At the P1 SuperStock Championship, Team Purple, runaway points leader in the P1 150 class, took its sixth win of the 2011 season in Cowes this afternoon – Stuart and Sara Cureton (Lindford, Hampshire) inheriting the victory post-race.
Eclipse duo Rose Lores (Stubbington, Hampshire) and hometown rookie Lucci Levi (Cowes) looked to have secured a dream P1 150 class success in the Cowes-Poole-Cowes offshore race but a missed marker buoy late-on resulted in the crew being demoted to second place. Worse was to follow a few hours later though when Eclipse was excluded from the final results for a technical infringement.
Team Purple had originally taken a controlled third place finish behind Eclipse and Team Fox’s Martin Colligan (St Helier, Jersey) and Liam McDermott (St Helier, Jersey) but the promotion to first means the husband and wife crew is now provisionally 29 points clear at the top of the standings.
Round four of the 2011 P1 SuperStock season was certainly a major test for all of the teams in P1 150, as well as those in the headline P1 250 Panther class, with very rough conditions placing great demands on the endurance of the crews and the performance of their boats.
'The first bit was rough but it wasn’t too bad, I've had worse conditions!', reflected Sara Cureton, 'The Sat Nav kept disappearing, it has an anti-shock thing so it keeps cutting out. The start was difficult, some people were just steaming past then we’d pass them when they broke down.
'I’m tired and my neck hurts from the jarring – I think it must be two inches shorter than before! We didn’t go out to win this one because we knew we only have two weeks before the next race, we wanted to be competitive but keep it all in one piece but we will be going for it In Liverpool.'
Eclipse and Team Fox were embroiled in a fantastic duel for the lead as the race neared its conclusion but with the proximity of the racing meaning the slightest error could mean the difference, in the end the missed marker buoy proved incredibly costly for both crews. With Eclipse’s removal from the final results though, Fox pairing Colligan and McDermott inherited second position.
'The start was rough and a bit hairy', commented McDermott, 'We lost GPS signal at times, it was a big course which without GPS is always a problem. Luckily Martin has done it before, it kept cutting in and out so we had partial GPS. We were always in viewing distance of another boat so we followed them a bit and tried not to go wrong when they did. We had a good race with Eclipse.'
Although disappointed to lose out on what was initially a sensational victory, Rose and Lucci delivered a fantastic performance nonetheless. For Lucci, such a tremendous competitive debut marked the start of a fresh chapter in the incredible powerboating history of the Aitken/Levi family. 'It was amazing, we had Fox on our tail the whole time', said the 17-year-old. 'I would definitely like to continue doing this!'
Azam Ali (London) – who also made his AquaX Championship Jet-Ski debut on Saturday, 27 August, at Egypt Point – finished in fourth place originally alongside navigator Sam Whittle (Twickenham), the latter bravely competing on the demanding Cowes-Poole-Cowes course despite having an injured knee. This became third post-race, giving the crew its first podium.
Ali commented: 'That was rough, we had a good start but then lost comms and had to stop because it was too rough to get plugged back in and the navigation equipment came apart. We missed a few buoys and had to stop again but we got going – I’m surprised we finished where we did.'
The grand finale of the P1 SuperStock Championship season, the culmination of the ‘Race to Liverpool’, will take place two weeks from now on 10/11 September at Albert Dock on Merseyside. Provisional Amended Cowes-Poole-Cowes Result:
P1 150: 1 Team Purple; 2 Team Fox; 3 Aztec Racing Provisional Championship Points:
P1 150: 1 Team Purple 137; 2 Team Fox 108; 3 Eclipse 95
P1 SuperStock website