HotRIBS - The online RIB Magazine
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BananaShark Clinch National Title
"Cookee" brings us up to speed
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Bananashark Racing
Photo Credit: Becken of Cowes


It was a RIB Racing weekend to remember – Cowes 2005 had it all – the big P1 boats, helicopter crashes, and of course the National classes for race boats and for RIBs.

Team BananaShark, Driver John Cooke, navigator Graham Lawton and not forgetting crew chief Kevin Stephens and the newest member of the team James McGing were in the enviable position of being in a commanding lead of the RYA Formula 1 National RIB championship as well as the BIBOA club championships, all they needed to do was get two reasonably good finishes and they would claim both titles. Of course a non finish or even two really bad results would see their season long efforts wasted. With a win at the Poole event (also winning the coveted Needles Trophy) in very difficult conditions – especially at the notorious Needles, and a second place in Ramsgate earlier in the season, coupled with reliability meant that the team was confident but cautious.

The two National races were to be on Friday and Saturday, so most of the teams arrived on Thursday to be ready for the Friday race – on Friday with the typical Solent chop making it interesting, team BananaShark were confident of a good result. Difficulties with laying the marks and organisational difficulties meant a long delay with the teams being held in the marina waiting for the signal to go out.

Eventually following a 1 ½ hour delay, the teams were sent out to the muster area, once outside the speed limit area and on the plane it was obviously at least as rough as forecast.

Suddenly there were marshal boats waving red flags and chasing after the race boats telling them to return to the marina – the race had been cancelled! It turned out that a small 2 man helicopter had crashed in the middle of the start chute and the CAA had declared it a crash area which meant that there was to be no racing that day. This meant of course that the BananaShark teams’ lead remained the same with only one race to go; sometimes help comes from the most unexpected areas!

Saturday’s race was eventually run without any major incident, and despite a good start John and Graham took the view of not wishing to break anything, and settled for a comfortable 4th place clinching the championship. In addition, although it has to be confirmed, it is thought that the team came second in the inaugural Formula 200 championship for 200 horsepower race boats and RIBs, beating all but one of the Mannerfelt Batboats, Phantoms, and other race boats.

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April 2006