British RYA Championships final round were contested at Stewartby Powerboat Club, Bedford over the weekend of 24th and 25th September 2011. The championships have seen competitors battle it out in various locations across the UK to secure the British RYA championship titles.
by Emma Slater
Over 50 competitors have competed in the seven different championship classes throughout the season with ages of competitors ranging from as young as 10 up to their early 70’s.
In one of the most hotly contested campaigns of the year, that didn’t see the same people on the podium at any venue this season, it was 15 year old Natalie Craddock from Wigan who emerged on top and secured the 2011 British RYA GT30 championship title, becoming the first female British Circuit Racing champion in the last decade.
Racing in this class has taken place on a variety of courses including Lancashire, Oulton Broad, Bodymoor, Cardiff and Stewartby, providing a range of racing conditions to test their skill, speed and stamina of the drivers.
The GT30 battle began back in May at Natalie’s home club of LPRC at Carr Mill Dam, St Helens where Natalie finished third behind club mates Jordan Muckles and Charlotte Gilbert. It was then on to Oulton Broad where Natalie made the most of her speed in the corners around the hairpin turn to take the round win and put her into the lead in the championship.
Natalie went on to win the third round of the competition at Bodymoor before heading to the GT30 World Championships at Stewartby where she finished a respectable seventh competing against competitors from Norway, Estonia and fellow British competitors.
Heading into the final round Natalie had a three point lead on closest rival Jordan Muckles and with 11 points separating the top four contenders everything was still to play for.
Heat one and it was 2011 RYA British GT30 Sprint Champion Nick Walsh who got off to a flying start and led the race from start to finish. With Natalie docked a lap for missing a turn mark she needed a good performance in heat two if she was going to keep the championship.
Conditions were very taxing by the time heat two came around but the youngster wasn’t fazed by this and after getting a storming start off the line she won the heat with Nick taking second and Ben Morse taking third. It was now down to the wire for the final race of the season.
Natalie would need to finish fourth or higher in the final heat to ensure fourth place for the weekend and with that the championship win.
The final round was won by Nick Walsh with Charlotte Gilbert taking second and Ben Morse third position. With the results finally in Natalie had finished fourth and with it secured the 2011 British RYA GT30 Championship title.
The overall podium for the 2011 GT30 British Championship was:
1st Natalie Craddock
2nd Ben Morse
3rd Jordan Muckles.
Nikki Drummond RYA Senior Powerboat Racing Administrator commented: 'The GT30 Championship’s been a hotly contested competition all season with all the competitors pushing each other every step of the way producing some fantastic racing.
'All credit to Natalie; the competition could have gone either way to today in the conditions, but she kept her cool and did was she had to do too take the title. Congratulations Natalie!' RYA website
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3:23 PM Thu 29 Sep 2011 GMT