by Emma Slater
The Powerboat P1 Championship series 2012 kicked off over the weekend of 19th and 20th May in Plymouth, UK with the Plymouth Grand Prix of the Sea. The Championship series, which is made up of two classes in the SuperStock Championship and three classes in the AquaX Championship, saw 50 racers take to the water in their relevant classes to battle for vital championship points at the start of the season, as thousands of onlookers lined the sea walls of Plymouth to enjoy the action.
Superstock 250 - Powerboat P1 Championship series 2012
SuperStock 150 Class
2011 reigning British RYA Champions ‘Team Purple’, the husband and wife team of Stuart and Sara Cureton, got their season off to a storming start taking a clear win in the first of the three races of the weekend.
As they took the last lap flag in the second race they looked set to continue their top form until they suddenly lost power after pulling their kill cord, leaving Black Magic’s father and daughter team, Vince and Jade Berridge, to capitalise on the mistake to take the race win after chasing hard throughout the entire race.
But with a return to form in the third race of the weekend Team Purple took the lead in the 2012 Championship campaign and secured the Grand Prix win for the weekend.
SuperStock 250 Class
Four rookie teams joined the fleet in the 250 class for what promised to be some exciting racing in the P1 Plymouth Cup.
Teams were pushing hard throughout the weekends racing but it was the rookie team of Dean Stoneman; the 2010 FIA Formula 2 Champion with Navigator Dean Paling, Team Pickford. No strangers to racing Stoneman and Paling took the weekends win in their debut powerboat race, as well as marking Stoneman’s comeback to competitive Motorsports after being diagnosed with Cancer in 2011.
Peters and May Racing’s rookie team of Mike Lovell and Mike Elkin also battled strong throughout the weekend and even had the lead on Pickfords in the second race of the weekend, but Stoneman saw a gap and took the chance to leave the Peters and May Team to settle for second overall for the weekend.
Third place honours went to Team 88 PaLu, Simon Bayles and Phillipa Baker, after a count back on results after they came in tied with reigning champions John Wilson and Neil Scarborough in team Pertemps.
Jet Bikes - Powerboat P1 Championship series 2012
The AquaX series saw a swell in competitor numbers as a total of 22 skis took to the water for the first event of the season following the hugely successful inaugural season of 2011.
Fareham’s Duncan Johnstone, reigning AquaX 200 Champion, couldn’t wait to get back out on the water and continued his fine form of 2011 to take wins in both the weekends Motos and win the weekend overall.
Andy Steele took second in both motos to retain the position in the overall standings. While Steve Hockney completed the line up on the podium, racing his way to two third places in the motos.
In the new 250 Class Mat Shipley (Seaford) took an early lead winning Saturday’s race. Shipley clinched second in Sunday’s race after encountering last year’s Am300 Champion Dave Huddleston (Milton Keynes), who missed Saturday’s race completely.
Plymouth rider Tim Cope used his knowledge of the Sound water to score second and third place finishes on his Scorpion Track Yamaha FZR so now lies second in the points standings.
Reigning British RYA Ski GP Champion Jim Goodchild laid down the gauntlet to Russell Marmon the reigning AquaX 300 Champion in his debut in the AquaX Event.
Goodchild (Hemel Hempstead) made a stunning debut in the P1 AquaX Championship getting both motos off to a flying start taking early leads that saw him win both races and the opening round in Plymouth over the weekend.
Making the most of the calm waters, the 48-year old was in imperious form streaking away from pole position to head the 22-strong field into the first mark and then going on to lead every lap of both races.
Goodchild gave an early season wake up call to reigning AquaX Champion Russell Marmon (Christchurch) who chased hard to catch the double race winner but his attempts were in vain and he was left to settle for second place. Tim Batte completed the weekend podium taking bronze in his first AquaX appearance.
The Championship now makes the journey north to Hull (16-17 June) where the racing looks to remain a closely fought battle throughout the year.