UKOPRA British Offshore Championships: Thrilling racing graces Lymington water as powerboats return
OFFSHORE powerboat racing returned to Lymington and the Solent for the first time in years, with spectators treated to thrilling racing.
After a hiatus of more than 10 years, the Lymington Challenge, the third round of this year’s UKOPRA British Offshore Championships, started from Berthon Lymington Marina.
Former-offshore racer Brian Pelham provided the safe hands on the crane lifting the boats in and then out for weighing after the race.
With 23 teams scheduled to line up on the starting line, 15 powerboats, which can reach speeds uup to 100mph, completed the course and registered a finishing time.
The start boat collected the fleet under a yellow flag, and all the race boats followed in a line heading towards Hurst Castle. When the start boat was satisfied that the course was clear, the green flag rose, and the 73 nautical mile race was on.
Class 1 saw a razor-close finish, with Rob Lockyer and Scott Younger’s Good Boy Vodka taking victory with an average speed of 97.88 mph, finishing just 1.25 seconds ahead of Gary Aldington and Tom Gardner’s Vintage Torque. Drew Langdon and Miles Jennings took third aboard Silverline, which suffered suspected fuel problems to an engine while leading with 24 miles left.
Team imol’s James Winkworth, Dave Sheldon, and Gary Tolman won Class 2, while Andrew Foster and Charles Morris won Class 3D in Renegade 2.
In the Class 3E race, Craig Fletcher and Duncan Good (Life Racing) won, with the Class 3C honours going the way of Rob Hawkins and Darren Elliot (Bubblin’ Hot).
Finally, in the Thundercats class, joint-race organiser and Team 33 Extreme Racing’s driver Bligh Julius and navigator Adam Barker won.
Moku Racing’s navigator, Berti Munro, who teamed up with driver Darryn Harrison said: “We had a great run down to Hurst Castle leading the Class 3C pack, but then the extra 60hp of Bubbling Hot passed us!
“We finished five minutes behind Bubbling Hot after 74 nautical miles. That’s just a difference of three mph average speed between a 200hp boat and a 140hp.”
It wasn’t the most positive of races for MADCRAB Offshore Racing Team’s Milford-based Nick Crouch and Keyhaven’s Rob Lister, who lost power mid-race while leading the race.
Crouch said: “We had a lot of fuel in the forward tank, and it was making us nose heavy, so Rob asked me to switch tanks to the bow so that we would use that fuel first.
“After that, we ran neck-and-neck with eventual winners Renegade 2 until Hengisbury Head, where we edged ahead.
“All was good at the Boscombe Pier turn, but as we neared the next one, we lost around four mph, and then the engine shut off, racing over for us.
“I don’t think it was mechanical, as we lost all power instantly, which points to an electrical fault, hopefully, but we’ll see.
“Luckily, we had some emergency rations, in the form of bottles of lager, to break into.
“Our thanks go out to our sponsors, Mark Cutler Automotive, Solent Projects and Tony Hope.”
It is the second time in their last two races that the former British champions’ equipment has let them down while leading their class. They ultimately finished in third in their last race, the 51-nautical mile round-two course around the Isle of Wight.
In the past, Royal Lymington Yacht Club hosted the Lymington race from their Bath Road home.
Results – Class 1: Rob Lockyer and Scott Younger (Team 25 Good Boy Vodka); 2, Gary Aldington and Tom Gardner (Vintage Torque); 3, Drew Langdon and Miles Jennings (Silverline); 4, Daniel Smith and Dorian Griffith (Pippa). Class 2: James Winkworth, Dave Sheldon and Gary Tolman (Team imol); 2, Marcus Dodd and Brett Croxson (Assagai). Class 3C: Rob Hawkins and Darren Elliot (Bubblin’ Hot); 2, Darryn Harrison and Berti Munro (Moku Racing). Class 3D: 1, Andrew Foster and Charles Morris (Renegade 2); 2, Jason Field and Tom Trotman (KMO Marine). Class 3E: Craig Fletcher and Duncan Good (Life Racing); 2, Hugo Peel Adrian de Ferranti and Richard Jessel (Thunderstreak); 3, Peter Hall and Terry Parsons (Mango Crazy). Thundercats: 1, Bligh Julius and Adam Barker (Team 33 Extreme Racing); 2, Scott Kershaw and Adam Reed (Team Pickle).