Duckhams Trophy 12th june
After a week or more of idyllic weather, the Race Gods decided otherwise for Saturday’s second post Covid bash around the Dam. Although quite warm, a stiff and gusting North Westerly wind greeted us racers. Added to that was a field of ten boats, the biggest we had enjoyed for quite a while, although for at least one driver the conditions were to be endured not enjoyed!
In addition to the boats which competed last time out were Chris Loney in his high powered formula two DAC hull, Pete Smith in his venerable Wolbold hull which must be pushing thirty years old, and Harry Stuart at the other end of the scale with his much modified Simms Super Vee hull, so the slowest boat was travelling at 40 mph while Chris was flying along at 100mph plus!
On handicap races lasting 9 minutes, four minutes separated Harry who started first and Chris Loney who started last. Between those two extremes were the others but with Matt Wood, Chris Dakin and Bill Owen being handicapped within two seconds of each other and changing their relative positions in every heat. It really was difficult because if you started behind, you could not make positions up and if you started ahead you were at risk of breaking your time. Added to that were the changing conditions which were the roughest I have seen on the Dam in many a year.
Stuart Bird and Harry Stuart were having a continuing battle at the front of the field while the rest of the pack were trying to catch them, with Windermere’s Simon Leigh getting to grips with his new outfit, trying to work out the handicapping system but as he got more and more used to the boat, the quicker he went and the more he was penalized. Handicap racing is a black art but it certainly adds to the excitement.
The conditions favoured the bigger boats, none more so than Will Wood and Adam Brown who plied the course with metronomic precision, but the same cannot be said for poor Miles Fricker who found his boat very much of a handful without a passenger to stabilize it. Adding a bag of sand is no substitute for organic ballast!
Meanwhile Pete Smith showed that he had lost none of his prowess with a boat which had not seen the water for 5 years or more and was now powered by a 2.5 litre Mercury. The boat looked good
from the off and ran faultlessly all meeting, but looking at some of the pictures on Facebook, he had it at some funny angles.
As for Chris Loney, this was his first time on the water since lockdown, and I am sure that he would have scored a very good result were it not for engine gremlins which caused him a 24 second late start in one heat, something that not even Chris Could make up. Even so he managed to make the four minute time deficit up in most heats and passed all of the field at least once, and some twice.
If the handicap starts were close, the finishes were some of the closest I have experienced in a long while with three boats finishing on a dead heat on the last race of the day.
To be out there was challenging to say the least, but to finish was rewarding and we all enjoyed being able to give the spectators something to enjoy.
Many thanks to all the people who helped run the event both on and off the water, and also to the many photographers who have posted some brilliant pics on the LPRC photographs website.
As some will know we race for three trophies on the day. LPRC drivers competing for the Duckham’s Trophy, Windermere competing for 5 or more different trophies and a combined trophy for the overall winner. Confused, Yes so am I.
We are next on the water at Windermere on Saturday 19th June where it is sure to be even rougher. Please watch this space for updates.
Bill Owen, Commodore LPRC.