We have had a fantastic day and amazing start to the season. Winning both races is just the best feeling but I know from experience that it’s a long season and lots will happen between now and the finale in Liverpool.
Wilson’s Premier Cru boat was the class of the SuperStock field in race one, taking a flag to flag win, whilst he inherited the lead by the retirement of Edox with five laps to go in race two.
Promoter Powerboat P1 saw eight new 250hp Panther boats take to the startline as the inaugural race for the new boat got underway ahead of its debut in the USA in a few weeks time. “The Panther has been awesome and has run without any major problems, just a few small things that I know we’ll get sorted as we go along”, commented Wilson.
The races in Jersey’s beautiful St Aubin’s Bay also saw the new Typhoo team’s debut and the famous tea brand’s boat came away second in the points after driver Andy Wilby (Fleet) and navigator Jonny Allbut (Southampton) scored second and third placings in the two races.
Championship regulars were shocked by the stunning performance of rookie Team 88 of Simon Bayles (Battersea) and Philippa Baker (Kensington) who finished second in race two after a highly creditable fifth in their first ever race. “ Today was our debut race in powerboats so to have made the podium at the end of the day is just an amazing feeling. The boats are all equal so it really was a driver’s race out there which helps the newcomers be competitive.”
In the P1 150 Class Stuart and Sara Cureton totally dominated both races in their Team Purple boat to take a clear led in the championship standings over the Eclipse pairing of Rose Lores and Tom Hunter. A full news report of the P1 150 will follow.
All eyes were on the start of race one when Premier Cru got the best start allowing Wilson and navigator Neil Scarborough to immediately put clear water between them and the chasing pack, headed by 2010 SuperStock champion Rupert Pugh (Mattlock Bath) in his Edox Swiss Watches-backed Panther.
Premier Cru took full advantage of clear water ahead of them to pull out a commanding lead before the Panthers started to lap the slower P1 150 boats. A close battle developed between Pugh and Wilby in the distinctive red Typhoo boat, whilst returning racer Shelley Jory-Leigh (Southampton) held fourth in the Helvetia Wealth Panther navigated by newcomer Dan Smith (Southampton).
Jory-Leigh was enjoying a competitive comeback to powerboat racing after a career-threatening crash last year and she was embroiled in the closest battle of the race with impressive newcomer Martin Short (St Ives, Cambs) in race sponsor’s Peters & May Racing boat and Team 88.
The constant pressure eventually saw Jory-Leigh tire in the closing stages and she dropped back to finish sixth, leaving GT car racer Short and new navigator Steve Mitchell to finish fourth in their first ever powerboat race. “I feel like I’ve just done the Le Mans 24 hours!”, he said afterwards. “It was really hard work out there battling through the field but I’m delighted we have the speed to finish so highly.”
The decisive moment in the Edox versus Typhoo contest came on the penultimate lap when Pugh ran slightly wide allowing Wilby to slip through and claim second place behind the jubilant Wilson.
Reigning SuperStock champion Pugh came out all guns blazing at the start of race two and took a commanding lead from Wilson, whilst Typhoo ran wide and ended up in last place. Rupert and navigator Anthony Crossley then reeled off a succession of super fast laps to put clear water between Edox and Premier Cru, until disaster struck on lap six when steering pump failure caused instant retirement.
“It’s really a shame Rupert retired as we were beginning to catch him up as our fuel load reduced and the boat got lighter. He had made an excellent start and we were just holding station to start with but just as we began to think we could give him a run for his money he pulled over “, said Wilson.
Behind Wilson and Team 88 the main action in the chasing pack came from Typhoo as it scythed through the field from last to third place by lap seven. “ I made a mistake at the start and headed to the wrong marker. It took everything from the skill locker to catch up again but we really enjoyed it as we had to work so hard throughout the race. The Panther was great to drive, handled superbly and got me out of some difficult situations”, said Wilby.
Short once again started slowly but steered the Peters & May Racing boat into fourth place ahead of Jory-Leigh’s Helvetia Wealth boat. “I realise now it’s going to take me three or four races to really get back into it again which is frustrating as I’m not a very patient person”, Shelley said. “It was physically quite tough for me and I think there is still some hangover from my injuries, so I’m going to have to work to get race-fit again.”
Jonathan Pegler (Geneve) retired from fifth place in race one. “I hooked a corner and we got thrown sideways and I hurt my shoulder. It was just too painful to carry on.” A visit to hospital revealed a broken collar bone which kept Jonathan and navigator Richard Gould out of race two.
1. Premier Cru 30m 52s
2. Typhoo 31m 13s
3. Edox Swiss Watches 31m 18s
4. Peters & May Racing 31m 36s
5. Team 88 31m 40s
6. Helvetia Wealth 31m 42s
7. Rough Cut Racing 32m 18s
1. Premier Cru 30m 59s
2. Team 88 31m 09s
3. Typhoo 31m 19s
4. Peters & May Racing 31m 57s
6. Helvetia Wealth 32m 12s