Powerboat racing visited the English Riviera when 20 of the UK’s fastest drivers arrived in town for Round 1 of the Offshore Circuit Racing Drivers Association Championship (OCRDA).
The Championship consists of seven rounds which sees the teams travel around the UK. Each race weekend comprises four races of 30 minutes duration. There are two crew members per boat, a driver and a navigator.
In addition to the four races, the crowds were entertained to a great display by Ryan Campbell on his flyboard, and some jet ski racing.
With circuit racing, the course is marked out by buoys on a course that starts just off Paignton Pier, crossing the Bay to Thatcher Rock, and then bringing the boats back in to Haldon Pier. A chicane is positioned just in front of the Marina to provide extra excitement. This year, the back straight was marked out by the cruise liners that have become a welcome feature of Torbay during the last 12 months.
The most competitive class was Formula 1. For Race 1, at the front of this Class, it was Exeter-based master thatcher Craig Temple-Murray who sprinted in to a lead which he would not relinquish.
In Race 2, Craig had a fight on his hands with Jeremy Gibson and navigator Malachy Browne in Smokey & The Bandit. In Race 1 their boat suffered a propeller bush failure and they were forced to retire. This pairing were the 2018 OCRDA Champions. It was a fast and furious, race long battle with honours eventually falling to Jeremy.
On Sunday, the conditions were a little rougher and a standing start that seemed to play into the hands of Jeremy Gibson. He was soon stretching out a lead at the front which grew lap by lap – he was putting in a performance that Lewis Hamilton would have been proud of!
This race, however, was marked by last lap drama.
While Gibson progressed to his third win of the weekend, Craig Temple-Murray produced a stunning display to finish fourth, despite losing his navigator to injury and starting from the back of the field.
The next time these racers are back in The Bay will be August 26th-30th for OCRDA Round 5.
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