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January 2018

New Year already, so time to reflect on the season gone by, along with the highs and lows and the march of technology. An electric boat, a tiny A1 at that, now holds the outright tethered hydroplane record whilst 200mph is quite possible with an electric tethered car. One tethered car and three hydroplane world records, numerous national records and a string of personal best performances in this country have made it a remarkable season. Andriy Yakimiv, Ando Rhotmets and Danielle Duran have been notching up the wins throughout the year in Europe. The Smolnikov family continue with their remarkable careers and probably creating some sort of record as, between the three of them, they compete with both cars and boats in multiple classes and win regularly.

The British tethered hydroplane scene has been blighted this last year by the paucity of runs recorded, reflecting what also happened in the World Championships where less than 20% of the starts resulted in timed runs in some classes. The gremlins have had an absolute field day wrecking motors, drive trains, props and even boats, but after several lean years, it has been the A1 and A2 classes that have been the most competitive and produced a record and some lifetime bests. The A3 class has been annexed again by Tony Collins, with the vast majority of the runs he completed well into the 130s and two at 138+. The Picco motor still manages to frustrate again with only around one in five of the starts resulting in completed runs. The only other entrant into the 130+ club with an A3 was our ‘fast lady’ Lynn Blowers who can now lay claim to that title in both A2 and A3 classes. Jim Free has been making a MDS go exceedingly fast in a B1 Sport, while the imported B1s and Profi motors should go if only they could cure the yips. If the evil little gremlins put paid to far too many runs, illness and injuries have had an equally deleterious effect on entries, so we wish all those who are struggling a speedy recovery and hope to see you back on the water this year.

The European forays with tethered cars have had mixed results with Oliver Monk’s Workshop Ramblings detailing the many engine rebuilds he has had to undertake during the year. For the rest, no major disasters, but not entirely the speeds hoped for either. Breakages are an integral part of racing, but it would be gratifying to see a greater degree of reliability from the hydros, both at home and abroad. Perhaps some fundamental rethinking is required?

The ‘one a month’ Pitbox has provided some fascinating items over the last year and continues to spring surprises. First off for 2018 is again something very different as it is a drawing of a flight of fancy that did come to fruition, as a supplementary photo shows. Thanks to Miles Patience for all the material that relates to this long forgotten project.

The new Album is reflecting on the season gone by whilst the Photo is actually via facebook, but follows on from our previous St Albans Album. It is into the next decade but features some of the same faces as well as a couple still competing, and we hope through publication that we can put some more names to faces.

The first article of the New Year was brought about by our ‘Where are they now’ Album, which featured several of Carl Wainwright’s superbly built cars. In spite of pleas on the site and facebook there is still no indication of where the cars are, but they are such an important part of British tethered car history that we have put together a potted history of each.

Reminders: Model Hydroplane Club stand at Alexandra Palace and a chance to see one of a pair of boats that changed tethered hydroplane racing completely. All domestic race and regatta reports will be deleted at the end of this month, so please save as required.

With youtube and facebook there are now numerous clips of tethered cars and hydros, vintage and modern and even live streaming of events. What is unusual to find is a published video for a particular event. Hartmut Berhrendt from Germany filmed the 2010 European Championships at Kapfenhardt and then produced a DVD for the RGSV. He has now uploaded the entire two hour video to youtube and passed us the link. Thanks to Hartmut there is a very watchable and well produced record of this event.

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