On the weekend of the 12th & 13th September, the RYA Powerboat GP 2015 Champions were crowned at the final round during the Bedford GP at Stewartby. The final round saw 6 champions declared after a fantastic season of fast and furious action that has produced some of the closest campaigns results of recent years.
In the Junior GT15 Class Jonathan Brewer and Thomas Mantripp once again went head to head in the battle for the 2015 Powerboat GP title in a battle that’s raged all season long between the two youngsters. Thomas once more secured pole position and just had to complete one heat to see him secure the double crown for the 2015 season.
Heat 1 and Thomas had one goal, the double British title to compliment his World Silver medal and European Bronze and did just that leading from start to finish in all three heats and securing the Powerboat GP Bedford GP GT15 Crown. Meanwhile with Jonathan Brewer securing a triple silver medal in his most successful season to date, Harvey Smith and Elliott Fleet were left to battle it out for the Bronze medal position. A strong performance from both youngsters saw Harvey Smith just managing to hold Elliott off to claim the third championship podium place.
The GT30 class saw another dominating performance from Ben Jelf once more securing pole position and another 3 clean heat wins to see him claim the RYA GT30 British Championship title, his 11th championship title to date. Meanwhile Jamie Norris and Bexley Nunn went head to head to battle it out for the second and third podium places.
However in the final heat Jamie Norris hooked on the top turn straight into the path of Bexley, who despite take avoiding action, collided with Jamie seeing both boats damaged and forced to retire leaving Luke Hugman to take the silver medal spot for the Bedford GP, Jamie Norris takes the Championship silver medal with Bexley Nunn taking his first ever championship podium finish, securing the bronze.
The T850 class saw Matt Wood with the Championship title in his sights and ready to stake a claim to win his first British title however looking to put pay to the youngsters run of luck was veteran racer Bill Owen, fresh from his Powerboat GP RYA British Sprint championship. Wood quickly set about getting down to business setting pole position in qualifying ahead of his fierce rivals.
He then went on to take a clean sweep of heat wins to secure his first British RYA Championship. Bill Owen took second overall for the Bedford GP but it was local racer Nigel Edwards who took the second podium step in the Powerboat GP RYA T850 British Championship and Bill Owen was forced to settle for the Bronze championship medal.
In F4, Ben Morse really was back to winning ways and was set on finishing the campaign on a high after being forced to miss 7 weeks of competition mid-season that dashed his British Championship dreams for 2015. Once more setting pole position Morse looked untouchable this weekend. Qualifying in second was youngster Ben Jelf ahead of TopCat Racing’s Jordan Muckles who was on flying form.
Ben Morse got a strong start in heat 1 but disaster struck for Jelf as Sam Whittle collided with him in the first turn and Jelf was forced to retire from the rest of the weekend. With Whittle also sustaining damage, Natalie Craddock capitalised on his misfortune to launch her attack on the championship campaign.
Morse took three clean heat wins to win the Powerboat GP Bedford GP crown, Natalie secured both silver in the Bedford GP but also went on to secure second in the British Championship campaign. Despite the damage sustained to his boat, a successful season for Southampton based Sam Whittle saw a fifth place finish enough to secure him his first ever RYA Powerboat GP RYA F4 British Championship!.
The final class in action was the F2 catamarans the season had been full of exhilarating racing all season and the Bedford GP was to be no different. Newcastle’s Steve Hoult had a narrow lead over British RYA Sprint Champion Colin Jelf as the two went head to head for the coveted British F2 Championship title but also ready to launch an attack were Paul Balfour and Alan Marshall with all competitors having been on flying form in recent rounds each pushing the others to their limits.
Less than a second separated the top three of Paul Balfour, Steve Hoult and Colin Jelf during qualifying and looked to pave the way for three nail biting heats. First blood went to reigning champion Paul Balfour but focussed and with a home water advantage, Colin Jelf had the championship challenge in his sights as he took the second heat win.
Back on pole position for heat 3 Jelf looked to have a problem from the start and on the second lap disaster struck as Colin lost his prop and prop shaft forcing him to retire and watch the rest of the race from the centre of the course and his double championship campaign sink with his propeller.
In a blinding race Alan Marshall took the final heat win seeing Steve Hoult’s three second places in the heats secure him the Powerboat GP Bedford GP Title and with it the Powerboat GP RYA British F2 Sprint Championship crown. Jelf secured the championship silver medal and tied on points for the bronze medal Paul Balfour secured the final championship podium place over Alan Marshall with a higher placed finish at a previous round.
As Trophies were awarded and champagne was sprayed Powerboat GP promoter Jason Brewer reflected on the season’s racing “What a finale to the season, once more full of fast and frantic racing. The racing this year has definitely been some of the best yet. A huge congratulations to all of the Powerboat GP RYA British champions and all the competitors that have competed this year.”
“The season may have just finished but I know many of the competitors, along with the officials and Powerboat GP are already looking ahead to the 2016 season. It’s been a lot of hard work from some very dedicated people that has helped this season be such a success a huge thank you to everyone that’s played their part.”
Image Credit : Bryan Scott