AquaX riders took to the chilly and choppy waters to take part in a preseason challenge in the Royal Victoria Dock in country’s capital city of London.
When the spray settled it was Richard Cable who clocked up enough points in the 300 class to secure the inaugural Royal Victoria Cup. Richard, who has come fresh off the back of a win last weekend at the Winter Championship commented 'This season I am really going for it, the ski is going off to be rebuilt after this round. Obviously Russell Marmon is the man to beat, we all want to see him out there, who knows if we can, but I am going to try!'
In Race 1 current 300 Champion Dave Huddleston (70) grabbed the holeshot on his Kawasaki Ultra 300 and followed closely by seasoned racers Jim Goodchild (51) and Richard Cable (62). The first of the rookie racers, Nick Thompson (99), slipped into fourth on his Sea-Doo RXPX with Steve Hockney (131) heading up the 250’s. Mat Shipley (44), was the first of the 200’s riding the Yamaha FX 180.
As the race progressed and the conditions worsened Goodchild succumbed to arm pump and pulled off the track leaving Huddleston to extend his lead. But after lapped traffic held him up Cable was able to take the lead and the eventual win, leaving Huddleston to pick up second and Steve Robinson moving up into third position. 'What a fantastic venue, we’re racing with a back drop of the 02 Dome and the city of London,' exclaimed Robinson.
200 Class winner - Mat Shipley - P1 AquaX
After a drifting mark caused a red flagged start Race 2 finally got underway with Jim Goodchild’s Kawasaki Ultra 300 narrowly taking the holeshot over Rookie racer Nigel Williams’ (45) new Yamaha FX SVHO. Despite Williams’ good start he was soon relegated to fourth as both Nick Thompson and Steve Robinson passed him on the first lap as he struggled to harness the power of his new machine. 'It was tough out there today, I still have learning to do' commented Williams.
As the laps counted down Steve Robinson, riding the Ultra 310 moved into second with both 300’s of Huddleston and Cable charging hard.
Goodchild extended his lead to almost half a lap by the time Cable had made his move to pass Huddleston and Robinson. Huddleston eventually made the pass on Robinson, but was a long way off the pace of Cable and Goodchild to make a difference and that was how it finished. Goodchild over Cable over Huddleston. Dave Huddleston commented' It was hard going today with so much back wash from the walls, the water was so unpredictable, but it was good preparation for the start of the season, Richard and Jim have obviously upped their game!'
Joe Harvey was the first of the Rookie riders finishing fourth overall, with Williams in fifth and Dariusz Plazewski in sixth.
In the 250 Class Steve Hockney (131) from Eastleigh set the pace, with Duncan Johnstone (42) in second Richard Rowe in third. Rookie racer Robert Simpson showed promise, but problems with his Jet Ski saw him towed in after just a few laps. Hockney, who moved from the 200 class to 250 from 2014 went on to take his first overall win in the AquaX series 'I’ve been training hard on my fitness throughout the winter and it appears to have paid off. I’m not going to get complacent though, as there are good riders in this class! I really enjoyed the racing and liked the course. I think the second race was a lot harder due to the conditions, but overall good racing. I am looking forward to Bournemouth.'
Richard Rowe came in second after edging out former 200 champion Duncan Johnstone. 'It was mad out there today, but great fun,' enthused Johnstone.
In the 200 class and out on a new ski for 2014 was Mat Shipley (44), last year’s 250 winner, in second was Dave Lee (95) and new AquaX rider all the way from Wexford in Ireland Niall Grannell. Mat Shipley commented 'The new 200 is harder to ride than the 250 and is a bit skitty. Dave pushed me at the start of Race 2, but I got in front of him. It was a great spectacle today, what a place to have a warm up race! I think it should be on the calendar every year.'
The AquaX riders will now go on to Bournemouth for the first round of the Championship, on May 31 – 1 June. There is still time to sign up for the championship for details to enter please visit: www.p1aquax.co.uk