The OCRDA Aqua Adrenaline Tour roared into Teignmouth, England for the first time in fifteen years for Round Four of the seven round championship, and what a spectacular display of racing they put on for the large crowds gathered along the promenade of this South coast seaside resort in Devon.
The conditions were the most challenging the fleet of twenty boats has faced so far this season. Traditionally, it has been the West Bay event that provides the rough conditions – but this year, for that event, unusually, the conditions were like a mill pond.
As will always be the case, some boats and crews are better suited to racing in rough water, and that produced big smiles on the faces of Jeremy Gibson and Malachy Browne in Smokey and the Bandit 2. The Kingsbridge based racers, defending F1 Champions, have had a difficult season to date with their new boat and engine, lying in fourth place going into the weekend. However, with the Teignmouth conditions choppy, the weekend produced a clean sweep with three straight wins. Browne now accepts that they will not be challengers for top spot this season, but Teignmouth will be the highlight of their season. He summarised their performance.
First turn buoy lap one in the lead – job done – for every race.
This saw them draw level with Chris Brown Racing in third place in the Championship.
The team to beat in F1 this season has been North Devon based Chris Brown/Peter Snell in Chris Brown Racing, who have returned to racing after a two-year sabbatical. Their season did not start well when they failed to start in Torquay, but they have won every race since, apart from in Caernarfon, Wales where they finished second. However, Teignmouth was a weekend to forget for them – a third place finish in Race 2 was their only result – they did not race again. Their miserable weekend saw them drop to third place in the Championship.
If there was a “Consistency Award,” then the experienced pairing of Craig Temple-Murray/Paul Scott in ABM Precast Solutions would undoubtedly win. They went into the Teignmouth weekend with a very narrow Championship lead over Brown. Another team who introduced a new boat and engine for the 2022 season, Temple-Murray favours rough conditions, and Teignmouth delivered. They finished second overall at Teignmouth, maintaining their Championship lead.
Another crew who reveled in the rough conditions were Richard Mason and Darren Douthwaite in Aquablast. A fourth place and two third places took them up to second place in the Championship.
In F2, 2022 defending OCRDA and National Champions, Andy Childs/Mark Hayward – Fatboy Twin – did not race on Saturday as Childs was unavailable. However, Hayward took over as navigator from Bradley Dopson in the F1 boat 66 Racing alongside Malc Dopson.
Unfortunately, on Saturday the boat was holed and had to retire. It was a better end to the weekend for Hayward – with “The Captain,” Childs, back, this formidable pairing finished second in Race 3 and won the final race on Sunday, finishing third overall, and maintaining their lead in the F2 Championship.
I have a few bruises, but I am incredibly happy.
There was a change of crew in Thurston – James Goldsmith stepping in as navigator for Ben Brown. Wins in Races 2 and 3 were followed up by a second place in the final race. That lifted them to third place in the F2 Championship.
There was a massive surprise in F3. The Championship leaders, Steve Cox/Harrie Shortman – Lions – another new boat for 2022, had won every race so far this season. However, the conditions did not suit them at all, and they finished third overall – a win in Race 2 was followed by a second place and then retirement in the final race. Although a poor weekend by their standards, they retain their Championship lead.
It was a magnificent achievement for F3 overall winners, Simon Tyler/Alix Hopkins-Hayward (Mark Hayward’s son) in Hash Tag. A third place in Race 2 was followed by two race wins. Tyler is new to powerboat racing, this being his first season. It has proved to be a great pairing – Tyler’s enthusiasm for a new sport and Hopkins-Hayward experience of racing boats. To complete their great weekend, they moved into second place in the Championship.
It was also a tremendous weekend in F3 for Neil Williams/Connie Jones – One Step Beyond – finishing second overall with a fourth place and two thirds. Williams is now in his third season of racing and is making steady progress. It had certainly been a weekend of attrition, and although Williams and Jones accept that they are not the fastest crew, they are proving the point, that, to finish first, first you must finish.
OCRDA President, Bob McCarthy, who was also out racing in his boat, If Only, racing in F1 with Robbie Mould, was pleased with a couple of good race performances, and had this to say after the final race on Sunday.
This was a welcoming return to Teignmouth where everyone seemed incredibly pleased that we were back, thanks to Paul Robertson for suggesting that we should revisit.
The OCRDA Aqua Adrenaline Tour now moves on to Kings Lynn, Dunoon in Scotland, and Cardiff Bay in Wales for the final race weekend in early October.
Images supplied by Nigel Cole