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Grand Prix of Ukraine cancelled
Zabo Racing will go to Norway to have a crack at the Class 1 record
Balfour battles through
The 2 inflatable catamaran classes race together in a true Offshore Race
Powerboat racing finally returns to Chasewater
GT15, GT30, T850, F4s, F4, OSY400, F2 and O/Hydro racing at Chasewater this weekend

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22-Jul-14 10:40
Grand Prix of Ukraine cancelled
John Moore

Qatar to host round 3 of the UIM F1H2O World Championship Photo: Simon Palfrader

H2O Racing has confirmed that the Grand Prix of the Middle East, round 3 of the 2014 UIM F1H2O World Championship, will take place in Doha, Qatar on 14-15 November.

The revision to the calendar announced by H2O Racing president Nicolo di San Germano, follows the enforced postponement earlier in the year of the Grand Prix of Ukraine scheduled to take place in Kyiv in July.

The news sees the F1H2O World Championship heading back to the Qatari capital Doha for the second time in 2014 for the 12th Grand Prix to be held in the country in ten years, the first event taking place in 2005. "We are delighted to be heading back to Doha for a second visit this year and are very appreciative of the continued support that we receive from HE Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and his excellent team at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation," said Nicolo di San Germano. "Qatar has proven time and time again that it is one of the world leader's at hosting World Championship powerboat and water sport events."

Before the teams return to Qatar, the F1H2O World Championship heads to Liuzhou for the Grand Prix of China in October.

21-Jul-14 23:08
Zabo Racing will go to Norway to have a crack at the Class 1 record
John Moore

Christian Zaborowski and Ugur Isik are quietly confident

During the Tønsberg Båtrace event to be held in Norway on the 8th and 9th August, Zabo Racing will attempt to beat the existing Class 1 world speed record.

The team will make their run looking to overhaul Andreas Ove Ugland's old record of 145.15 mph.

The crew of Christian Zaborowski and Ugur Isik are quietly confident, "We're really looking forward to this. and everything is prepared", Zaborowski said.

The record run will be over a 500 m track between Vear and Nøtterøy.

Spectators can either watch from their boats on the TV transmission at the pier or marina in Rakkevik said Event Organiser Frode Sundsdal.

20-Jul-14 18:18
Balfour battles through
Chris Davies

F2 Balfour leads the charge - Photo: Chris Davies

In front of a huge crowd of spectators all enjoying a warm summer’s day in the West Midlands, Paul Balfour blew the F2 opposition away as the powerboat racing revival at Chasewater continued today. Having comfortably taken the first heat, the driver from Warrington knew that he had to make the advantage of starting from pole position pay off and that’s precisely what he did. With the fleet struggling to stay in contention he admitted after his third heat win that he felt a ‘little bit lonely’ out in front especially as his main rival for the national title, Colin Jelf, was forced to sit out due to a recurrence of a lower back pain. “Of course I’m really pleased that I won all three heats, it’s just a pity that Jelf wasn’t out there” said Balfour. “We still have two rounds to go for the national title as we add the points we gain at the Sprint Championship towards it, so even though I’m a step closer, its still not a done deal as knowing Jelf he will be fighting fit in a couple of weeks, because that guy never gives up.”

Taking second spot on the podium much to the delight of his sponsors Squirrel Wealth Management, who were watching the racing from the VIP lounge, was Matt Palfreyman. Although he had crossed the line in fourth place in the second heat he was moved up to second place after Alan Marshall was docked a lap for missing a turn buoy and Owen Jelf also fell foul of the OOD who adjudged him as not maintaining his lane at the race start. Palfryman had made a tentative start in the third heat and soon found himself in a battle royal with Mark Williams for third place. Taking advantage of his higher grid spot he slid inside the Lowestoft driver as they reached the first turn but he had no answer for Owen Jelf who by then looked solid in second place. “I tried to catch Owen up but I then realised that he was way below me in the points table so I settled for third because I didn’t want to risk a podium spot, after all they needed someone good looking on it” he joked afterwards.

Third place went to Steve Hoult much to his amazement as he had been struggling to repeat his form that had earned him a second place the previous day. “I got taken out at the first turn in the second heat and crossed the finish line in fifth place, so to end up on the podium is remarkable really.” 

Only two other drivers finished the weekend on maximum points like Balfour and it would be no surprise to learn that their Christian names are both Ben. In the F4S category Ben Morse repeated his Kingsbury performance and in doing so wrapped up the National F4S Championship title with one round still remaining. “I really have no complaints it’s been a great season racing against some stiff but fair competitors. I want to thank my Mum, Dad, Richard and Clare for all the time and effort they put in, I wouldn’t be on the top step of the podium without their support. The next round is the Sprint Championship at Stewartby and I know that Mike Pillow will be very competitive there but I won it last season and I know I have the boat to get the job done once again.”

Balfour dominant in F2- Photo: Chris Davies

At the prize giving ceremony Morse became the first person to be awarded the Mervyn Aigne Memorial Trophy. It was presented by his widow and former F4 racer Pat Aigne. Mervyn, who had been the Chasewater Club Commodore for several years recently succumbed to cancer and will be greatly missed by all those involved in powerboat racing.

Ben Jelf was another driver to repeat his Kingsbury GP feat when he once again dominated the GT15 class, though it would take a major upset if he was to deny his rival Thomas Mantripp the 2014 national title. Mantripp did come under some early pressure from Jess Beaumont, who really nailed her starts today and with these two battling for second Jelf took the opportunity to pull out a healthy lead on the pair of them. 

In the GT30 category it was Charlotte Newton’s turn to apply the pressure on Jelf but when she accidently headed towards the right hand turn after the start of the second heat, Jelf quickly past her and open up an unassailable lead. “Yes, it was very frustrating but to be honest with his speed it would only have been a matter of time before he’d got past me” said Newton. Making it a hat trick of podium visits this year was Abbie Brewer, who despite having some scary moments at the top of the course did enough to secure third place.

After beating Bill Owen into second place on Saturday in the T850 class all eyes were on Matt Wood to see if he could get the better of his rival once more and to Woods delight not only did he pull off that feat he also secured his maiden national race victory. Starting from pole in the second heat Wood over cooked the first turn and bumped into Owen. “It was my corner to have and he had no right to be there” said Wood. “When he hit me it made my teeth rattle” said Owen, who then had a fright when his throttle stuck open. “Rather than roll it in front of the field I took a wide line to try and sort out the problem” said Owen. “By then everyone had got past me, driving through the pack was great fun though.” In the third heat Wood knew that second would be good enough plus he also wanted to keep his engine fresh for a crack at the Sprint Championships.

With just two weeks to go before the Sprint Championship takes place at Stewartby Lake in Bedfordshire, the competition is certainly hotting up, with various drivers all keen to secure the sprint title and for the F2 racers its also an opportunity to win the Jerry Lamber Sprint Trophy, a much sort after achievement.

20-Jul-14 11:55
The 2 inflatable catamaran classes race together in a true Offshore Race
John Moore

Torbay Eco Energies - Jake Bellas & Rob Webb - Photo: Caroline Cheer

When I asked around yesterday, no one was old enough to remember the last time that ThunderCats had raced against boats from their rival series of ZapCats.

The two disciplines on the surface seem very similar, but when you probe the rules closer, there are differences, the major one being that the outboard on a ZapCat sports a prop guard.

A little piece of offshore racing history was made when the organisers of ThunderCat Racing and ZapCat Racing - Fiona Pascoe and Jamie Stickler got together, merged their efforts to put on a 54 NM "longhaul" race between Lymington and Sandown IOW and back. 

Demelza Johns & Zoe Smillie - "There was a whole load of buoys out there!"

Bligh Julius who races Team 33 with co-driver Charles Hatfield both racing in their home event - Lymington, went into this race as championship leaders with 137 points, with Jack Weller and Arron Joyce in Unlucky 4 Some snapping at their heals with 122 points and looking to overturn the points deficit.

Julius and Hatfied took the overall race honours, a spirited performance from the Welsh team of, Simon Harding and Rylan Edwards ensured them a second place.

Harding's impressive form in an offshore race relegated Weller and Joyce, Unlucky 4 Some to third, thus leaving them more work to do in the final races of the championship to overhaul the Lymington duo.

The ZapCat teams that entered the race did not feature on the podium, uber professional Haggis Hunters - David Finlayson and Ashleigh Finlayson finished first in their discipline, although some 8 minutes behind winners Team 33. Various theories were expounded after the race, the most popular was that the prop guards do slow the ZapCats.

As always, after an event of this nature, there were many stories of daring do.

The all girl team of Demelza Johns and Zoe Smillie - Kingfisher Fire & Security were back together after Demelza had to forego racing at Saundersfoot due to an injury sustained at the Boscombe Event.

For the girls, this adventure was a first, when I asked Nurse Johns from Yorkshire, "How was your first experience of a long haul race?"

"There was a whole load of buoys out there!" she replied with the most amazing smile.

Dave Sheldon a seasoned Class 3 Offshore Racer driving Multispark said at his sign off, "I'm not doing that again!" - Although after a few cold ones with the author he was looking forward to his next longhaul!

A special mention must be made to the Team Gibraltar pairing of Leslie Figueras and Albert Perez who with their Team Manager Wayne Warwick are flying to all the UK ThunderCat races in pursuit of international UIM licences so they can compete in the British Overseas Territory at the bottom of Spain at the European ThunderCat Championships to be held in October.

Lymington local boys Bligh Julius & Charles Hatfied win the race 

Photo: Caroline Cheer 

The event was lauded as an overall success - Well done to Fiona Pascoe and Jamie Stickler for finally bringing the rival disciplines together for a very tough afternoon of offshore powerboat racing. 


Provisional overall: ThunderCat & ZapCat

1st #33 - Team 33 - Bligh Julius & Charles Hatfied 1 hour 30 mins

2nd #51 - - Simon Harding & Rylan Edwards 1 hour 31 mins

3rd #13 - Unlucky 4 Some - Jack Weller & Arron Joyce 1 hour 33 mins

Provisional overall: RYA ZapCat National

1st #82 - Haggis Hunters - David Finlayson & Ashleigh Finlayson -1 hour 38 mins

2nd #1 - Who The Hell - Steve Pidsley & Jason Ellis - 1 hour 40 mins

3rd #26 - ZapCat Worx - Simon Matthews & Martin Jerome - 1 hour 54 mins

Provisional overall: RYA ThunderCat National

1st #33 - Team 33 - Bligh Julius & Charles Hatfied 1 hour 30 mins

2nd #51 - - Simon Harding & Rylan Edwards 1 hour 31 mins

3rd #13 - Unlucky 4 Some - Jack Weller & Arron Joyce 1 hour 33 mins




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