HotRIBS - The online RIB Magazine
[ article ]
  # 050
BananaShark Wins Needles Trophy
"Cookee" brings us up to speed
more pages

BananaShark Racing
Photo Credit: Mike O'Carrol

BananaShark Racing
Photo Credit: Dave Ormiston

BananaShark Racing
Photo Credit: Dave Ormiston


The RIB Formula 1 fleet for 200hp boats had already completed one race from Bournemouth to the Solent totalling over 70 nautical miles in torrential rain with big seas on the Saturday.

Sunday dawned a lot brighter with sunshine and a strong breeze at the Royal Southern Yacht Club which had hosted a gala dinner the night before to celibrate the 100th Anniversary of powerboat racing there.

After the briefing, the Formula 1 RIB fleet set off for leg 2 which was a start in the Solent and a run down to the Needles, around the Needles Fairway mark, and back to Bournemouth for 4 laps off Bournemouth pier. Cardinal Sin, a 9m diesel powered Pascoe, and Richard Strawford in Outboard Services, a 7m Evinrude powered RIB, got away well with BananaShark fighting with the Backs in for 3rd.

BananaShark won the battle for third and started trying to catch the Outboard Services by taking the calmer inshore line, once out beyond the Needles all hell broke loose and waves over 12 feet tall and very steep were a challenge to get over, let alone race in. On the way to the next mark – the Needles Fairway mark the first casualty was Outboard Services whose dashboard had disintegrated leaving the steering wheel attached only to the dashboard itself and not to the boat! The electrics of the large diesel Cardinal Sin were the next to suffer and as a result wouldn't allow the engine to run!

By the time the fleet had got through the large seas around the Needles and back to Bournemouth, two boats were clear of the field. The BananaShark (R66) of John Cooke and Graham Lawton, and the other BananaShark (R3) driven by Andy Twemlow in his first RIB season who was chasing hard. There only remained 4 laps off Bournemouth in the relatively calm seas of the offshore wind, in the end the damage sustained to the lifter in the rough seas by Andy Twemlow earlier in the race forced them to slow down leaving the BananaShark team a five and a half minute win over the rest of the field. came in second, Windexe third, Maverick, the second BananaShark boat was fourth and Outboard Services was fifth.

The Sunday race was the fifth round of the National Championship, the second round of the RIB World Cup and the Needles Trophy race. This race, first awarded in 1932, carries such names as Stirling Moss, HRH Prince Michael of Kent on the trophy, as well as some of the legends of powerboat racing such as Ted Toleman, Eduardo Poli, Andreas Ugland and Jann Hilstead. See brief history for previous winners!

John Cooke and Graham Lawton, the crew of BananaShark racings’ factory boat were over the moon at winning such a historic and prestigious trophy, the only problem is that the trophy is so incredibly valuable that it isn’t allowed to leave the Royal Motor Yacht Club in Poole!

To keep up to speed with "Cookee" visit:

April 2006