Scorching, hot, sunny weather brought scorching action to Oulton Broad as Europe's top drivers, including the World Champion descended to the LOBMBC Racing Circuit to take on the local club drivers representing the UK in the European OSY400 Hydroplane Racing Championship.
Travelling some extremely long distances, drivers from Estonia, Poland, Sweden, Lithuania and Hungary/Slovakia competed, giving the spectators an international festival of close action Wherry Buoy turns, massed pontoon starts on a course unfamiliar to many of them but incredibly, despite many boats disappearing in plumes of spray as they swarmed into the turns together, the two day event was conducted safely with no incidents whatsoever.
Despite the high hopes for the most competitive local drivers to lift the winner's trophy, Jamie Marr, Wayne Moyse and Jason Mantripp raced hard and aggressively achieving highly commendable 3rd, 5th and 7th positions overall. Brian Shulver, Sean Woods,Tony Knights and Daniel Drake gave good account of themselves at the rear of the field, kept out of trouble and were a credit to the club and themselves as they completed the 13 boat field.
A special mention goes to the BFS Team as they worked hard to change Jason Mantripp's gearbox twice on Saturday, finishing the day with what was rumoured to be a loaned gearbox of Sean Woods, typical of the "Oulton Broad Spirit".
As many predicted the Championship went to Estonian, 2018 World Champion, Rasmus Haugasmagi, with Poland's Cezary Strumnik 2nd but the celebrations of the Scott Builders Team for their driver Jamie Marr as he took to the 3rd place step on the podium said it all, and rewarded all their efforts at the event and in the proceeding months. He was also named "Driver of the Championship"
Invitation support races were held between the championship heats and consisted of mixed selection of Sportsboats with Monohulls, F4, HR850 and F2 Catamarans including visiting drivers swelling the numbers.
The first heat was brought to a dramatic conclusion as the Wherry Buoy was impacted and required re positioning, the intensive competitiveness between the "big cats" of Ray Birnie and Tom Roberts saw Ray towed off the course having damaged his gearbox, only to subsequently terminally damage his engine on Sunday ! The Monohull of Mark Williams was outstanding as it showed a clean pair of to the rest of the field but unfortunately in doing so V Hull formed unpredictable surface conditions and Brian Block's Catamaran " submarined" causing a great deal of water to flood his open cockpit ending his racing for the weekend !
Despite these happenings, racing resulted in Ray Birnie winning the F2 Comtec Trophy, Mark Williams the LOBMBC Tophy and a further Comtec award to F4 driver Harvey Smith.
A full field of GT Monohulls saw six boats racing the 15 and 30 horsepower classes as competitively as only they know how, once again with visiting drivers adding to the excitement of these closely matched classes. Once referred to as "Juniors"as the 15s can be driven from 9 years of age, the GT30 Class is open to adults and the one driven by Steve Olney was seen to "hook " sideways in front of the spectators as it turned and a deep "thud" was heard as Rush Coffee's Charlie Alden collided with him, having little chance of avoiding the impact. Sadly it is probable that Charlie's boat will not be seen racing again but unharmed he, it is hoped, will.
The GT30 Days Garage Trophy was won by Thomas Mantripp, the GT15 Comtec by Jessica Haylock.
Following the success of this the third international event held by LOBMBC on Oulton Broad and greatly improved media exposure, it is hoped that the Club may be able to stage another such event in the not too far distant future.
A massive vote of thanks must go to Commodore, Peter Mantripp for his single minded determination to stage the event, backed by a loyal team of Club members and drivers.