The bank holiday weekend saw 71 racers from 14 countries travel to the National Watersports Centre at Nottingham for the UIM Powerboat World Championships and Nottingham GP. Two World Championships titles were up for grabs in the UIM OSY400 and GT30 class, in addition to the UIM GT15 European championship, Round 5 & 6 of the Formula 4 World series and vital points in the British Championship for the F2s.
The UIM GT15 European Championships saw the Estonian World Champion Stefan Arand dominate through qualification and the first 3 heats to secure the double crown. This left British youngsters Thomas Mantripp and Jonathan Brewer to continue their season long battle but this time with the European Silver medal up for grabs. Jonathan edged ahead in qualification but Thomas took second in the first two heats and looked a strong contender for the silver medal spot. Not giving up the fight Jonathan pushed Thomas throughout Heat 3 managing to pass him on the top turn to take second and reaffirm his challenge for the silver medal.
Medal places would be decided on the 4th and final heat and with the European title already in the bag for Stefan Arand he decided to watch his fellow competitors battle it out from the shoreside. From pole position Jonathan got a blistering start and began to pull away from the fleet in the lead but Thomas was hot on his wake. But on the second lap Georgi Iljin barrel rolled on the bottom turn meaning the race would be restarted and the battle between the Brits would begin all over again. Brewer once more got a fantastic start and led the way to the chequered flag and his first international medal in the silver medal spot with Thomas Mantripp following him home in third adding the European Bronze Medal to his British Sprint title and World Silver medal.
The Estonian’s would continue to dominate in the World GT30 class as Sander Sarlin and Aivar Kommisaar went head to head for the World title. British contenders in the GT30 class came in the form of Ben Jelf and Jamie Norris who despite some fantastic racing and their best efforts were forced to settle for 6th and 8th respectively after both of them took an early dip during the weekend heats but were quickly back out on the water to continue the fight.
At the end of Heat 4 it was World GT30 Gold, Silver and Bronze for Estonia but with Sarlin and Kommisaar tied on points at the top it went down to the fastest race time to crown Sander Sarlin UIM GT30 World Champion, Aivar Kommisaar took silver and Juri Joul completed the Estonian podium with the bronze medal after some fantastic racing throughout the weekend.
Poland’s Cezary Strumnik set the fastest lap time in the OSY400 World Championship qualification session and looked set to push the reigning World Champion Rasmus Haugasmagi every step of the way as they battled for the 2015 World title.
As the lights went out for the start of the first heat and 14 OSY400s headed towards the first turn buoy spectators waited with baited breath to see who would be the first round the mark. As the spray cleared it was Rasmus Haugasmagi that held the lead. Haugasmagi went on to make it another Estonian domination winning three heats and securing his second consecutive World Championship Title. Strumnik secured the silver medal with three strong
second places and Italy’s Miroslav Bazinsky took the bronze medal following a win in the final heat of the competition.
Nottingham also hosted the third round of the UIM F4 World Series, consisting of two grand prix races over the weekend to add to the existing points table. Race 1 saw Championship leader Alberto Comparato of Italy led the way in Saturday’s qualifying but just .31 of a second separated him from Finnish rival Risto Lindstrom. Comparato led the way into the first race and Lindstrom was bearing down on him when just 1 lap in Anton Nyholm and Tuukka Lehtonen spectacularly flipped out and the race was restarted. Comparato once more led the restart to from the start right through to the chequered flag with Lindstrom taking second and Britain’s Ben Morse securing the bronze medal.
Sunday and race day 2 saw Comparato once again led the way in qualifying but this time there was less than a second separating the top four and it was Finland’s Lehtonen that was bearing down on the Italian. Comparato once again dominated the lead in race holding off Lehtonen to the chequered flag and Lindstrom followed into complete the podium in third place. Heading to their last round in Germany Alberto Comparato holds a 23 point lead and barring any major problems looks to be on his way to a second consecutive World Title.
The British F2 competitors once more thrilled the crowds as they battled it out at the penultimate round of the British Powerboat GP championship. Following on from his domination at the British Sprint Championship Colin Jelf left just inches between his boat and the turn buoys as he once more set pole position at a scorching pace.
Jelf 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 spun round the two pin course 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.
The Powerboat GP Nottingham GP was won by Newcastle’s Steve Hoult, Colin Jelf took the second podium spot and Alan Marshall took his third bronze medal of the season. There’s little separating the F2 fleet front runners and lends to a phenomenal finale in two weeks’ time at the Bedford GP.
As the sun set on another fantastic jamboree of powerboat racing excellence and the teams packed up for their long journeys home, organisers thanked all the volunteers, officials and race teams on making another successful event and preparations are already underway for 2016’s event !