The UIM WNT Rother Valley Grand Prix is set to be an action-packed event, comprising the UIM GT30 World Championship, Rounds 3 & 4 of the UIM F4 World Championship, Round 3 of the RYA Powerboat GP F2 National Championship and the final round of the RYA P750 ThunderCat National Championship.
When the F4’s take to the water, Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast (Boat 78) will immediately be looking to defend his 1 point lead in the championship over Finnish driver Tuukka Lehtonen (77). Jernfast’s second place finishes in rounds 1 and 2 in Italy were a solid start, but Lehtonen’s win and fourth place meant that his challenge was well and truly on. The fly in the ointment of this pair however could well come in the form of British driver Ben Jelf (4). After a disappointing Round 1 which saw Jelf getting caught up in a turn-buoy, Round 2 was a different story with a dominant performance in which he took both pole position and the win. This means that despite Jernfast leading the standings, he is yet to win a round as Lehtonen and Jelf have one a piece. At this stage in the championship, it would be daft to rule out France’s Rudy Revert and Quentin Dailly, or Latvian Nikita Lijcs who currently occupy 3rd, 4th an 5th ahead of Jelf in 6th. Representing Team GB, the grid will also see the arrival of Jonny Brewer (40) and Sam Coleman (3) in their international F4 debuts, and a Leon King (44).
Reigning GT30 World Champion Stefan Arand (1) will be looking to retain his crown from a field in which he is the only former World Champion. That’s not to say though that his fellow competitors lack experience. There are a number of other titles held by his opponents, including that of 2017 European Champion, Victoria Soodla (7) and 2017 RYA British National and 2017/18 Sprint Champion Thomas Mantripp (12), who is feeling especially confident off the back of his performance at the RYA Powerboat GP Sprint Championships earlier this month. Mantripp will be joined on the water by fellow Brits Jonny Brewer (40, Elliot Fleet (11), Tony Judge (60), Astra London (24) and Jack Pickles (14), to make a fleet of 13 drivers who will all be out to try to claim top spot on the podium.
In the British F2 Championship series, Colin Jelf (1) will be looking to further extend his lead over Steve Hoult (40) and Ian Blacker (12), but this is effectively Hoult’s home race and we know that he had found some extra performance in his boat at the Sprint Championships. Couple that with the fact that his title sponsor, WNT, are sponsoring the event and will be bringing guests and employees to see the action unfold, we can be certain that Hoult will be out to make a point.
Joining Powerboat GP at Rother Valley, we welcome the RYA P750 ThunderCat series for the final rounds of their National Championships. In the P750 section, Mulitspark Racing have already secured the title, but there is a tight battle for the remaining podium places between Kingfisher Fire & Security, Bulletproof and Student Loan. In the modified section of the championships, there is only pride to play for as Ocean Racing have already secured the championship, with Broad Bean in second place and Haggis Hunters in third.
So as you can see there is plenty of action to be played out over the two days of racing. The schedule will be a busy one, ensuring that there will never be a dull moment, and with free spectator admission to the event it makes for a great family day out.
(Please note that whilst Powerboat GP do not charge the public to spectate at this event, Rother Valley Country Park being a council-run entity do charge a car parking fee of £5/vehicle payable at the main entrance to the park.)