This weekend (15/16 September) the Powerboat GP series returns to Stewartby, Bedford for the penultimate Grand Prix of the 2017 Championship campaign. In what has been an action packed season so far teams will head back to Bedford in a bid to secure the Bedford Grand Prix title in 6 different classes.
In the GT15 Class George Elmore and Harvey Smith will go head to head in a bid to secure the Grand Prix win. Just 13 points separates the two youngsters with Smith currently holding the championship top spot, but with 31 points up for grabs this weekend the pressure will really be on. Looking to capitalise on any mistake will be Aidan Fleet and Ethan Goodfellow who are both looking for their inaugural Grand Prix win.
In the GT30 class awaits a battle of epic proportions as Thomas Mantripp looks to hold off Jonathan Brewer, Jack Pickles and Tiegen Goodfellow who all look good to win the GT30 British Championship. Mantripp’s lead in the championship looks comfortable as he boasts 33 points over Tiegen, and Jack currently tied for second place, but with 62 points still up for grabs this season there’s still everything to play for.
Could Bill Owen be on track to secure his 11th Championship title in his 40 year racing career? For racing fans keeping an eye on the championship table, with a 49 point lead over a tied second place you’d be right in thinking the formidable racer already has the title in the bag. But Bill will not be resting on his laurels and knows that his fellow competitors will not make the final two events of the season easy for him. Nigel Edwards and Steve Cash are both tied in points for second place and looking to upset Bill’s seemingly flawless campaign.
Jamie Marr is searching for the OSY400 British double following his clinching of the sprint championship title at Bedford in August, but hot on his wake is Jason Mantripp and Wayne Moyse both looking for the Grand prix win and to boost themselves up the championship standings before the final round of the campaign in Rother Valley in October.
In the F4 campaign Ben Morse looks set to secure the 17th British Championship title of his career as he holds a strong lead over rivals Rob Veares and Ben Jelf. But despite a 26 point lead he will be very wary of his fellow competitors heading into this Grand Prix. Morse, despite his young years, has faced many challenges during his racing career and is well aware that with one false move or the smallest mistake both Rob and Jelf will be waiting to try to steal his crown.
Despite a disastrous season for the former World F2 Champion, Colin Jelf remains top of the leader board in the 2017 Powerboat GP RYA British F2 campaign with a narrow lead over British F2 Sprint Champion Paul Balfour. Jelf has a 20 point buffer ahead of Balfour but knows that his fellow competitors will push him every inch of the course to claim vital championship points and will hope that having the home water advantage may just work in his favour.
Powerboat GP Promoter Luke Jones can’t wait for the action to get back underway following a 4 week break from competition, “The championship battles have been exhilarating so far this season. Every racer is having to fight for position throughout the classes and it’s fantastic to see.”
“A few of the championship leaders look safe in their leads, however, every single one of them learned the hard way how easy it is to make a mistake and lose the race. With 62 points still up for grabs over the next two events, they are also aware that losing just one race could cost them their championship campaign, and their rivals also know it and will be piling on the pressure looking for a hint of nerves and the smallest of mistakes to capitalise on.”
The on water action will get underway from 10.30 on both Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th September starting with qualifying and then with each class competing over three heats to find the 2017 Powerboat GP Bedford Grand Prix winners.
Report by Nikki Drummond – Images Bryan Scott