It was a wet and windy weekend for the opening round of the 2007 Honda Formula 4-Stroke Powerboat Series in Torquay this weekend (12/13 May), but come rain or shine, nothing was going to dampen the spirit of the 36 competitors participating in the championship – the world’s largest offshore powerboat series.
Poor visibility and heavy rain, which had threatened Sunday’s race, made way for sunshine – and the odd shower – allowing the 75th round to take place in Torbay in front of hundreds of enthusiastic spectators.
Saturday’s winners in the 150hp race, Neil Crabb and Lee Darbyshire in ‘Premier Cru’, took the chequered flag once again setting the fastest average speed of the race at 45.18mph. Local boys Jak Cockman and Andy Phipps in ‘Cider Daze 150’ improved on Saturday’s third position by finishing second, ahead of Marcus Bradshaw and Aron Jackson in ‘Construction Racing’. “We started really well which set us up for the rest of the race,” said Cockman. “It’s been a hard weekend with some difficult conditions but we’re happy with our results”.
Next up, the 225hp competitors cast off under increasingly cloudy skies to tussle it out for a place on the podium. After 12 laps, Gavin Parsonage and Nathan Libby in ‘Negotiator’ left no room for negotiating this weekend, storming home into first place ahead of Miles Dobson and Phill Haynes in ‘Don’t Panic’ who finished second, and Jack Glendinning and Simon Bucknall in ‘Airwaves Claygate’ who finished third. Saturday victors Haydn Evans and Rhys Evans in ‘Salcombe Honda Specialists’ couldn’t repeat their success and were unable to continue the race.
“After yesterday we knew how difficult it would be out there today,” said Parsonage. “We’re really happy with the performance of our boat and we’re looking forward to the next race”.
The weekend marked Honda Formula 4-Stroke’s return to Torquay after a seven-year absence from English Riviera resort where the series made its debut on 29 May in 1999.
“It’s been fantastic returning to Torquay where the series first launched,” said Martin Sanders, General Manager, Honda (UK) Power Equipment. “We’ve grown from five two-person crews in 1999 to nearly 40 teams in 2007. It’s an incredible achievement and proof that the series continues to grow from strength to strength”.
From Torquay the series moves to the Isle of Man’s Douglas Bay which plays host to the third and fourth rounds of 2007 championship on 16/17 June.