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Powerboat GP 2015 National Championship - Opening Round at Carr Mill

posted 28 Apr 2015, 13:24 by Lancashire Powerboat   [ updated 28 Apr 2015, 13:55 ]

Local competitors battle it in the bid for the title

On the 2nd and 3rd of May, the first round of the 2015 Powerboat GP National Championship will take place at Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club, St Helens. Of the seven categories of boats in action, the North West yielded 3 champions last year including the winner of the hotly contested F4s class where drivers from Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club based in St. Helens finished in the 1st and 2nd placed spots.

 Ben Morse (21, Wigan) and Natalie Craddock (19, Wigan) fought throughout the year and Natalie held her own amongst the field of 8 drivers, and over the course of the 6 race series, to take the runner up spot in what was her first year in this class. This year she returns with a new sponsor and her intentions firmly set on taking home the championship trophy in September. Neither of these drivers are new to championship wins. Ben has many lower category championships under his belt and has won the F4s championship for the past two years, and Natalie was GT30 National Champion in 2011 and GT30 British Sprint Champion in 2012. 

The F4s class boats are catamaran hulls and are powered by Mercury 850cc motors, which produce 60HP. Capable of speeds in excess of 70mph, these boats effectively fly along above the water rather than sitting in it, providing a spectacle for spectators as the driver’s battle at close quarters.

The youngsters don’t have all the glory to themselves, Bill Owen (58, Ashton–in-Makerfield) drove to victory as last year’s Powerboat GP National Champion in the T850 Monohull Class. Bill, who has been racing since 1971 is part of ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’ racing team and will be competing alongside his team mates in what has become one of the hottest contested classes in the National Championships.

The fastest and loudest boats to compete will be the F2 class and last year’s National Champion is another Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club driver. After first taking the F2 crown way back in 2003, Paul Balfour (49, Wigan) further extended his record by taking the RYA Powerboat GP 2014 British Championship title for a fifth

time. Paul will be looking to gain the all-important points in this opening round at his home club where he has already had success in 2015 winning the club’s Tang Leaze Trophy.

F2 Powerboat Racing uses a tunnel hull catamaran design that is capable of both high speeds and exceptional maneuverability. Due to their specially designed hulls, F2 boats are able to turn almost instantaneously incurring more G forces than any other racing machine on the planet. With an extremely high power to weight ratio the acceleration of the F2 hull is truly phenomenal with acceleration measuring 0-60 mph is less than 5 seconds. The F2 Class is the pinnacle of circuit racing in the UK.

The National Championship events are a true family day out, with free admission to two full days of action packed racing. Six classes of boats will take to the water over the weekend, with competitor’s ages spanning five decades, and there are plenty of locations around the lake for spectators to enjoy the competition.