2010 World Championships- Towcester Racecourse


It was finally time for the event i built the orange craft for.Thanks to Dave for letting me use the yellow craft as a spare. This was to be a week long event, with time trials on Thursday and 2 races per day for the next 3 days. The winner scores the most points in all of the six races, so consistency is the key.

By Tuesday lunch we were registered and had both craft scrutineered and good to go. With no timetrials on Wednesday the day was spent preparing both machines in the miserable weather. The Yellow craft was down on compression so we replaced the rings.

It was amazing to see so many hovercraft; around 140 had turned up and many had multiple drivers which meant nearly 200 drivers (in team events or entering the same craft in different categories). The Americans, Canadians and Australians had travelled the furthest, and the sheer numbers of French, German and Swedish craft was impressive. Each nationality had their own designs and it was interesting to see them up close.

Practice and Time-trials:

I got out in the first practice and immediately had problems ploughing in on the smaller lake, eventually nose-diving the craft and taking a swim (In my profile on the race program my interesting fact was that I have never fallen into the water…)

We had to dry out the waterlogged craft in time for the timetrials in a few hours, so we got started pouring gallons of muddy water out of the exhausts. We just about got it ready and i managed to get a dry set of clothes on.

In timetrials i took only 3 laps which were all terrible, mostly spinning on the small lake. There was something wrong with the skirt which needed to be addressed so i tried balancing the skirt again.

Thursday night was a low point; we were left with one craft that was terrible on water downwind and one that was way down on power. With hindsight this would have been the point at which i should have abandoned the orange craft and swapped the good engine into the yellow machine…

Racing:

  1. The wind had changed direction, now blowing you down the first longer lake, making it more likely for problems to occur going down the lake. After a cautious start i took a few places and gained some confidence in the craft, in spite of seemingly random ploughing in along the long lake. On the 4th lap i ploughed in really badly just in front of the water exit. The shock from my body on the handlebars snapped the steering cable and i spiraled off the course, my race over. I had realised by this point i didn’t have a championship winning setup and with the pressure off i planned just to go racing forfun.
  2. It was a mad rush to repair the steering and other things in the 2 hours before race 2, thanks to Dad, Dave and the Bearwood guys for getting me out there. I was a late starter from the pits- about half a lap behind the leader- but the clear course gave me a chance to concentrate on my lines and get familiar with the machine. After a few laps i was taking backmarkers and eventually finished 11th. I was buzzing after that race, finally seeing the first glimpse of potential from the new craft. I was really looking forward to Saturday’s race.
  3. I was ready for the start, and had moved up a row on the grid. With red mist down i passed a few places upto the rear of the leading pack. However on the large lake Fred ploughed in right in front of me, stopping suddenly and causing me to take evasive action. My skirt collapsed completely and water coming through the fan took out a few lift fan blades causing the front end to resonate badly. I had to keep the fans on to motor off the racing line so i didnt cause a red flag, the front fan shaking itself to bits the whole time. In doing so I was sure i had wrecked the Orange craft for the week so i set about readying the spare craft.
  4. Using the sick yellow craft in race 4 on Saturday afternoon i ended up doing some fun racing with her eventually beating me. The craft was not revving and i had no thrust to push the craft back down from wheelying which meant i got pretty vertical a few times. It was good fun but slightly annoying knowing I had won previous races on this course with this craft.
  5. The wind had increased by Sunday making it even more difficult still along the long lake and hard to keep the craft on the ground at the small lake exit. With white horses rolling down the large lake drivers were getting anxious. I raced with Laura again, getting past her only to throw it all away 5 yards from the line by flipping the craft. I restarted the craft , went through the line and went back to the pits for the last time. (Race 6 was cancelled due to high winds)

All in all it was a great week in spite of my terrible performance (i was placed 13th compared to my previous 4th place in Sweden).  I gambled on racing a brand new craft that had the potential to be really quick in a competition where reliability is the key- although this did pay off 2 years before i had tried too many new things this year. Bring on the next world champs event where i hope to be moving upto the F2 category.

Posted in: General, Orange Peril, Racing Diary on August 23rd by admin


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