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LPRC Drivers Celebrate success at National Championhips

posted 4 May 2015, 07:55 by Lancashire Powerboat   [ updated 4 May 2015, 08:24 ]

The 2015 Powerboat GP British Championship got underway in style this weekend as it kicked off at the Lancashire GP at Carr Mill Dam in St Helens. 30 Powerboat Teams form all over the UK headed to the Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club for the start of the British campaign battling it out across 5 class of boat.


 

(L - Matt Wood being pursued by Dave James in the T850 class. R – Dave James on the 1st place podium)

In the T850 class it looked to be Chequered Flag Racing Team’s Matt Wood who was set to take the first honours. On the first day of racing he secured pole position and stormed the first heat from start to finish. The second heat once more saw Matt take an early lead and set to clinch the victory, when two laps from the end engine problems forced him to retire resulting in Lancashire’s very own Dave James from the ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ racing team securing the win. Despite every effort from Matt, in the third heat Dave got the best start and held the youngster off to take the Lancashire GP title.

 

 

(L - Mike Pillow storms to victory R- Mike with Sam and Natalie on the podium)

Meanwhile in the F4 class, reigning champion Ben Morse was plagued with problems which saw fierce rival Mike Pillow only to happy to capitalise on the champions’ misfortune. Pillow qualified on pole position and went on to secure a clean sweep of heat wins to take the Grand Prix title and the all-important first round championship points. 2nd Place went to Sam Whittle and 3rd Place saw female driver Natalie Craddock. Talking after the race Mike had this to say on the win “I’m very happy to win this weekend. The boat was handling well during testing at Easter, but so was everyone else so I wasn’t sure what would happen this weekend.” He continued “it’s along way until the end of the season and there’s some strong competition in the fleet. I’ve taken that all important step towards winning the championship. It’s been 31 years since I last won a British title so that will be my focus from now on. We’ll see what happens at the next round in a few weeks time.”

 

 

(L- Ben Jelf leading the way in the GT30 class R- GT30 Podium)

The GT30 class saw the reigning GT30 champion Ben Jelf once more carving the way around the course as he secured pole position. Like the F4 winner Ben stormed his way through the heats to take 3 out of 3 wins and his first trophy of the season. The two new racers, Bexley Nunn and Jamie Norris-Still took 2nd and 3rd podium places respectively gaining confidence and experience with every lap.

  

 

(L - Thomas Mantripp racing to the finish R- GT15 Podium)

One of the fieriest battles of the weekend came from the junior racers in the GT15 Class with Thomas Mantripp and Jonathan Brewer throwing down the gauntlet to each other. Jonathan secured pole position, but in the first heat as they rounded the first turn it was Mantripp that took the lead. Holding Jonathan off until the chequered flag Mantripp secured his win in the first heat. As the youngsters headed in to heat two the action was set to hot up. Jonathan sat on the reigning champions wake the whole race waiting for an opportunity to pass, when two laps from the finish he ceased the moment and sailed home to take his first ever heat win. 

The battle was really on and with the Lancashire GP result depending on the final heat, all eyes turned to the water. Thomas took the lead but once again Jonathan bore down on him not giving him an inch he managed to squeeze past him to take the lead for a couple of laps. Mantripp, the determined champion took his opportunity to reclaim the lead and pulled away to take the chequered flag, and with it the Lancashire GP title. This is certainly a contest which promises to have us all on the edge of our seats as the 2015 championship unfolds.


  

(L- Matt Palfreyman on his lap of honour R – F2 Podium)

Powering ahead in the F2 championship was Lancashire’s Matt Palfreyman, the youngest racer in the F2 fleet. Matt,  took to the water with something to prove. The young gun secured pole position and didn’t put a turn wrong all weekend, he went on to secure 3 straight wins and scoop his first National Grand Prix title. The F2 podium was completed by Steve Hoult and Paul Balfour making it a Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club podium to be proud of.

Talking proudly after the customary early bath for a first championship win “I’m so happy with how the boat has handled this weekend, I couldn’t be more pleased to have taken the home win” he continued. “We’ve put a lot of work in over the winter to test the limits of the boat to get the best setups and that works really paid off this weekend. Now to focus on the next round and the rest of the season.”


 All attentions now turn to the Lowestoft Grand Prix on the 24th & 25th May as the Powerboat GP Championship heads to Oulton Broad and a whole new set of racing conditions for the competitors to compete with stay up to date with all the action on www.powerboatgp.co.uk

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