In the P1 SuperStock Championship’s Cowes-Poole-Cowes offshore endurance, Darren Hook (Wadhurst, East Sussex) and David John Harwood (London) took the P1 250 Panther honours– the new Peters & May crew benefitting after points leading Pertemps hit troubles.
Several boats in P1 250 Panther and the P1 150 class encountered problems in the rough conditions, leading event organisers to make the decision to curtail the planned two laps of the course after the opening tour. Hook and Harwood though came through unscathed.
'Through the first two buoys it was rough but the rest was alright', said Hook, 'It’s our first time in this boat and we haven’t had much time in it so we’re pleased. Being a bigger race, navigation played a much bigger part than on short courses and we have a lot of experience in that – so that was a good advantage. It was great being invited to be in the Peters & May boat this weekend, it’s been good.'
Championship pace-setters John Wilson (Coleshill, Birmingham) and Neil Scarborough (Monks Risborough) held a handsome lead in their Pertemps boat past the Two Buoys marker before a broken throttle cable led to Wilson having to clamber onto the back of the boat to facilitate a repair.
Robbing Pertemps of the lead and dropping the crew to fourth in the final placings, the fact they did manage to finish though means Wilson and Scarborough head to Liverpool for the final two races of the season in a fortnight’s time with a provisional 21 point lead at the top of the P1 250 standings.
'We were nearly at Wytch Farm and way in the lead, we were absolutely storming away and just reaching the point where we thought we could ease-off a bit', explained Wilson, 'I just eased the throttle off a bit and then it broke, just dropped off and we had no throttle.
'At first I thought it must have over-heated and gone into guardian mode but then I climbed onto the back, took the cover off, and saw that the connector which goes onto the cable was dangling. Eventually I got the split-pin out but then dropped the washer in the sea! Bobbing around on the sea out there trying to put a throttle cable back on isn’t the easiest thing to do! I’m just glad we were able to finish.'
Popular local racer Shelley Jory-Leigh (Southampton) and navigator Dan Smith (Southampton) made a welcome return to the podium – the first time Shelley has tasted the champagne since her comeback from career-threatening injury.
To achieve such a result, in rough conditions, is testament to the former British champion’s skill and sheer determination, ably assisted of course by trusty navigator Smith. It wasn’t all plain sailing though for Helvetia Wealth as heavy contact with a wave at one stage did briefly cut-out the comms unit.
'I think the curtailment of the second lap was quite sensible', said Shelley, 'After the first lap there were only three or four of us in the 250s still running. On the first part of the course running down to Two Bouys, it was that typical off the Needles swell. For once, probably my sensibility of being a little bit cautious in the rough – and still a little bit scared of the racing – probably got us through in one piece.
'I never thought I was going to make a podium this year, to get back in a boat was my challenge and it’s been hard with a lot of tears. To get a podium at Cowes, second place, is so sweet as it’s near-enough my home town. Dan did a fantastic job navigating too and he handled the bigger course brilliantly.'
Sensational Powerboat racing rookies Simon Bayles (Battersea) and Philippa Baker (Kensington) achieved another podium finish with a richly deserved third place, enabling the Team 88 crew to pull clear in second place in the P1 250 standings three points to the good over Peters & May.
In response to the rough conditions, Bayles said: 'Well, we enjoyed it! It was incredibly rough up to Two Buoys and we arrived there in about third place and from there we blasted it round to North Head – it was still rough but it was great rough. Pippa did a great job navigating, she did really well.'
Philippa added: 'I think it was a balance of trying to keep your boat together as well, if you look at how many boats didn’t finish then you can see that. We didn’t have any problems though, it all went really well – I’m very happy.'
Typhoo, piloted by Andy Wilby (Fleet, Hampshire) and navigated by Jonny Allbut (Southampton), came to a halt within 200 yards of the start after a heavy landing resulted in zero drive – marking Wilby’s first failure to finish in any race in Cowes in 12 years, incredibly disappointing for both crew and sponsor.
Unfortunately for Edox, navigator Anthony Crossley (Sidmouth, Devon) encountered serious pain after a couple of heavy landings early on. Driver Rupert Pugh (Matlock, Derbyshire) benevolently choose to bring the boat to a halt despite Crossley saying he was ok to continue.
Mention must also go to Hull Grand Prix of the Sea podium finisher Ian Brusby (Doncaster) who wasn’t able to compete in Cowes this weekend with his Rough Cut Racing boat due to a family emergency. P1 SuperStock wishes Ian and his family well.
Returning to the Cowes action, in P1 150 Rose Lores (Stubbington, Hampshire) and rookie Lucci Levi (Cowes) looked to have taken a famous victory with an outstanding performance on their first outing together. For 17-year-old Lucci, her first navigational experience was as thrilling and exhilarating as it was superb and marked the beginning of a new chapter in the famous Aitken/Levi family history.
Post-race though, Team Purple’s Stuart and Sara Cureton (Lindford, Hampshire) were promoted to first place from third after the Eclipse duo were adjudged to have missed a marker buoy while battling hard with Team Fox. Rose and Lucci therefore finished second in the end with Martin Colligan (St Helier, Jersey) and Liam McDermott (St Helier, Jersey) third in the Fox boat.
Azam Ali (London) – who also made his AquaX Championship Jet-Ski debut on Saturday at Egypt Point – finished in fourth place in P1 150 alongside navigator Sam Whittle (Twickenham).
All attention now turns to the season finale for P1 SuperStock as the ‘Race to Liverpool’ prepares to reach its conclusion. Albert Dock in the Merseyside city will host round five on 10/11 September where the inaugural P1 250 Panther Champions and the new P1 150 Champions will be crowned. Provisional Cowes-Poole-Cowes Result:
P1 250: 1 Peters & May; 2 Helvetia Wealth; 3 Team 88; 4 Pertemps
P1 150: 1 Team Purple; 2 Eclipse; 3 Team Fox; 4 Aztec Racing Provisional Championship Points:
P1 250: 1 Pertemps 121; 2 Team 88 100; 3 Peters & May 97
P1 150: 1 Team Purple 137; 2 Eclipse 112; 3 Team Fox 106
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