Entering it's 85th year, the LOBMBC commenced with a Thursday evening Club Event on 3rd May, drivers brimming with enthusiasm after the long winter layoff put on an excellent display with keen wind whipping up the water resulting in several incidents including Max Roberts showing the spectators the underside of his hydroplane as he chined out of the Wherry Buoy finally taking a early season swim.
With 10 OSY400 hydroplanes plus the superfast 250 Racing Hydro of Wayne Turner entered, thisstalwart class of club racing showed all present just how competitive they all are with ex Monohull driver 31 Daniel Drake taking first place followed by excellent drives from 34 Tony Knights and74 Sean Woods.
GT15/30 racing left no surprises as the vastly more experienced 1 Thomas Mantripp took first place in his more powerful craft but the now seasoned "Tingdene Two" Jessica and Joseph Haylock settled for 2nd and 3rd. The three 2017, club trained drivers completed the excellently supported class.
Sportsboat racing had just 3 catamarans but what fun these club regulars had with 39 Ray Birnie making bolder steps each lap as he familiarised himself with his new boat, only to manage 3rd place behind 3 Brian Block with 22 Miike Tolman receiving the stunning Anglian Tanks & Vessels Trophy.
Bank Holiday Sunday& Monday heralded the beginning of what the Club hopes to see, Interclub Invitation racing at our limited weekend events during the season. The normal Thursday evening events greatly prohibit many guest drivers from travelling but last weekend, drivers appeared from the South,North, Midlands and one young lady teenager from close to Loch Lomond, north west of Glasgow !
The weather was the icing on the cake however, the vast amounts of "boats on the water" stirred a great deal of emotion with organising team who have seen declining numbers in the sport over the last few years. The LOBMBC is spearheading the revival of Circuit Powerboat Racing and Oulton Broad certainly showed the way.
The weekend event raced with different formats each day. Sunday had pontoon starts, Sunday reverted to the club handicap rolling starts, giving those less familiar with the course and novices a sporting chance, points being combined over both days for the eventual results. With new drivers mixing with both vintage and veteran, some in class changes and one or two away from racing for a while, the scene was set.
Noticeably differant was the inclusion in the Monohull class of much larger hulled 2 seater boats, more suited to racing at sea, but the smaller boats were a good match for them with Dave James and the "legend" Bill Owen taking 1st and second place, Matt Palfreyman crewed his boat solo to win the Marrison Temple Shield.
The hard fought GT15 races gave a win and the Shetland Shield to Charlie Alden, only 40 points behind was Joseph Haylock with novice Oban Duncan taking her 3rd place memento back over the border.
GT30 boats had champion Thomas Mantripp using all his local knowledge to lift the Wherry Hotel Trophy, 2nd was Steve Olney and another local, Tom Yallop 3rd.
Mixed Formula Catamaran heats had 8 entries and lots of excitement with the F2 craft delighting the spectators, their rooster tails sparkling in the sunshine and the F4s holding their own, sadly 22 Mike Tolman's over enthusiasm caused his engine to fail terminally on Sunday. Sam Whittle took 3rd, Leon King 2nd, receiving the MarshalslTrophy as highest placed F4 and the very quick F2 of Chris Loney was placed 1st, receiving the Poacher Trophy.
Sunday's 10 OSY400 Hydroplane races were the first round of the UK Championship, the competition intense with lots of thrills but no spills, thankfully. The pontoon start format was as will be used in July at the Euopean Championshis at Oulton Broad and all were looking to familiarise themselves on their home course.
Despite failing to finish the 2nd heat, 51 Jason Mantripp to a commendable 3rd with26 Wayne Moyse 3rd and 77 Jamie Marr took top points to carry forward into the season.
Monday, Racing for the Mike & Jenny Snowling Memorial Shield the OSY400s were joined by 9 Wayne Turner, a field of 10 once again and all the entertainment the spectators could want. Heat 3 saw 2 non starters and one disqualification as the pressure ramped up but the most memorable site was the finish of the second heat as the first starter 73 Brian Shulver was caught on the line by 9 Wayne Turner in a spectacular photo finish.
Presented by Mike Snowling Jr and his son, the shield went to 77 Jamie Marr with Brian Shulver 2nd , 34 Tony Knights took a well earned 3rd place.
This was a sensational start to 2018 with standards of racing normally expected as a season finale.