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Saturday, 14 December 2019

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British Open 2014 Race Report and Results

British Open 2014 Race Report and ResultsBritish Open 2014 Race Report and Results

What an amazing weekend! 

Here's what people had to say:

"Huge thanks to you (Nick Dodge) & the team for what was probably the best nationals I can remember. Great venue & great wind."

"Thanks to Nick Dodge and his team, I can't think of anything that would have made the event better? A thoroughly enjoyable weekend with great racing and great people."

"May I add my thanks to all of the organisation for the racing at Elvington. I didn't think you could better the b series that took place there earlier this year, but this was fantastic. Without doubt for me this was the best race meeting I have attended since first purchasing a blokart. Well done everyone."

Race Report:

 A Different Perspective…                

-or just the ramblings of an RO!    

Officiating for the weekend has an obvious disadvantage but on the whole was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience, although at times quite demanding (fancy a go?). 

For me, the real preparation started about a week or two before the event, arranging to pick up some of the race gear needed (luckily, John Gilborn occasionally visits my office in Slough, so no real worries).  Getting the names of the volunteers sorted to ensure we had enough marshaling cover (thanks to Martin Leach and the York Landyacht Club), keeping an eye on forecasts, thinking of potential courses, going over the rules and checking them again, were also on the task list! 

After a slow 5.5 hour Friday journey, we quickly installed ourselves at ‘The Windmill’ pub and then headed to the airfield.  Getting some of the traffic cones (to be used as ‘marks’) out on the Pan, would save a stack of time on what would be a very busy Saturday morning!

On return from the airfield, the registration buffet at ‘The Windmill’ was next on the agenda.  Catching up with old friends, making new, plenty of good food, some light refreshment and of course good conversation ensured a great time.  Hot topics were the anticipation and expectation for the day ahead, interspersed with comparisons of how long it took to get there, plus the odd comment or two about the distinct lack of vegetation on the buffet!  Must be a Yorkshire thing?

Race Day 1; Lighter winds and initially not from the forecast direction prompted quite a bit of rethinking to get a sailable semi technical course.  Taking Bicycles onto the Pan this year proved to be very useful, as changing courses was to be a frequent process with the wind changing direction and growing in strength throughout the day.  After a little delay, mainly due to the wind but also getting the transponder set up, a kart by kart transponder check and scrutineering completed and we were ready for the first race.  

I had decided on more of a reaching start due to the wind direction, thinking it would be quicker, easier and safer.  Wrong! The first race ended about 30 seconds after it started with red flags being waved furiously.  An ambitious ‘dive’ into a space that wasn’t there had a ‘knock on’ affect (literally!) and two of the ‘big lads’ went over, with bits flying everywhere and the real possibility of injury!  Luckily, the only real damage would be to their wallets!  After a short delay, lots of discussion (some heated), finger pointing, a further slight adjustment of the course, plus the plea to all competitors to ‘play fair’, we got underway.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t too long before the next big spill, which saw Caroline and kart ending up on the grass infield after a fast Gybe.  Two Marshals were there within seconds (thanks to those bikes) followed closely by partner Ron.  This time the race continued whist we assessed the situation and administered a little first aid.  Using a marshaling vehicle (thanks to Eileen) we moved to the pit area and as a precaution, and thanks to transport from “Ambulance Alison” they spent the next couple of hours at the local hospital.  Once back, it was confirmed that Caroline, although quite shaken, was fortunate with only bruising.  Phew!

Events so far had only confirmed that Blokart Sailing is a dangerous and competitive sport!  As such, it’s essential to wear the correct clothing, helmet, gloves and have the seat belt correctly adjusted!

After a very short break for Lunch (thank you again Marshals) the wind had moved round further toward the forecasted direction.  Ably assisted by Chris Moore (his incredibly bent and somewhat painful back, stopping him from racing, was now easing) and good feedback from Steve Harvey, a few minor tweaks to the course were made to keep things competitive and racing continued.

Thankfully, the rest of the day went off without further major incident with what looked like some very close and exciting racing.   A few of those very competitive types were still pushing their luck with their interpretation of the rules, despite many clarifications!  Although strangely it was often those protesting others in one race, that were on the receiving end in the next! Funny that…   We ended the days racing having achieved a total of 15 races before the light faded.   Not bad considering.

Observation: It was interesting to see how different competitors used the times between races (which were few) to either practice the dial ups, get their timings set or in some instances actually team up and use each others karts to determine which was the correct sail for their weight under the current wind conditions (e.g. a Heavy with a 5.5m and a Middleweight with a 4m).

The evening ‘Event’ meal at ‘The Windmill’ was a great success with some super food, great stories about the days racing, a good raffle (thanks to our sponsors) and of course some more light refreshment.

Race Day 2; Saw an early start, as most took advantage of the clocks going back.  Tony Elliot had decided not to race and offered to help out with the course setting (much appreciated) and the order of the day was to be the Americas Cup style course. With a slight delay due to the location of the Transponder line, we were ready to go! 

However, after only a single Production Race it became clear that the increasing wind speeds and high gusts meant that pilot safety could start to be compromised.  The resulting course adjustment removed the potential for high-speed karts converging and after a couple of tweaks (thanks to further input from some experienced Pilots), an equally technical but safer course, with the possibility of a number of different lines on a true ‘beat’, was set.  Also, changing the dial up area to behind the start line only, with the threat of disqualification for anyone ‘On Course Side’ during the dial up, ensured a slower more controlled start (although some still managed to incur penalties!)

Really close racing between pilots in all categories and both fleets was then the order of day, giving the race officials some great discussion points and a few tips along the way!  With wind speeds increasing (gusts topped 33mph) some were starting to find the going difficult, especially with the upwind lines and the high-speed downwind leg. 

One of the most spectacular crashes I have witnessed happened at the leeward mark where Steve Varden ended up doing a back flip/summersault (via his head and pulley whip) only to end up back on his wheels facing the wrong way.  Marshals were on the scene in seconds to assist expecting the worst, only to find Steve ‘chomping at the bit’ to get back in the race!  A quick pulley whip change and he was back on his way!  Incredible!   Luckily, no further major incidents ensured really close and competitive racing to the end. 

A quick pack up job, well an hour or so, as cones needed putting back, flags taken down, Results printed (thanks Richard), transponder packed up and cars loaded up to take the whole shooting match on to Greatstone for the last b-series race of the year.  Most were staying for the prize giving, although a few stealthily slipped away. 

Votes of thanks to all those that gave up their time to make others have an enjoyable experience and thanks to the competitors came from our Chairman, Graham with some ‘extra’ prizes given by Ronstan, through Steve Harvey.  The provisional results and Trophy ceremony brought the National Champs to an end for another year.  Well nearly…

Under a pitch black night sky; The catering van was paid up and sent on it’s way, Paul F’s car ‘jump started’ (thanks again to Richard H and Phil S) all stragglers were eventually coaxed through the gates and we could finally lock up and return to the Pub for a well earned rest and an evening of reflection.  Oh, and of course, some light refreshment!! 

See you next time.

K99 Nick

The committee would like to express their huge gratitude to Nick and all those who helped marshalling, running the transponder and all the other jobs big and small that contributed towards the weekend. Without volunteers and helpers we cannot race. If you're a racer please consider how you could help contribute to the organisation or running of future events; it shouldn't fall to the same people all of the time.


As per EBA rules, there was a minor change to the weight categories by shifting the Lightweight upper limit to 71Kg in order to allow at least 3 people to race in each category. Due to an oversight (really sorry, but mistakes happen) Alan Gibson was assigned to Middleweight. These are the corrected scores and places.

Final results:

Position Name Points
Production Lightweight
1 Tom Rimmer 8
2 Tom Hollingsworth 15
3 Sarah Burn 20
Production Middleweight
1 Martin Letters 
2 Tim Seed 22 
3 Martin Leach 31 
4 Brian Hayes 40 
5 Kim Chamberlain 53 
6 Steve Varden 57 
 Production Heavyweight  
1 Chris Selway
2 Matthew Edwards  32 
3 Ray Bayley 38 
4 Chris Mumford 45 
5 Dave Purchase 47 
6 Chris Rigby 59 
7 George Brien  63 
8 Pat Letters 75 
9 Martyn Allport 78 
10 Graham Dalzell 93 
11 Richard Bayley 


 Superheavy Production  
1 Nick Trollope
2 Richard Hollingsworth  10 
3 Phil Selway  32 
4 Neil Wood  51 
  Light Performance 
1 Pete Newlands 
2 Alan Gibson 23
3 Lorraine Etherington 29
4 Caroline Hart  53
  Middle Performance 
1 Justin Heap 0
2 Ron Frewin  29
3 Donny Macfarlane 31
4 Chris Moore  37
  Heavy Performance 
1 Paul Vernon  7
2 Steve Harvey  16
3 Andy Etherington  29
4 Graham Deal  33
5 Ray Lemin  48
Superheavy Performance
1 Ed Delahaye 4
2 Jon Rimmer 25
3 Paul Farrow 26
4 Nick Glynn 38
5 Gareth James 52
6 Tony Elliott 57

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