Jack Burke - Yamaha FX SVHO

The new powerboat season opens with some aqua adrenaline

Jim Parker

Torquay recently hosted the largest fleet of powerboats in over 20 years, as 27 teams competed in the opening round of the seven Round OCRDA Aqua Adrenaline Tour series.

The entries were well spread throughout all four Classes – F Sport, F1, F2 and F3. There were also 12 racers competing in the supporting OCRDA Jetski Championship.

The Offshore Circuit Racing Drivers Association (OCRDA) has gone from strength to strength in recent years under the Presidency of Kingsbridge businessman, Bob McCarthy, and Chairman, Steve Oaten, who is also the Race Manager, and a team of volunteers. The Championship will take the racers all over the UK.

Ellis Lockyer - Seadoo RXP
Ellis Lockyer - Seadoo RXP

The fleet had to contend with changeable condition’s – Saturday was dry and bright, attracting large crowds to watch the action from Haldon Pier. Unfortunately, the continuous drizzle of Sunday kept many spectators away. Out on the water, currents are constantly changing over a 25-minute race duration, which makes this sport a great challenge, and potentially, dangerous.

Race 1 saw last year’s F1 Champions, Kingsbridge duo Jeremy Gibson/Malachy Browne in “Smokey and The Bandit 2” take a commanding win in a new boat for 2022 – a Phanton19/Yamaha V4.

They were followed home by the father and son pairing of Malc and Bradley Dopson in their Banshee – “66 Racing” – and Bob McCarthy/Robbie Mould in their Banshee “If Only”.

OCRDA Torquay 2022 - Dry dock Beacon Quay
OCRDA Torquay 2022 - Dry dock Beacon Quay

In F2, it was the highly experienced pairing of Andy Childs and Exmouth’s Mark Hayward in “Fat Boy Twin” taking the win. They are the defending F2 and National Champion’s – in 2022 they won 23 out of 23 races! It was a new team who followed them home in second – Rob and Colin Hingston in “J D Racing”, from Ben Brown and Andrew Jenvey in “Thurston”.

In F3, four of the six teams were new. It was a commanding win for Steve Cox and Salcombe’s Harrie Shortman in “Lions”. Their Phantom 16/Yamaha 90 is brand new for 2022.

For second and third, it was a battle of the “newbies”. London-based Darren Smith/Jemma Horwood in “P Riot” taking the spoils from Simon Tyler and the experienced Alix Hopkins-Hayward (son of Mark) in third – “Hash Tag”.

For Darren, Jemma and Simon, it was their first experience of powerboat racing. They had undertaken an intensive three-day training course organised by Bob McCarthy a couple of weeks ago, and they put all that knowledge in to practice. This proves just what a well-run organisation OCRDA is – novices to winners in a few weeks!

Although the weekend started with some crews carrying over their strong 2021 performances, all that was to change for the other three races. The Gibson/Browne team were trounced by North Devon-based Chris Brown and Peter Snell – they won the final three races in F1 after not starting Race 1.

Craig Temple-Murray & Paul Scott - 55 Racing
Craig Temple-Murray & Paul Scott - 55 Racing

In F2, it was a similar story with Southampton-based team “Thurston” – Ben Brown/Andrew Jenvey – winning the final two races, keeping the Childs/Hayward pairing in second place and ruining their 100% race winning record.

The man with the biggest smile at the awards ceremony was Exeter-based master thatcher Craig Temple-Murray and Paul Scott. Although they did not win a single race, consistent performances ensured that they finished top of the F1 Class. A great achievement in a brand new boat – the experience of this Devon racer paid off!

In the Jetski racing, it was a clean sweep of four race wins each for Ellis Lockyer (J1 Class) and Jack Burke (J2 Class) – both racing in their first full season – making their journey from the South East very worthwhile.

And on dry land, there was an impressive display of Italian superbikes from Ducati / GT Motorcycles supported by the Ducati Owner’s Club.

The OCRDA circus is now off to Caernarfon for Round 2 in early June.

For further information, check out the OCRDA web page www.ocrda.com and Facebook page for all the latest news on this very exciting series.