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Kingsbury Water Park

10th June 2018

OTW was not able to attend the June regatta at Kingsbury, so there was no report or results in the last edition. Thanks to Arthur locating them in his briefcase we can give you a short summary of that event. With the exception of Steve Turley, none of the A1s were playing, neither did any of the airscrew boats record a run. John Hyder has been giving his venerable four stroke boats an airing of late and it is proving to be remarkably reliable. Within the hydro rules, and cars for that matter, you may run a four stroke engine much larger than the class limit, which John did when the Novice class came into being, putting a Lazer motor into his hydro. It is a bit of fun to start as it needs some deft fingers on the choke, yet trundled round quite happily for all three rounds. The only other runs on that line were down to John Underwood and his A2, with a best of 101mph.

Lionel Lawley A Class Steve Turley A3 Class John DeMott A Class

Ron Hankins had three sub nine-second runs with his mighty OPS AB boat, the best being 128mph. Only two other runs, Norman Lara with his best of the season so far at 122mph and Tony Collins again notching up a 130mph run. If you can get a Picco to go, then they can be mighty quick, it is just how to get them to do it on a regular basis that has yet to be figured out. Readers of a ‘certain age’ will remember the decompressor on many motorcycles as an aid to kicking a large single over without the famous backfire and trip over the handlebars. John DeMott had fitted one to his 30cc motor as pulling that over is a job at the best of times. Teething troubles indicated a return to the drawing board for the next meeting.

Leading Speeds A1 Class Steve Turley 93.38mph A2 Class John Underwood 101.51mph

Sport 40 John Hyder Lazer F/S 78.48mph A/BR Class Ron Hankins 128.66mph

A3 Class Tony Collins 130.04mph Norman Lara 122.98mph

Midland and Northern Area Championships

July 8th 2018

A month on and unrelenting sun had left areas of the circle covered in a mat of gently fermenting weed, which took the best part of an hour to clear, first being broken up, and then dragged away, always conscious of the waterline getting perilously close towards the top of the waders. With the circle relatively clear it was on to the business of the day and the added frisson of this being an area championship with the Ayrshire Trophy up for grabs to the fastest waterscrew boat and the Bob Hymer Memorial Trophy for the fastest airscrew, last won in 2009 by Mike Drinkwater. First on were the heavy metal, and a pleasure to see Bob Kirtley back in action after a very disappointing season last year. A new prop replacing the one broken at the final meeting last year was something of an unknown factor and a change to the water pump stroke meant that it was something of a voyage of exploration. The first run seemed to have resolved all the issues as the boat accelerated away for a trouble free run at 118mph. Rounds two and three were even better for Bob. Having survived a somewhat spectacular launch the boat kept getting faster and faster, even as he put his hand up. When it coasted to a standstill 124.77mph was revealed as the fastest ever for Bob or Pisces II in its long and illustrious career. The boat has been faster than 124mph, but never completed a run at those speeds without a spectacular flip. Congratulations to Bob who must have been getting a bit downhearted with all the breakdowns. That the third run was just 1mph slower must have seen a very happy chappy driving back to the north east that evening.

Antony and Mike Rose, Karen in background Norman Lara, John and Tony John DeMott and Arthur Wall

If people power could get a boat round then Lionel Lawley’s 30 should have made it. It sounded spot on and probably faster than it has gone for a long time, but yet again it petered out in the run, so near, yet it is not for want of trying. Taking of want of trying, four Picco 10s in A3, and would any of then run, would they heck as like. If there is a more frustrating motor on the planet, then it has yet to be installed in a hydro. Eventually, Mike Rose did get a couple of runs with the now distinctly vintage boat that his late father used to run in the 90s. Meanwhile, Tony Collins, Hugh Blowers and Norman Lara continued to scratch their heads and ponder over whether a Picco goes in the black bin or the blue recycling one? Steve Turley’s normally reliable A3 was just a touch off as it leaned out and sped up at the end of each run.

Now, a tricky question. What is the connection between the two photos on the left and how was there nearly a third to be added? Well it’s about colour and how yellow has the propensity for attracting bugs, as anyone with a yellow car will confirm.

Having had one engine scream itself to bits with the needle having no effect, Lynn Blowers nearly had another follow suit.

Same boat, new engine, same symptoms, cause, the three little bugs shown that were lurking in the breather pipe to the tank. Should have been warned really as we did find one lurking right up inside a needle jet on a previous occasion, again on a yellow boat. Once flushed out, the motor was back to normal, 114mph straight off, which turned out to be the fastest of the day.  Speeds in the A2 class have been hovering around the 112/114mph mark this season, with no one managing to get into the 120s yet. Norman Lara’s OPS was going well but kept petering out before the five laps were completed while Mark Hankins was getting consistent runs, although well below his best. The 129mph A2 record seems just as far away as ever, which shows just how well Roger James had got his boat sorted, what is now fifteen years ago. Even more amazing when you consider that his boat coasted the last lap with a shattered disc valve.

With a goodly selection of airscrew boats on hand it seemed very likely that the Trophy would find a new home this year, but where? Well, the unluckiest man in the first round had to be Dave Sheldrake. His B1 with a Halman Special was running OK when he put his hand up, but after a few laps the motor really chimed in and we saw the fastest laps for many a year, but too late. His B1S fared even less well as it pecked in after a respectable run and ended up in three pieces. The following rounds were another matter though. Getting a yip free run with an airscrew boat is the key and an art, and Dave did, twice, to record the fastest tethered hydroplane runs in this country for a very long while with 147.57 in round 2 and a smidgen below 146 in round three. John Underwood was the only B1S to register runs, his 106 being the best of the day.

Dejection for Dave Sheldrake The reason Elation for Dave

The Ayrshire Trophy was donated by the Ayrshire Society of Model Engineers in recognition of the Andrew Rankine’s long involvements in hydroplane racing, who used to make the trip down from Scotland on a regular basis. With the Trophy up for grabs it was very close between Bob Kirtley and Ron Hankins. In a bid to find out just why one of his A/BR boats was being so inconsistent, he had swapped the motor and exhaust system from another boat. First run at 123 pointed to a problem with the motor he had been using previously. Just to check, he then swapped to the exhaust system from the other boat and another run just 1mph slower. His final run at 124.43 left Bob in the lead for the trophy by the narrow margin of 0.34mph This tiny difference in speed between Bob and Ron was made academic by Tony Collins in round 3 after a head transplant, the engine’s not his. The boat was back to its best with a run of 135mph deciding the destination of the trophy, adding 16mph to the previous best set last year, which in turn had added 14mph. Was it the new head or coincidence, well with these motors you have no idea, but only Tony seems to be having any success with the Picco currently, and even that is frustratingly spasmodic.

Ron's AB in full flight New PB for Bob Kirtley John Rose boat Still going strong

Thanks to Arthur Wall and John DeMott for looking after the timing and recording on what turned out to be a very long day. Perhaps a touch of the Althorne regimentation is called for if three rounds are to be completed in a reasonable time?


Results: A1 Class Ron Hankins 76.35mph. A2 Class Lynn Blowers 114.61mph Mark Hankins 111.12mph
A3 Class and Ayrshire Trophy Tony Collins 135.79mph  Mike Rose 99.68mph AB Class Ron Hankins 124.43mph
B1 Class and Bob Hymer Trophy Dave Sheldrake 147.57mph B1S Class John Underwood 106.86mph
AS Class (flash steam) Bob Kirtley 124.77mph