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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

August Regatta

Family and other commitments for some and three of us running cars in Hannover left the entry list a bit thin at Kingsbury for the third regatta of the year. Rick Benson had built a new 30cc boat, which did manage a run in round 2, but is a bit reluctant to run cleanly at present. Lionel Lawley must be close to tearing his hair out, as his 30cc boat sounds spot on for a good run and then peters out, run after run. Ron Hankins is still trying to figure out why his OPS 90s are down on speed this season, still running in the mid 120s, but short of the highs from previous seasons.

Tony Collins continues to add to his impressive string of 130+ runs with a 132 and a 135, and whilst experimenting with silencing systems, wish I knew his secret? John Hyder had one of his fastest runs for many a year at 125mph and Mike Rose was pleased to see over 100mph from his aged Picco.

The B1s that were so impressive at the July meeting showed that owners were beginning to get a handle on needling these fractious motors. Dave Sheldrake notched up a 136 and 143 with Pete Dirs not far behind at 129 and 130, several years since we have seen four B1 runs recorded at the same event and at respectable speeds.

Sadly, the results sheets are still showing far too many boats failing to start their runs, let alone record times, it all seems so easy in theory?

Results: A Class Rick Benson 67.54mph. AB/R Ron Hankins 125.88mph
            A2 Class Norman Lara 98.26mph B1 Class Dave Sheldrake 142.37mph Pete Dirs 130,83mph
            A3 Class Tony Collins 135.52mph John Hyder 125.83mph Mike Rose 108.337mph

St Alban’s Speed Meeting

Since the problems with the lake at St Albans, the Kingsbury Club kindly hosts the two-day St Albans and MPBA International events over the Bank Holiday. A great deal of work had been done by Club members in cutting the invasive weed that kept the surface clear. Ironically, given the summer we have been experiencing, it was the weather that was to prove decisive over the weekend. Saturday was supposed to be warm and dry all day, so much for forecasts. It all started in sunshine with Steve Turley’s A1 singing its way round at 98mph. Somewhat surprisingly, John Underwood was the only airscrew representative so his first run at 107mph was enough to secure top spot in that class.

What followed set the tone for the rest of the day as an absolute deluge hit in the midst of the A2 runs, to such an extent that again it was John Underwood who set the only time and with his best run ever in that class at 118mph. Antony Rose was running the vintage Mr Jones on its annual outing, the ETA motor happy at 56mph. Roger Lane looked on for a good run with his Sport 40 until the Genesis silencer exited lake right, luckily remaining afloat long enough to be recovered.

Steve Turley, fastest run ever Ron Hankins 15 cc boats Dave Singleton and Roger Lane

By now, the water was running across the pit area, tool boxes, chairs, tables, everything soaked, but undaunted it was on to the A3 line and another unenviable record, nine boats on the line, not a single run. It was down to Ron Hankins and his B class boat to avoid a complete whitewash and what a run, just 0.6mph off his class record at 124.

Remarkably, the squall had passed over and a bit of sun soon had steam gently rising from everything and everybody as round 2 got underway. Steve Turley backed up his first run at 97mph, but was pipped for the class win by Steve Poyser who was quicker by just 0.3mph. Norman Lara did get a run with his A2 at 101mph while Antony Rose improved by 1mph with his vintage boat.

And then it started raining again. The A3 Class saw Tony Collins in the 130s again, closely followed by Steve Turley with his fastest ever run at 128.5, and that was it again for the class, something of a disaster all round. Yet again it was Ron Hankins who saved the day with 126mph with his AB and 120mph from the B, and sadly, that was it. After two rounds, it was called a day although the sun was back out in time for the presentation, with Tony Collins taking the St Albans Speed Trophy, except he didn’t as he had not brought it back from last year.

Steve Poyser A1 Ron Hankins AB & B John Underwood A1 & B1S
Steve Turley A3 Tony Collins Speed trophy

Results: A1 Class Steve Poyser 98.79mph Steve Turley 98.45mph. B1S Class John Underwood 107.99mph
               A2 Class John Underwood 118.49mph Norman Lara 101.6mph Vintage Antony Rose 57.88mph
               A3 Class Steve Turley 128.54mph St Albans Speed Trophy Tony Collins 131.46mph (A3)
               AB Class Ron Hankins 126.31mph B Class Ron Hankins 124.15mph

Thanks to Roger Lane for organising the event

MPBA International

If Saturday’s squalls were unexpected, the forecast for Sunday was dire, and for once it was not wrong. It started raining just as we arrived and never really stopped, just changed in intensity. As a result, just a few brave souls occupied the already muddy pit area, but unlike Silverstone the competition was on. That there were any times recorded at all was something of a miracle, but they were few and far between. John Underwood was again the sole B1 so repeated his success of the previous day and promptly put the boat away, the Rushden Trophy firmly in his grasp. A1 left all to play for as neither of the Steve’s managed a run in round 1. Steve Poyser took the French Cup with his second round run of 102mph when Steve Turley failed to get his boat away, both called it a day before the third round.

It was all going well for John Underwood this weekend as he was the only A2 to get any times, with a respectable 116 earmarking the Victory Trophy for him. Mike and Antony Rose annexed Sport 40 as Norman failed to get Angela Gullick’s record holding boat to show any signs of starting. Norman Lara is now the owner of Ian Berne's flash steam boats and had brought the last of these along to give a run. Unfortunately, pump problems prevented anything more than some impressive smoke and a few flames in trying to get it to run. Sadly, that meant no competitors for the Crebbin Trophy this year.

Norman Lara with lots to look after A Class steamer Rick Benson's new 30cc motor

Tony Collins’ first run put the ED Cup out of reach with another 130+ run that he backed up in round 2. What was gratifying was that he was using a newly built silencing system that has quietened the motor down dramatically, apparently without affecting the speed. 130mph runs, with a quiet boat, is there no end to his talents? Odd in the circumstances though with only three people recording times that there was a dead heat for second place between Mike Rose and Ray Cox at 109.02mph.

A large degree of fedupness was evident by now with packing up going on all round, Unfortunately, despite a lot of pulling and a vestige of hope in the last round, none of the A Class boats got underway, making the presentation a relatively quick affair, which no one objected to as it was still mizzling.

Impressive line up of boats for John Underwood Rain, wot rain, Sonia and Hugh

A weekend with weather this poor requires a great deal of stoicism from those running the meeting, so a very large vote of thanks is due to all. It was great to see Dave Singleton back and thanks to him for all the timing on Saturday and organisation over the weekend, hope to see you back in action soon. John DeMott worked tirelessly both days to get things set up and then do a day on the timing as well. Special thanks to Sonia Collins for sitting out the entire day on the timing desk on Sunday and to Tony Collins, Rick Benson and all those who kept the line changes going throughout the day. The last time it rained that heavily at St Albans the meeting was abandoned, so thanks to everyone who stuck it out, no matter how wet they got, must be bonkers?

Steve Poyser A1 Antony and Mike Rose Sport 40 Tony Collins FTD
Tony Collins A3 Ray Cox, Mike Rose, Tony Collins A3 John Underwood A1 B1S

Apologies for the slightly murky photos, not 'arty' soft focus but continuing mizzle and water on the lens.

Results: ED Cup A3 Class Tony Collins 134.74mph. Victory Cup A2 Class John Underwood 116.43mph
               French Trophy A1 Class Steve Poyser 102.98mph Don Trophy Sport 40 Mike Rose 75.28mph
               Rushden Trophy B1S John Underwood 112.07mph

Season over at Kingsbury

Just a couple of weeks after the weather almost did for the two-day meeting, it was back to Kingsbury for the final regatta of the year there, can it be over already? This meeting followed the trend set at previous events with only Tony Collins managing to record speeds in all three rounds, and at over 130mph in each and that was while experimenting with silencers, that man is unbelievable. At the other end of the spectrum, no less than nine of the entries did not get a run at all, not a good advert as we seem to be going backwards at a great rate of knots. No doubt something visitor and current A2 record holder Roger James could wax lyrical on?

Roger James and Tony Collins Ron Hankins A1 & AB/R Lionel Lawley pondering Dave Sheldrake noshing

On the light line Dave Sheldrake was over 130mph on each of his runs with his B1, having put together the fastest series of runs in a season for many years with an airscrew boat, Jim Free’s record still out of reach though. Unusually, neither of the B1S boats made it round.

The A2 line did see a bit of activity with Antony Rose recording his best speed of the season at a touch under 80mph. Norman Lara got his A2 round twice at just over 100mph with John Underwood ahead by 4mph in his two runs.

John Underwood & A Class Steamer  The 'staff' Bob Kirtley

The 1mm line saw Norman Lara produce his best A3 run of the season at 131.66, just beating his previous best in Bulgaria by 0.11mph, his two fastest runs for several years. Mike Rose was not far off the best speed his aged A3 has ever done at 111mph. Ron Hankins was in the high 120s with his AB/R, but still frustrated that he cannot get back into the 130s of past seasons. Sadly that was it as only Bob Kirtley managed a run from the A Class, with 115mph giving him the three fastest A Class runs of the season, only one other run being recorded all year. Norman Lara was still trying to persuade the ex Ian Berne steamer into life with little success, so the season finished much as it started.

Thanks to Sonia Collins and Dave Singleton for timing and recording. For most of the competitors, the end of term report is definitely ‘could do better’. Photos by courtesy of Norman Lara

Leading Speeds:
B1 Class Dave Sheldrake 138.85mph A2 Class John Underwood 106.54mph Norman Lara 102.81mph
Sport 40 Antony Rose 79.62mph A/S Class Bob Kirtley 115.13mph AB/R Ron Hankins 127.59mph
A3 Class Tony Collins 133.48mph Norman Lara 131.66mph Mike Rose 111.66mph