The 2017 Powerboat GP British Championship leaps into gear this month as competitors head to the opening round at the Lancashire Grand Prix on Carr Mill Dam, St Helens over the Bank Holiday (29/30 April) weekend. Some 50 competitors are set to compete at six individual Grand Prix throughout the summer battling in six championship classes in search of the British Powerboat crown.
Amongst the competitors will be a wealth of home grown talent fighting for the first all important championship points. Jack Pickles of Bolton will be looking to get his season in the GT30 class off to a flying start. After a strong successful season in his first year in the GT30 class during 2016 Jack will be looking to start his season off with a home win. However Staffordshire’s Tiegen Goodfellow willbe aiming to prove to her fellow competitors that it really should be ladies first as she aims to secure her first British Championship title.
The junior GT15 class sees the formidable Thomas Mantripp retire to focus solely on his GT30 career leaving the water wide open for the up and coming junior racers to make their impact on the scene and fight for the junior crown. Amongst those youngsters will be Harvey Smith who finished the season with his best result of his career in 2016 taking bronze in the championship and George Elmore who has taken over the seat in the ex Ben Jelf and Jonathan Brewer boat for 2017. Both will be fighting every turn of the course for the top spot with Aidan Fleet, and Ethan Goodfellow as well as an influx of new junior racers all looking to make their mark on the championship.
In the T850 Monohull class Wigan's Bill Owen will be looking to hold off his rivals as he goes in search of his 10th British Championship Title. Although team mate Steve Cash will be looking for a repeat performance of the 2016 Lancashire Grand Prix that saw him win his first Grand Prix of his career. Also looking to stop Bill Owen in his tracks will be Bedfords Nigel Edwards who will be looking to improve on his second place championship finish last season.
One of the biggest battles of the 2017 Powerboat GP championship will come in the form of the F4 Class where Ashton-in-Makerfield’s Ben Morse who will make a full return to the Powerboat Championship and will be looking to reclaim his top spot in the championship. Ben will face stiff competition in the class in the form of reigning champion Sam Whittle but will also have the formidable Rob Veares and youngster Ben Jelf all looking for the first points for the championshipand the vital steps on the championship ladder. This is certainly one battle not to be missed!
The OSY400 class will make a welcome return to the banks of the dam following a couple of year’s absence but will bounce back with strengths in numbers. Jason Mantripp of Oulton Broad will aim to retain his British Championship but many will be looking to stop him none the least in the form of Wayne Moyse and Jamie Marr.
Then as the water settles from all the rest of the action the big cats will leap into action as the mighty F2 catamarans take to the water. All eyes will be on the fairground turn as the 2017 F2 class roars into life and head into the first turn to see which driver will dominate with no shortage of hopefuls. Reigning champion Paul Balfour of Warrington will hope his hours of practice and knowledge of the local conditions will give the edge he requires to get the jump on the rest of the fleet. Meanwhile young gun Matt Palfreyman of Ormskirk will hope to raise his game following a disappointing 2016 season for the youngster in British competition. But former British champions Steve Hoult and Colin Jelf will also be right there in the mix looking to take the lead.
Carr Mill Dam offers a challenging venue for the 2017 Powerboat GP British Championship as the only venue to offer drivers a right handed corner meaning drivers need to choose the best lines in and out of turns and keep their wits about them as they head into the turns.
Powerboat GP Promoter Luke Jones had this to say on the forthcoming season opener “The season will fast be open us and what better way to kick the season off than with a fantastic Bank Holiday weekend of boating action at the Lancashire Grand Prix. The Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club provides us with a fantastic venue for our opening round at Carr Mill Dam it’s a firm favourite between the racers and crews and lends itself to some fantastic racing and brilliant viewing for spectators and racing fans.”
“It’s been a long winter season but recent testing has shown the emergence of new boat setups and new racers and the times being put in are looking for a very positive season. Every racer will bring their A game to the Lancashire Grand Prix as the first boat to the first turn means the first step towards the championship crown and we cant wait for the season to officially start again!”
Racing at Carr Mill Dam commences on Saturday 29th April with timed practice session taking place from 10:00 for each class, where the drivers will be fighting for that all-important pole position. In the afternoon, racing is set to start around 12:30 and each class will complete at least one race. A full day of action takes place the following day from 10:00.
The event is free for spectators, so everybody is welcome to come along and watch the action. You can see the racing from anywhere around the banks of the Dam or you can join the racers, their skilled mechanics, pit crew and teams in ‘The Boathouse’ grounds and where you can listen to the live commentary.