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Oulton Broad crowds thrilled by biggest event of the year

PUBLISHED: 07:39 02 June 2017

Close racing in the Formula 4 class. Picture: Paul Breach

Close racing in the Formula 4 class. Picture: Paul Breach

Paul Breach

Held over the Sunday and Monday of the Bank Holiday weekend, the Lowestoft & Oulton Broad Motor Boat Club's biggest event of the year included Powerboat GP's National Championship races for six classes.

Delight on Oulton Broad at the end of a race. Picture: Paul BreachDelight on Oulton Broad at the end of a race. Picture: Paul Breach

Qualifying for pontoon grid positions took up most of Sunday, finishing with one heat of each class at the end of the afternoon.

Expectations were high as the temperatures and having witnessed a practice lap in the F2 practice of 28.96 seconds by Colin Jelf, fans of the ‘Big Cats’ were all ready to see what could be achieved in race conditions.

Racing started with the Formula 4 catamarans, including local drivers Leon King and Ray Read. It was not long before it was obvious who were the ones to watch out for as they powered around the course leaving the pack behind them.

Next the small GT15 class boats appeared on the shorter course. Joseph Haylock cautiously took part in his first national event with the start from a pontoon, together with sister Jessica who had previously competed at such an event.

Thomas Mantripp holds off  a challenge for first place. Picture: Paul BreachThomas Mantripp holds off a challenge for first place. Picture: Paul Breach

In the the GT30 race former GT15 vhampion Thomas Mantripp, the only local driver in this class and regular driver on the Oulton Broad course, raised the temperature as he and Jonathan Brewer fought tooth and nail, with Thomas claiming the first heat.

The OSY 400 Hydroplanes, all local drivers, once again gave their all and produced excellent driving as James Marr together with Wayne Moyse outperformed favourite Jason Mantripp. It was good to see James put up such a great performance as he had lifted into the air at the previous national event and was unable to compete further.

A small field of T850 ‘Monohull’ drivers raced their craft smoothly around the course in their heat, keeping their now dated craft running reliably, a reminder of when this class was the mainstay of Powerboat Racing.

Then came the Formula 2 Catamarans, still a crowd pleaser as they accelerate at an amazing rate. The 2.5 litre craft had local driver Mark Williams in their number and were joined by club stalwart Ray Birnie in his two litre boat who, although fast was rapidly lapped by the state-of-the art boats. The water and wind conditions were perfect and the lap record was broken at 30.69 seconds by Colin Jelf.

There was a change in the weather on Monday but none of the feared thunder and lightning.

Formula 4 saw another lap record fall as Ben Morse went round in 43.66 seconds.

The OSY400 Hydroplanes found conditions more difficult, with spins and buoy turns being missed while, towards the end of day, Formula 2 racing produced “rooster tails” of steam as the heated water of the Broad hit the air of the cold easterly wind.

Mark Williams put up a great display in the last heat, his white boat appearing eerily as it powered out of the mist.

LOBMBC Challenge Trophy F4: 1 B Morse, 2 R Veares, 3 B Jelf; Rebvale Trophy GT15: 1 G Elmore, 2 H Smith, 3 A Fleet; Jeld Wen Trophy GT30: 1 T Mantripp, 2 J Brewer, 3 J Pickles; Commodores Trophy T850: 1 B Owen, 2 N Edwards, 3 S Cash; R J Pryce Trophy OSY400: 1 J Marr, 2 W Moyse, 3 J Mantripp; Carver Trophy F2: 1 C Jelf, 2 M Williams, 3 P Balfour.

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