Torquay race which was played out by gentlemen in their cruisers, just six months later would see Clive Curtis commanded to prove that his runabout could reach Calais in order to secure a sale.
On hearing of this Geoff Tobert and Ray Bulman considered it appropriate to place the ‘five pound bet’ that they could do it there and back quicker than Clive.
What was supposed to be a two boat race actually turned out to be 27 boats doing the Putney – Calais – Putney ‘rally’.
They lost to Clive of course but the format of what was to become Class 3 was born.
This is far too short an article to expand on his exploits to foreign shores but if you ask Ray to define Offshore Powerboat racing he will simply say it is not solely about the race but rather the challenge. An offshore race must be a challenge like a mountain that needs to be climbed just because it is there.
Ray epitomises the historic roots of Offshore Powerboating but at the opposite end of the spectrum two individuals stand way out for their love of the sport.
Ask Rocco Toll or William Case a question about offshore boats and they will astound you with their knowledge but more so the urge they have to become old enough to join in!
Recognising their support they were awarded with shirts signed by all the champions attending the awards. Not that we are there to promote gambling but we suspect there may be another ‘five pound bet’ on the horizon!
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.