Craig Dickson reports from the second race of 2014 at Nottingham

Hello readers! Following the first exciting event at Branston earlier in April, it was time to meet up again for our next race and Colwick Country Park on the outskirts of Nottingham was the venue. This is always popular as the park has spectacular features including some stunning lakes and excellent facilities making it ideal for model power boat racing. Car parking and toilet facilities are close to the lake, something that is always important. Heavy showers were predicted for the afternoon and that gave everyone the impetus to stick to the racing timetable and get it underway as soon as possible. One concern, was that unlike Branston, we did not have a dedicated team to man the rescue boat, or do the vital lap counting. However thanks to the dedication of the BMPRS members, everyone helped with both duties, so on the day there were no problems whatsoever.

Mark Wild took the role of Officer of the Day (OOD) and did a sterling job of organising the day's schedule. The all important Drivers’ Meeting was held at 0945hrs to hear all the key information, including the requirement for each driver to drive safely, especially when in the vicinity of the rescue boat and the penalties for not doing so! Duration for each heat was 15 minutes for all monohull classes except the catamarans whose heats were to be 10 minutes each. The usual format applied, with two heats raced in each class and the laps totalled to decide the final positions. One feature of this fantastic lake is that two sides are surrounded by solid vertical concrete banks. The impact(!) of these, is that any waves heading towards them bounce straight back into the lake instead of being absorbed via the usual sloping grass bank or sandy shoreline. So, with the blustery conditions, this made for some extremely choppy water making driving challenging and the boats very unpredictable at times. This was especially noticeable in the afternoon when the wind speed rose substantially.

AA class

This is the smallest engine size of boat and there were six competitors. These small boats were, in the afternoon's more adverse conditions, bouncing all over the waves and airborne at times. Most needed rescuing at least once and on occasion there were only two left on the water. First place went to David Clay with an impressive total of 47 laps, his CMB 21 powered Challenger proving to be the most consistent in both heats. Second place with 24 laps went to Sha Simon running her MDS 28 powered Cavalier. She would have done better if the boat had managed more than four laps in the afternoon because of the poor conditions. Sha is one of the few female competitors in the BMPRS and we would welcome more ladies. Mark Beesley’s superb Cavalier powered by an OS 21 outboard engine scored 23 laps in total gaining him third place. Close behind with 22 laps for fourth place was Mike Barnes with his MDS 28 powered Sea Spirit. He won the AA Class Championship in 2013, winning seven of the ten races he entered, so this was a rare non-podium position for him. David Hough and Ian Searle ended up with fifth and sixth respectively, both scoring zero laps in the second heat. Ian had to retire after Heat One anyway, a cog on the engine's gearbox having stripped.

A class

This class features nitro (glow fuel) engines of up to 7.5cc capacity had seven competitors lined up ready to race. It is worth noting that of the five top placed boats, four were using SC and ASP engines that are virtually identical in design. These motors are classed as 'sports engines' and cost a fraction of the price of the highly tuned racing engines, so this does demonstrate that you don’t have to spend a fortune to race and get good results.

My own SC 46 powered Crusader 3 was first with a total of 53 laps. I aimed, in both heats, to stay on the water and although not needing rescue, the second heat proved particularly challenging as it was half-throttle for most of the time because of the adverse conditions. Kian Searle running his trusty ASP powered Crusader 3 was second with 21 laps. His first heat was scuppered somewhat, with a failed rudder servo, but it was replaced in time for the second. Third place went to Kurt Cave with his TT 46 powered Cougar and 20 laps. This Cougar is very fast, but the choppy conditions on the day negated its outright speed advantage. Luke Bramwell was fourth with his SC 40 powered Seaspirit and just 12 laps, having had an unwanted meeting with the concrete bank in Heat One! However, that didn’t stop him from entering the second heat for the all important championship points. Mike Proudman and David Clay both scored zero laps, David colliding with the rescue boat and thus was automatically disqualified. Thankfully the incident was not physically serious, and no damage was caused, but rules are rules!

B class

Only three competitors, but they did well. The splendid CMB 67 powered Apache 50 of Malcolm Pratt clocked up 57 laps to win first place. His actual total was 62 laps, but he received a five lap penalty for driving to-close and fast in the vicinity of the rescue boat. Garry Dickson’s Webra 61 powered Challenger also scored 57 laps, but was a fraction of a lap behind Malcolm, and was therefore second. Garry's boat, when throttling back in turns, experienced noticeable problems in turning right because the bow seemed to keep digging-in making it want to go straight ahead, despite full rudder being applied. Garry subsequently realised that the centre of gravity (balance point) of this boat was too far forward and this will be rectified to improve the handling.

Mark Beesley with his 'unknown hull' powered by an ASP 61 was third. The boat flipped over at one point and the time lost in having it recovered and restarted, cost valuable laps.

C class

This is the largest class of the nitro (glow fuel) powered hulls and had four entries. Most of the laps were scored in the morning before the conditions worsened and on more than one occasion in the afternoon the boats needed rescuing. CMB engines powered three of the four boats, this engine being very popular in the large glow engine sizes.

Mark Beesley’s CMB 91 powered Aeromarine was especially fast and with 52 laps in total he was first, despite having a stop needing rescue and a re-start. With 43 laps in total, Mike Gelson’s CMB 91RS powered Stratos was second. Mike, in earlier testing, had altered the trim of the Stratos making it ride higher out of the water and that possibly presented a new challenge due to the rough water. He was certainly throttling-back in the second heat to reduce the risk of flipping the boat, and even then it needed recovering once for a re-start. Third place with 32 laps went to Harry Stuart with his OPS 80 powered Warhawk. At one point this boat hit a huge wave, leapt into the air and then submarined, before stopping and needing rescuing. In Heat Two the steering function seemed to fail and Harry just managed to cut the throttle to not hit the concrete bank. After recovery it was evident that the boat must have hit something, because the rudder had bent markedly backwards rendering it useless. Ian Searle's CMB 91 Makara boat only managed four laps – not a great day for him! He retired after Heat One as the r/c gear was wet and the propeller damaged after several 'flips' - a wise decision!

D class

This features the largest Spark Ignition (S.I.) petrol engines and had ten competitors. The racing was spectacular, but the rescue boat crew were kept very busy, constantly having to recover boats that fell victim to the rough waters.

Mike Barnes and his Gizmo powered Patriot scored a total of 79 laps to win first place. Mike was the 2013 BMPRS Champion in this class and as this was his first event of the season, so he has started as he left-off! The two Patriot hulls in this event (the other being raced by Kevin Alcock) appeared to cope extremely well with the tough conditions. Second place with an equally impressive 72 laps went to Garry Dickson running his MPM Zenoah powered Miami boat. Garry took it steady in the second heat (after spectacularly barrel rolling the boat), aiming to keep out of trouble and it paid-off with consistent lap scores. Mike Durant with his superb looking Gizmo powered Phantom scored 49 laps to be third. Interestingly, he achieved the highest lap count of all ten competitors in the second heat, but his dismal first heat score reduced somewhat the potential overall total.

Racing in this class saw some fierce competition and despite the excellent driving skills of everyone, the occasional collision was inevitable. Malcolm Pratt’s Sigma suffered some hatch damage and a dented tuned pipe after a collision with Kevin Alcock’s Patriot, but two following boats managed to avoid a further collision thanks to the reflexes of their drivers.

As an aside, these large petrol engines are commonly started by hand using a manual pull start and if the engine gets swamped with water after a mishap, that can make them difficult to start. Some BMPRS members use an electric starter motor which combined with a belt and flywheel pulley on the engine makes things easier. However, in the afternoon heat this resulted in a problem for Malcolm Pratt as his electric starter could not be found and it was nowhere to be seen! The OOD paused the start of the race to allow him to find it, with people frantically looking everywhere for it. Had it fallen into the water? Was it hidden in his tool box? In the end, much to everyone’s amusement, it was discovered that Malcolm had put it back in his car, and so racing started again. This episode greatly added to the fun of the day and was what some would call 'a senior moment'!

Cat T1 class

This comprises small engined catamarans and had three entrants. Catamarans can be a handful in rough water and especially so in the afternoon heat, leading to some spectacular flips and dives. Harry Stuart’s OPS 45 powered R2 Silver Fox achieved 25 laps, giving him first place. Throttling down in the rough conditions and driving carefully, paid real dividends with consistent scores in both heats. Second place with nine laps in total went to Kurt Cave with his neatly built and nicely presented OPS 21 Outboard powered F1 catamaran. He had some spectacular dunkings of this boat after it became airborne on several occasions, but he was always quick to get the engine re-started and away again following recovery. Junior member Kian, with his OPS 21 powered Sprint catamaran came third with four laps. The boat lost its hatch in Heat One and then in Heat Two the first big wave swamped it, which upon recovery revealed that water had now entered the radio box, meaning retirement.

Cat T2 class

This larger class of catamaran had six entries, one more than at Branston. All except one were powered by large spark ignition petrol engines and all of these boats were ballistic when powering over the waves! The only glow fuel powered boat was Malcolm Pratt’s Aeromarine cat' powered by a CMB 91RS. Malcolm scored the highest number of laps in both the morning and afternoon heats giving a total of 42 and a well deserved first place. Kurt Cave’s exceptionally fast KRC 29 petrol engine powered Conquest achieved 24 laps giving him second place. In the morning heat, Kurt’s cat' hit a large wave at speed and did a spectacular back flip somersault before stopping, but he was soon back on the water after recovery. Third place with 23 laps went to Garry Dickson with his new Mercury cat' powered by an MPM Zenoah 31 petrol engine. Garry was taking it steady on the throttle to try and avoid having to have it rescued, although at times even that wasn’t sufficient to avoid succumbing to the conditions.


The unpredictable choppy water conditions made for some spectacular action that can only be fully appreciated by those present. These conditions meant that a key requirement to do well was to keep the boat going. The old saying, 'To finish first, then first you have to finish', made good sense on this occasion!

A special thank you goes to Ian, Martin and Steve of the Nottingham MBC who kindly provided the rescue boat, refreshments and a splendid raffle. These guys did a great job and as always made us all feel so welcome. Also a big Thank You goes to Mark Wild who did a splendid job of organising the racing.

This concludes my report from Nottingham. Please check our website for the latest updates and remember that potential new members and spectators are always welcome at our venues to enjoy the action and see what we do.

Craig Dickson - PR Officer BMPRS