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Need for speed

28/11/2017 | General

The Cowes-Poole-Cowes offshore powerboat race, one of the most distinguished and challenging powerboat races in the United Kingdom, took place on 27 August.

The thrilling race, which has up to 20 contenders and covers 200 miles, is thought to be one of the most testing a powerboat racer can face. Having been held for 57 years, the race and its participants are widely recognised and respected both in and out of the powerboat world.

One particularly prominent contender this year was the Vintage Torque, a 1000 BPH speedboat that can travel in excess of 100 mph. The “mean machine” is owned and operated by Frank Rose, an extremely experienced and dedicated powerboat racer who has competed in the Cowes powerboat race since 2003 and grabbed numerous gold medals in races in the area.

Frank knows exactly what he needs for a successful race, which is exactly why he and his team relied so heavily on the Pirtek Isle of Wight centre, trusting in Pirtek so much that a sponsorship deal arose.

The relationship was established over the last year when the Vintage team began using the centre’s services, regularly popping in for parts and relying on them to make sure the boat ran as fast and efficiently as safely possible.

This successful work resulted in a package deal that saw Pirtek Isle of Wight supplying hydraulic steering hoses in return for the Pirtek name on the side of the boat. This was an opportunity that “couldn’t have been better” for all involved.

Frank, who throttles the boat during races, described Pirtek’s involvement with the boat as invaluable. “I entered the race the two years before this and broke down both times. But this year the work that Pirtek has done with us really paid off, making it a fantastic weekend. The time we were able to do it in proved the quality of the boat and the hard work that had gone on it.”

The work that was put in by the outstanding Vintage team and the Pirtek centre really did pay off, with the boat being the fastest by three and a half minutes at an average speed of 79mph and a peak of 104mph.

Unfortunately, due to there being too many spectators near the Bournemouth area, the Vintage Torque, along with three other racers, was unable to see the turning point around a buoy and was penalised by 15 minutes. Still, the Vintage Torque raced without hitches and came in a very respectable third place, a brilliant result compared to what might have been.

Frank underlined the importance of the work Pirtek had done for him and his boat. “We had a look at the engine and while we were doing that decided to look at the steering hoses that have been in there since the boat was made in 1989. Thank god we did. They were about to break down and the boat would have turned if we hadn’t replaced them. Pirtek supplied 12-metre stainless steel hoses made at a right angle that are much better and will last a lot longer.”

Powerboat racing is something that cannot be taken lightly, with those operating the machine having to sit in a safety cell with a breathing apparatus built-in in case of a “turn”. An understanding of the equipment from skilled technicians was key, making Pirtek the perfect fit.

Centre manager, Rob Gale, underlined the importance of attention to detail for the sake of safety. “It’s really important to get the boat in order so that accidents don’t happen. There have been fatalities in the race, five that I know of, so we have to ensure that everything is in perfect order.”

The centre did this and more. Rob explained why the job meant a lot to him. “I grew up on the Isle of Wight so as a young man I used to go and see these races. The drivers aren’t paid for what they do so it really is a labour of love. And one that’s extremely expensive. Before they were coming to us they had to send parts off to America to get fixed. So, we made a plan to make some parts up for them in return for a free advertisement on their much-seen boat. One that we thought would benefit everyone.”

Congratulations Vintage Torque!

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