A thrilling ride

Power boar racing at Torquay

Power boar racing at Torquay - Credit: Archant

Thrill seekers should head for Torquay in May, writes Chrissy Harris

Ever fancied tearing across the open sea and back again in a boat that can top 100mph?

Organisers of the Nations Raceboat Series are still looking for competitors to sign up for the event which promises to satisfy any thrill seekers’ need for speed.

Entrants would have to take part in a day’s ‘fairly simple’ training before hitting the waves during the competition that takes place in and around Torquay’s marina from 23 to 26 May.

“We’ve quite often got teams here that need co-drivers,” says race organiser Bob McCarthy, who has been driving powerboats since the early 1970s.

“People can get in touch with me and I can take them through the basic stages. It normally takes about a day and there will only be a small admin charge of about £30.

“It’s really great fun. It’s the adrenalin you get that keeps you coming back. “I’ve been doing it for a long time now and I suppose you do get that same thrill. There is definitely something about being on the open sea like that and then coming back in to the marina.”

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The boats will roar across Tor Bay, past Haldon Pier, weaving in and around four ‘turn buoys’. Those not lucky enough to be behind the wheel can still be a part of the excitement from the safety of the shore.

“It’s a very spectator friendly event,” says Bob, a member of the Offshore Circuit Racing Drivers Association (OCRDA).

“You are really close to the action and people can come and chat to the drivers and sit in the boats. We’re a pretty friendly bunch.”

The raceboat event was first held in Torbay in the 1980s and regularly draws in spectators who come to have a cup of tea and watch the action from Torquay harbour.

Boats are grouped by horsepower, with the larger boats (seven meters and over 200hp) on an extended course. There is a shorter course for the smaller horsepower group.

Organisers say round one of the series in Torquay looks like it will be well attended with teams from the UK, France, Malta and Ireland. Other rounds take place in Liverpool, West Bay, Dorset and Plymouth in September.

This year’s Torquay round promises to have even more to wow the crowds on and off shore, with plans for jet ski displays and other water-based activities, plus street entertainers to provide family fun.

Nick Burns, Toquay’s assistant harbour master, could barely hide his excitement when talking about this firm favourite on Torbay’s event calendar.

“It’s great to watch because the boats are very competitive – they’re very evenly matched so there’s a lot of overtaking and catching up with each other,” he says. “The boats start out heading seawards then they turn around and come in very close to the shore. At one point, they’re right next to the pier. It’s not as though they’re just dots on the horizon. You feel as though you’re right next to the action.”

Nick says he hopes this month’s event will bring in the crowds to enjoy all Torquay and the surrounding area has to offer, as it has done in previous years. “Lots of people usually come down and stop for lunch and make a day of it. It’s a great event for families to enjoy.”

To find out more about taking part in the Nations Raceboat Series, call Bob McCarthy on 07970 728573 or email ocrda@btconnect.com

See ocrda.info

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