Cowes, one of the most popular and world-famous destinations for watersport enthusiasts, will welcome the stars of the P1 SuperStock Championship to the Isle of Wight later this month, 27/28 August, as part of the British Powerboat Festival.
Marking the fourth event in the five-round P1 SuperStock series, the visit to the Isle of Wight is always one of the most popular on the Powerboat racing calendar. Along with the high-octane, adrenaline-pumping action from the P1 250 Panther and P1 150 boats, the SuperStock competitors will be joined by their Jet-Ski counterparts from the increasingly popular Aqua X Championship.
Cowes is set for some truly spectacular racing as it is the penultimate race in the five-round championship which reaches its climax in Liverpool next month (10/11 September). P1 SuperStock will be based at Yacht Haven with Aqua X located on the beach at Egypt Point.
Following the most recent P1 SuperStock outing in Hull, East Yorkshire, just over a week ago, the headline P1 250 Panther class is being led comfortably by the Pertemps crew of John Wilson (Coleshill, Birmingham) and Neil Scarborough (Monks Risborough) – the reigning P1 150 Champions.
Heading to Cowes with a substantial 22-point lead at the head of the championship standings, Pertemps is looking good but only the slightest of slip-ups could open the door for the pursuing Edox and Team 88 crews which are presently tied for second place.
Edox, piloted by Rupert Pugh (Matlock, Derbyshire) and navigated by Anthony Crossley (Sidmouth), certainly has the credentials and ability to overturn the deficit but Pugh acknowledges Wilson and Scarborough will be very tough to beat to the inaugural P1 250 Panther title.
“We’ll take it one race at a time, try and do the best we can in Cowes and just take it from there”, said the Edox driver,adding: “We start with a long run out towards Poole which will be tough and a really good test for the new Panther boats. Cowes will be challenging for navigators and having a good one will effect a team’s performance. Boat preparation will be key too as there will be a real variety of conditions. I’m certainly looking forward to it!”
Team 88, Simon Bayles (Battersea, London) and Philippa Baker (Kensington, London), has been the true revelatory squad of the season in P1 250. Entering the sport as complete novices in 2011, the duo has taken the fight to the established and much more experienced crews at each of the three events so far contested. Expect more of the same in Cowes…
Bayles said: “We’re really very pleased with how things have gone so far, we feel we’re going quickly and to be second equal in the championship is fantastic. Cowes will be a major test though, the first full endurance off-shore race. We’ve raced in bays, raced on a river and now the big one properly out at sea.
“We’re back in the land of not knowing what to expect so we are a bit nervous but, if it’s not overly rough, I think we’ll be ok. We’re not going to Cowes to lose, put it that way! Our aim is to start trying to push Edox and Pertemps and see whether we can challenge them.”
Ahead of round four of the season, Team 88 has also attracted a new sponsor in PaLü Partner AG – a Swiss investment company. The deal marks the firm’s first exploration into Powerboat racing although it does have involvement in sailing and professional golf.
With a number of competitors based in the south of England, the Isle of Wight adventure will be very much a home event – not least for former British Champion Shelley Jory-Leigh (Southampton) and Dan Smith (Southampton) in the Helvetia Wealth boat.
Making her return to action in 2011 after a horrifying accident in the waters around Sardinia in 2010, Shelley will be aiming for a strong result as she increasingly gets more and more up-to-speed with each event in the new P1 250 Panther.
Who can stop Team Purple in Cowes?
In the supporting P1 150 Class, Team Purple is running away with the title at the moment thanks to an outstanding run of success. Four wins from the last four races mean husband and wife crew Stuart and Sara Cureton (Lindford, Hampshire), like Pertemps in P1 250, hold a 22-point advantage heading to the Isle of Wight.
Rose Lores (Stubbington, Hampshire) and Tom Hunter (Maidenhead) have been very consistent in their Eclipse boat and hold second position in the P1 150 standings – in Hull though, Rose was partnered by John Donnelly and may yet have another new navigator in Cowes. Jersey-based Team Fox, Martin Colligan (St Helier) and Liam McDermott (St Helier), is chasing hard though with only four points the gap to Eclipse.
Away from the Powerboat action, Aqua X – the only Jet-Ski series to compete on the sea – will return at Cowes for its fourth event of the season on the Saturday of the British Powerboat Festival, 27 August.
In the Elite 300 Class, Kawasaki rider Russell Marmon (Christchurch, Dorset) is this country’s tpo endurance rider so it is unsurprising he’s been dominant force so far and has a clear lead. In the AM 300 Class, Dave Huddleston (Milton Keynes) heads the standings while Duncan Johnson (Fareham, Hampshire) leads AM 200 on his Yamaha. Numbers are expected to swell in Cowes with several local Isle of Wight racers set to take part.
In addition to the racing, 17-year-old British Freestyle Champion Jack Moule will be performing his amazing tricks and stunts right in front of the beach at Egypt Point to provide some sensational excitement with a series of awe-inspiring acrobatic displays.
Saturday, 27th August – all racing at Egypt Point
10.00-11.00 P1 AquaX practice and Superpole qualifying
11.00 P1 SuperStock Match Races
13.00 P1 AquaX Freestyle Display
13.15 P1 AquaX Moto 1
13.45 and 15.00 P1 AquaX Freestyle Display
15.15 P1 AquaX Moto 2
16.00 P1 AquaX podium on the beach
Sunday, 28th August
11.00 P1 Panther 250 and P1 150 Class Cowes-Poole-Cowes Race
19.30 Prize giving in the Royal Yacht Squadron