Over the Bank Holiday weekend (26/27 May) British Powerboat racers were out on the water for the second round of the Powerboat GP RYA British championships at the Lowestoft Grand Prix.
Powerboat GP RYA British Championship - F2’s in action
The event, hosted by the Lowestoft & Oulton Broad Motorboat Club saw 45 competitors battle it out with fast and furious action in eight different Championship classes.
As the vast crowds lined the banks of Nicholas Everitt park in Sunday's glorious sunshine, the teams took to the water for qualifying before heading into their heats.
Reigning championship leader Ben Jelf once more found blistering pace and set the best qualifying time out of the 11 junior racers that took to the water, with local youngster Thomas Mantripp pushing him every inch of the course for second on the grid and Jess Beaumont qualifying in third.
Heading into their three heats of the weekend Jelf and Mantripp continued to dominate the two top spots respectively, from start to finish and were in comfortable positions in the third heat when race officials were forced to red flag the race due to uncontrollable gusting winds that made conditions tricky for the junior racers.
The other juniors continued to battle it out for third, fourth and fifth positions with some great tactical manoeuvres and some silly mistakes making the bronze medal position anyone's to claim. Jess Beaumont looked on form to claim third place with some great racing, but was disqualified from the second heat for losing her race number and found herself relegated down the points table.
Peters & May Racing's Ben Jelf claimed the Lowestoft Grand Prix title ahead of Thomas Mantripp, with JPL Racing's Jonathan Brewer completing the podium line up in his first ever trophy position in a national race.
TopCat Racing's Jordan Muckles was once again on fine form securing pole position and first heat win from team-mate Jess Stoneman. During heat two, disaster struck for Jordan whilst he was leading the race when a gust of wind caught the boat and he was launched into the air to complete a 360 degree flip before landing the boat upright on the racing line causing the race to be red flagged.
Jess Stoneman made the most of Jordan's absence during the restart to take the lead but Kevin Hill and Will Wood were not going to give up without a fight and in what was one of the most exciting races of the weekend the three jostled for position to the chequered flag where Kevin Hill took the top spot, Wood finished second and Stoneman settled for third.
With the worsening conditions, the GT30 Lowestoft Grand Prix was decided on just two heats with Kevin Hill securing the title, Jess Stoneman claimed silver and Will Wood the bronze medal positions.
The T850 Class took to the water in a flurry of fast paced action with David James leading the way in qualifying and through both of their two heats to take the Lowestoft Grand Prix title.
Throughout both races, local driver Mark Williams, Bill Owen and Jason Brewer were bearing down on Dave, just waiting for a wrong manoeuvre to enable them to slip past!
The T850 battle looks set to get very interesting at the next round in Kingsbury and we suspect that last year’s champion, Mark Williams, will be looking towards the top spot on the podium.
Williams took the silver medal Grand Prix spot with Bill Owen forced to settle for Bronze.
Three Outboard Hydros took to the water for the first round of their British Championship campaign and local competitor Wayne Turner was the one to watch!
Following a second place finish at the opening round of the European Championships in Italy a few weeks ago, Wayne was on flying form that he carried throughout the weekend setting a new course lap time record and securing the Grand Prix Title.
Club mate Paul Jillings secured second place despite pushing hard to catch Wayne and Stewartby's Nigel Edwards took third in his welcome return to racing.
Five of these flighty Hydroplanes took to the water for the first round of their 2013 Championship campaign. Jason Freeman and James Marr pushed each other through every inch of the race course throughout the weekend battling for the top spot and the lead in the championship.
Freeman took the first heat win and following a racing incident in the second heat that forced Geoff Lowther and Jason Mantripp to retire from the rest of the days racing, Marr secured the second heat win. This meant that the third and final heat of the weekend would be the decider and it would go down to the wire.
Freeman took the win and with it secured his first National Grand Prix victory, James Marr finished second and Tony Knights completed the podium.
Two of the remaining old school F4 Boats took to the water to compete this weekend, with Brian Block and Brian Shulver battling for position throughout the weekend. Brian Shulver remained dominant to secure the weekend win from club mate and adversary Brian Block.
The new green engine, F4s Class took to the water for their second British Championship round in their inaugural year in the UK.
Four drivers battled it out over the course of the weekend in what looks like a promising new class for British Powerboat Racing.
JPL Racing Team mates Mike Pillow and Ben Morse battled strong throughout the weekend pushing themselves and their boats, with Sam Whittle clawing back inches every lap behind them. Justin Perks was a welcome new addition to the class, although he unfortunately suffered engine gremlins and was forced to retire.
Taking two out of three heat wins, Mike Pillow secured the Grand Prix Title with Ben Morse taking silver and Sam Whittle the Bronze in what's shaping up to be a tight championship campaign.
Reigning British F2 Champion Malcolm Goodman was back on form on the broads and was taking no prisoners as he set the fastest time in qualifying of the 11 F2 Catamarans competing over the bank holiday weekend, with Peters & May’s Colin Jelf just 0.23 of a second behind Goodman in the qualifying times.
Goodman got a great start in the first heat and led from start to finish with rookie F2 racers Steve Hoult and Maclaren H2o’s Matt Palfreyman taking second and third respectively with local driver Scott Curtis suffering engine trouble costing him valuable race positions.
Heat 2 and Goodman was hot off the line again, along with Matt Palfreyman but the chasing pack were right upon them as they went into the first turn and Goodman made the most of the clean water and powered ahead.
Owen Jelf had resolved earlier problems and chased Malcolm home in second place with Palfreyman securing third and Colin Jelf working his way through the field following a bad start from tenth to finish in fourth.
Failing weather conditions forced the final F2 heat of the weekend to be cancelled on the grounds of safety and with that the points were added up.
The winner's laurels for the Powerboat GP F2 Lowestoft Grand Prix went to JPL’s Malcolm Goodman with the silver medal being awarded to Matt Palfreyman and bronze being clinched by Peters & May driver Colin Jelf.
With the trophies presented and the champagne sprayed, the crowds and champions dispersed after a fantastic weekends racing.
The competitors are looking forward to a few weeks break before the next round of the championship, the Kingsbury Grand Prix on the 06-07 July at the Kingsbury Water Park, Sutton Coldfield
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