No one said hydroplane racing was risk-free. A small craft travelling at over 70 mph, the driver’s face only inches above the water flashing past, a tight turn onto the return straight, disturbed water from hydroplanes ahead, drivers bunching in the turn, high levels of competition, and anything can happen!!! That’s why its such an exciting sport to participate in and to watch.
Craig Speller approaches the turn in ’21’ going full throttle, the propeller in the water but little else.
’21’ takes off and corkscrews. G force holds Craig in the cockpit and he only comes out as the hydroplane hits the water, striking his leg as it rolls.
’21’ shows off a beautifully varnished underside and is floating.
After the crash Craig took cover on the upturned ’21’ as the other competitors streaked past. The last n the field can just be seen passing out of view to the left, allowing the rescue boats to reach Craig.
The crew of Rescue 3 have moved a rigid stretcher under Craig and are bringing him aboard for the trip back to the clubhouse where he will be checked over by the medical team on standby at the St John’s Ambulance vehicle. The stretcher is a standard precaution in case a crashed driver has suffered back or neck injuries. ’21’ is still afloat but only just, her nose and sponson tips just clear of the water to the left of Rescue 3.
As Rescue 3 holds a line, the diver from Rescue 5 is already in the water preparing to recover ’21’. LOBMBC operate five rescue boats with trained crews and divers to cover all eventualities.
’21’ has been righted and as teh Rescue boat tows her back to the clubhouse, a diver is busy bailing water out.
While Craig is being checked for injuries, luckily only severe bruising, Team-21 clean the motor of a virtually undamaged ’21’. The hydroplane demonstrated its great strength in coming to a stop from 70 mph almost instantly with only a damaged plastic numberplate and a crack in the polycarbonate wind shield.