Kent based Jelf Racing Team this weekend headed to Nottingham for the UIM World & European Powerboat Championships and British Nottingham GP for 3 days of fast and frantic bank holiday action.
First up was the Junior Jelf racers of George Elmore and Jonathan Brewer who were competing for the UIM European GT15 Championship. George the youngest member of the Jelf Racing Team would be competing in his first international competition amongst a World class fleet but the youngster was raring to go and was looking forward to proving himself against the foreign competitors.
Fighting through the qualifying session less than 5 seconds separated the 14 boat fleet with representation from Estonia, Norway, Sweden and fellow British competitors. World Champion Stefan Arand took pole position with Jonathan in second place and George qualifying in 12th.
Heat 1 and Stefan Arand took a strong lead leaving Jonathan to battle with British rival Thomas Mantripp for second place. Thomas took the lead leaving Jonathan to settle for a strong third place and George finishing a fantastic 7th making up 5 places in just two laps.
Heat 2 saw a repeat finish for the first 3 finishers with Arand, Mantripp and Brewer all chasing each other to the finish flag, unfortunately a steering problem forced George to pull out of the race on the start.
Heat 3 saw Arand once again take the heat and with it clinch the European title so it was down to the two Brits to battle for second and third in the championship. So the battle commenced and this time it was Jonathan who got the jump on Thomas and secured the second place heat finish. George once again put in a strong fight making his way from the back of the grid boosting himself another 5 places up the grid to finish in 10th.
So it was all down to the final heat and with the absence of the newly crowned European champion from the start grid Jonathan was on pole and only had to finish ahead of Thomas to secure the European silver. As the lights went out Jonathan got a great start and as the fleet rounded the top turn he held his lead. The race was restarted due to a boat barrell rolling out on the first lap and Jonathan had to do it all again. The youngster put in a sterling performance and kept his nerve taking the final heat win and with it securing his first International silver medal. George took another 10th place finish securing 12th overall at his first international event in a fantastic effort.
Next in action was Ben Jelf who was ready to challenge for the UIM World GT30 Championship in a dominating fleet. Ben was going to have his work cut out for him though with Estonian’s taking the top 4 places in qualifying Ben was forced to settle for 6th on the grid.
Undeterred the Ben battled hard through the first two heats racing finishing in 6th and 5th. With a slight change in conditions and even more determined the youngster headed into third heat ready for the challenge ahead. However things were not to go the 15 year olds way this weekend when pushing hard in second place he rolled his boat and went for an early swim seeing any chances of a UIM medal for 2015 quashed. Not one to give up though Ben was back out for heat 4 and once more pushing hard but only through Ben’s skill did he narrowly colliding with one of the racers costing him vital points. A tough weekend that saw him finish a very respectable 6th overall.
As well as the four international classes that were competing at Nottingham the Powerboat GP F2 British Championship was hosting its penultimate round of their 2015 campaign meaning Colin Jelf was back in action. Still on a high from his recent British Sprint victory Colin was raring to go. Perfecting the two buoy turn during qualification Colin was literally inches away from the turn buoys as he got quicker and quicker through the session to secure pole position.
Colin continued that pace into the first heat where he led from start to finish to secure the first points of the weekend. Reigning champion Paul Balfour went to battle with championship leader Steve Hoult and Alan Marshall for second and third place.
Heat two saw Hoult, Jelf, Balfour and Marshall head into the first turn together and as the spectators held their breaths waiting to see who would come out of the turn first it was Steve Hoult that had the edge. Jelf rounded the two pin course with precision trying to catch him but just couldn’t find the space on the narrow course to pass him.
Down to heat three and from pole and with great speed Hoult once again took the lead into the first turn once again Marshall, Jelf and Balfour were hot on his wake but with Balfour forced to retire and Jelf suffering engine gremlins half way through the heat as his engine went into guardian mode and dropping him back to 5th it was Marshall that was left to chase down Hoult to try and catch him.
With two out of three heat wins Steve Hoult secured the Powerboat GP F2 Nottingham GP with Jelf Racing’s Colin Jelf taking the Silver medal and Alan Marshall completing the podium.
After a very busy weekend for the whole team, Team Manager and F2 driver Colin Jelf had this to say on the team’s achievements and troubles “Once again the team has worked really hard this weekend and it has been a real team effort. George and Ben both had problems that meant boats needed to be repaired to get them back on the water in time for their next heat but we managed it.”
He continued “But all our drivers drove brilliantly in some testing races, it’s never easy at international events as you know the standard of your competitors. We’re all really proud of Jono and his European Silver medal and it means a lot to all the team. As always we have to thank our sponsors, all our team and supporters for their dedication to the team.”