The best of British battle it out on the Broads

The ups and downs of powerboat racing.

The ups and downs of powerboat racing. - Credit: Fred Emeny

For the weekend of July 23/24, Oulton Broad experienced the 'Best of British' as drivers from far and wide descended on the country's premier powerboat racing circuit for round two of the British Championships.

Not only was the weather sizzling hot, but so was the racing from all six classes of boats with drivers aged nine upwards!

Long journeys from Scotland, Poole in Dorset, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and various areas of the south east brought competitors alongside the throng of local drivers for what proved to be yet another resounding success at the world's oldest powerboat racing circuit.

Organised and run by volunteers from LOBMBC, with the club's rescue teams and divers spending hours out on the course in the sweltering heat, assisted by the osprey and rapid response boats, this is a sport of real enthusiasts at all levels - available for spectators, free of charge.

The Saturday event took place in windy conditions with pontoon starts from the east end of the broad for all classe.

With choppy conditions at the top end of the broad, it was particularly uncomfortable for the OSY400 Hydroplane drivers as they turned on to the home straight, as it was for the "V" hulled Monohulls, GT15 and GT30s while the larger F4 and F2s found conditions more manageable.

The ups and downs of powerboat racing.

The ups and downs of powerboat racing. - Credit: Fred Emeny

As the day was drawing to a close, the conditions worsened and red flags appeared as 24 Madelyn Duncan's boat lifted from the water and overturned, throwing her out.

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Rescue lifted her safely into their boat and she was seen to walk to the ambulance for medical checks, wet but well.

The last heat of the day was for the high speed F2s and heading into the wind in his latest F2 purchase, 88 Colin Stewart lifted from the surface and "Kited" making a full 360 degree backward turn, luckily landing upright, safely harnessed inside the safety cell cockpit and free from injury following a visit to the medical team.

Formula 2 start

Formula 2 start. - Credit: John Soanes

At Sunday morning's driver's meeting, great concern was shown at the high wind speed and after due consideration the OOD asked for a show of hands as to who still wished to race and with the exception of the Monohull class all others took part in the individual handicap format heats, producing excellent racing throughout the remainder of the day.

The Hydroplane class lost two craft earlier due to individuals deciding not to race earlier, followed by two disqualifications of two experienced drivers colliding with the Wherry Buoy on separate occasions but those remaining raced on successfully.

Formula 4 wherry Buoy action

Formula 4 wherry Buoy action. - Credit: Fred Emeny

It was so good to see the club stalwart 39 Ray Birnie taking part, courtesy of Colin Stewart who loaned one of his engines to help put boats on the water, the second driver he has helped this season.

GT15 and 30s were as competitive as ever with 24 Madelyn Duncan out of the running following her incident and 21 Brad Duncan returning to compete following his previous starting difficulties.

The Catamaran classes excelled with some stunning high speed action as F4 1 Jonny Brewer possibly set a new lap record and F2 19 Leon Wigg pulled some memorable laps in a display of safe confident driving.

Racing concluded on the advice of the on water rescue crews as the wind speed and gusting increased.

Winners: GT15  11 Abbie Haylock,  LOBMBC National GT15 Cup
GT30    5 George Elmore,  LOBMBC National GT30 Cup
Monohull 49 Mark Williams,  Marrison/Temple Monohull Shield
OSY400  28 Wayne Moyse,  Red Shulver Shield
F4  1 Jonny Brewer,  Jack Wilson Memorial Cup/ Driver of the Event
F2   19 Leon Wigg,  Mountbatten of Burma Trophy.