Premier Cru & Lings steal the thunder as Honda F4SA Championship Winners 2009
20 Sep 2009
Bright sunshine and clear blue skies greeted competitors for the final three races in the Honda Formula 4 Stroke Association, sponsored by the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company. It was the final chance for some of the crews to get vital podium places, with battles raging throughout the field in both classes. In 225hp race three the action went right down to the wire in the final rounds of the 2009 Formula 4 Stroke Association series with the last races in both championships deciding the overall winners.
The only 225hp race of the year was a straight battle between Lings.com and Team Williams, both crews separated by just three points at the start of the race. Both boats raced to the first buoy within inches of each other. Scott and Ken Williams squeezed out their rivals David Cowley and Paul Barkshire, but in doing so let Heights of Abrahams with driver Rupert and navigator Sophie Pugh get into the lead, a position they maintained to the chequered flag. Behind them, Team Williams secured second place overall in the race, edging Double Six into third. The Hampshire based crew of Brian Caudwell and Sean Massey kept out of trouble on the first lap and literally drove around the field to take second but a fighting and aggressive display meant Team Williams edged them out of second but they still finished on the podium.
It took a bit of calculating but Lings.com did enough to gain fourth, a few boat lengths ahead of the Power of Dreams, but more importantly secured the 225 championship by one point.
In the second 150hp race of the weekend, Premier Cru were in a difficult position as they headed into the final rounds knowing that to throw away the championship would take a mechanical failure or an incident of some kind. Driver John Wilson and Neil Scarborough had a fraught and sleepless night going through all the possibilities.
In the end they decided to keep out of trouble and finish mid-pack, safe in the knowledge that they couldn't be beaten as long as they finished both races. For Team Hydrex all they could do was maintain maximum pressure and did that taking race one at a canter ahead of the all female crew of Rose Lores and Sara Cureton in the Eclipse boat which had the best finish of the year and finally made it on to the podium.
Octane driven by Lee Smith and navigated by Simon Loveridge had a good start, battling with three others over the final podium place. The calm seas helped them achieve one of their best points place of the year in a trouble free run around Douglas Bay.
In race three of the 150hp class, unbeknown to the huge crowds that lined Douglas promenade, Premier Cru's title ambitions nearly came to a premature end when on the start line they were left by the pack as they tried to power away as there was no thrust due to a worn bush on the prop. It meant what should have been a straight forward race actually turned into a nightmare – Navigator Neil Scarborough having to keep a constant watch over his shoulder to make sure they dropped no lower than fifth overall. This they managed, to take the championship.
Up at the front, Hydrex continued in the lead dominating the race and taking another maximum points haul, reigning champions Jak Cockman and Andy Phipps knowing this year's title ambitions were scuppered by a non-finish at Lowestoft earlier in the year.
Octane carried on their great form and once they got their noses in front of the other contenders they looked like seasoned campaigners in second place. The crew had swapped seats from the first race with Simon in charge of the steering wheel and Lee doing the navigating.
Team Williams with Martin Campbell and Dale Williams had a solid run into third place. They had to contend with a hard charging Rose Lores in Eclipse who didn't have the cornering speed but more than made up for it on the long straights.
Premier Cru hung on to fifth, but only after Team Purple had the only major incident on the water when something broke on the back of the boat, throwing Stuart Cureton over the top of navigator David Sexton and into the water. Marshals kept the area clear as Stuart was helped back into the boat but retirement beckoned due to the broken part and their race was over, a disappointing end to the season.
Final Points Standings:
|Heights of Abrahams||169|