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Memorial event for power boat racer

PUBLISHED: 07:09 10 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:26 06 July 2010

Tom Percival

Tom Percival

Hayley Mace

Powerboat racers and fans will gather for a memorial event this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of a Norfolk racing champion.

Tom Percival, who learned his powerboat skills at the Lowestoft and Oulton Broad motorboat club during the 1960s, died 25 years ago after a racing accident in Belgium.

Powerboat racers and fans will gather for a memorial event this week to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of a Norfolk racing champion.

Tom Percival, who learned his powerboat skills at the Lowestoft and Oulton Broad motorboat club during the 1960s, died 25 years ago after a racing accident in Belgium.

On Thursday evening, the power-boat meeting at Oulton Broad is being dedicated to his memory and a special exhibition will be in place showcasing Mr Percival's racing achievements.

Mr Percival, who lived in Horning, took part in his debut race in 1966. He went on to win national titles and was twice crowned Canon European Series Champion in 1976 and 1978.

Although his racing took him all over Europe, he continued to ride test laps around Oulton Broad with his race partner Bob Spalding when he could.

Mr Percival was involved in an accident during the fifth lap of the Grand Prix de Belgique on the River Meuse in Liege, Belgium, on August 19, 1984. He suffered severe head injuries, slipped into a coma and died the following morning in hospital.

His widow Gilly Percival has arranged a special exhibition which will be displayed in a marquee on Thursday at Oulton Broad, where Mr Percival is still something of a club legend

She said: “Tom was a club member at Oulton Broad - he learned his skills there and then did lots of testing there later. Powerboats ran in his family; his grandfather was the Brooke of the Brooke Marine boatyard.

“He still holds the lap record, which he set in 1984 after going all the way round the broad in 27.78 seconds.”

She added: “Tom won some 300 trophies during his career, which have all been in storage. We've cleaned lots of them up to put on display and they will be there alongside films being shown of some of his races.

“A lot his old friends and some of the people he used to travel around with will also be there.”

The Lowestoft and Oulton Broad motorboat club's memorial race night starts at 5.30pm on Thursday at Nicholas Everitt Park in Oulton Broad.


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