Just imagine, you’re racing down the back straight toward the water. You’ve got the throttle wide open, the engine is buzzing at ten thousand revs. As you get to the edge, shift your weight back a little and head out over the lake to the right of the buoy. There’s a craft stuck just off your line in the middle of the lake so you keep one eye on him to see which way he’s drifting. Round the buoy and heading down wind so you get your weight further back. Two craft come up behind on the outside, an F1 and an F2. They’re much more powerful and so get past. There’s a marshal on the headland waving a yellow flag frantically to warn you of something round the corner, just out of sight. As you speed into the inlet, you can see two F25s that didn’t make it up the bank. The two guys that just passed you have got the line wrong, gone wide and are trying to recover and there is just enough room for you. You back off the gas – but not much – shimmy the back round, open it wide again and get up the bank in front of the lot of them!
This is dedicated to my experiences hovercraft racing in the UK.
Here in the UK, the racing season lasts from around May to September and a dedicated band visit various venues around the country from Fawley in the south to Acrington in the north, with various stops in between. Racing takes place over weekends with plenty of action from start to finish. For details of when and where we’re racing, check out the Hovercraft Club of Great Britain’s (HCGB) website. I joined the HCGB at the end of 1998 and soon after bought my hull (See below). It was well into 1999 by the time I’d finished building it and so it was at the end of the season before I got a race in. All racers must take part in a series of races as “Novices”. These are mixed formula, so you may be racing against craft with vastly different capabilities but are a great learning ground before you head out into the more fiercely fought world of the National Championships. 2000 was my first complete season and I spent it in Novices, battling against other Newbies who were also trying to qualify. You can read about my craft and how I put them together by working your way down the menu.