Three meetings so far this season, the first exceedingly cold that put all but the most hardy off, although it did see Tony Collins start the year where he left of in October with a 133mph run. The second was very windy so that only the bold and brave ventured on to the water, whilst the third coincided with that most un-British phenomenon, a warm and sunny Bank Holiday.
Record temperatures elsewhere, but just up from the River Crouch it was delightful, with all the prospects of a good day’s running, if only? First on were the airscrew boats, now fifty years since the MPBA recognised them as a class. Dave Smith had two perfect launches and two yip free runs at 112/113mph and called it a day, not bad for a standard MDS that was definitely short on compression. Of the others, Rick Neal’s Proffi showed just what it might do, if it could complete five timed laps at those speeds, while John Underwood was trying every combination of botching his launches. The A1 class is certainly on the up at present with seven competitors in this class, including the newest recruits, Stuart Falconer and Ron Hankins, although on this occasion they showed what temperamental little beings they are with not a single run being completed.
|Tony Collins' B1 Sport||Diesel side winder||Rick Neal's B1|
The A2 Class was quite tight with Steve Poyser beating Mark Hankins by less than 1mph. Mark took the honours on the day with an unblemished three starts and three completed runs. Ron Hankins had a day that he would prefer to forget no doubt with a most uncharacteristic series of failures for no immediately fathomable reasons. A3 saw Ray Cox miss what could have been his best run ever as the OPS was still coming up when he put his hand up. John Hyder achieved what is a vain hope for many of us, a run with a Picco, which even Tony Collins struggled with for the first two rounds. In round three he got closer to a good needle setting at 126mph with a boat that is so fast, but so touchy on the needle.
Sport 40 was interesting, as Stuart Falconer seemed to find the only breeze of the day on consecutive laps to see his boat fly happily just after the platform, coming down right way up each time. Alan Greenfield has now got his asymmetric boat with the lay down engine running correctly, recording his second fastest speed ever. Bryn Colman has joined him in the ‘odd design’ stakes with another asymmetric hull and an even more unusual engine, a laid down ED Super Hunter diesel. Given the lack of umph and revs from this 1950s design it was expecting a bit much, but it could work. His more conventional S40 look on for a very respectable run until he left it too late and saw the boat run out of fuel before the five laps were up.
Engine guru Taff Bolen, who was on hand all day, pointed out the importance of having engines that started first go, but even more vital is keeping the things running at racing speed, a quest that many struggled with on the day, a most inexact science compared with F2A.
Speed round up.
8th April: B1 Class Rick Neal 102.5mph B1S Class John Underwood 92.65 A2 Class John Underwood 101.85mph A3 Class Tony Collins 133.87mph
April: AB Class Ron Hankins 114.69mph A3 Class Tony
Collins 121.15mph A2 Class Steve Poyser 95.38mph
Sport 40 Class Stuart Falconer 90.91mph
6th May: A3 Class Tony Collins 126.70mph John Hyder 116.02mph Ray Cox 111.94mph
B1S Dave Smith 113,89mph A2 Class Steve Poyser 113.64mph Mark Hankins 112.96mph
Sport 40 Class Stuart Falconer 89.06mph Alan Greenfield 61.34mph