The 2002/3 season has been one of attrition for the small, hardy bunch of SA Formula 1 powerboat pilots, and the 7th round held at the National Ports Authority Port Elizabeth Port Festival was no exception. On Sunday 2 March, Ian Mather (#2 National Ports Authority) , the 2000/1 SA Champion, became the last casualty when he had a high-speed nose-dive as a result of hitting a ship’s swell, and he was taken to the Greenacres Hospital with a cut on his face, where he will stay overnight for observation. -

- The first round at Tzaneen saw Lucky Hadebe (#10 National Ports Authority) have his first flip and a Victor Fryde (#17 Alrode Toyota)’s boat burned. The legendary Peter Lindenberg nearly died at the second round at Saldanha, and he subsequently retired, while Russell Chard had a massive flip at Richard’s Bay and Mark Shepherd (#11 Code) had both a barrel-roll and a flip at the NPA Cape Town Port Festival last month. -

- Saturday’s first of two heats saw the windy city take its toll on the Formula 1 powerboats, with the race resulting in a barrel roll, nose-dive and one boat breaking in two. “I saw splinters flying past my windscreen, then my right sponson broke completely off”, said PE pilot Brendan Kelly (#16 Xtreme Yamaha), who fortunately has a spare boat to race on Sunday. The sport’s glamour boy, Mark Shepherd (#11 Code) started the race from pole, and put up with a determined challenge from Russell Chard (#9 Hire Anything) of Richards Bay, ending when Chard lost the front of his sponson and then his boat cowling (cover) which led to a barrel roll when he lost his aerodynamics. Another casualty was Lucky Hadebe (#10 National Ports Authority), who in the middle of the race was lying second, when he barrel-rolled in front of the control tower on lap 12 of 15. -

- Shepherd took the first race with Timmy Fetherstonhaugh (#4 Boardwalk/Zippo Lighters) finishing second ahead of Durban’s Paul Shepard (#19 Cedar Vadec/Burcap) who had his best race ever in third. Another fine performance was by Kerwin Rampono (#18 National Ports Authority), who finished fourth ahead of Schalk van Tonder (#10 Core Networks), the leader of the Lights series for older boats and engines. -

- The second race was restarted on Sunday after Mather’s flip, and the 12-lap race was won by Mark Shepherd (#11 Code), who is now only two points behind Timmy Fetherstonhaugh (#4 Boardwalk/Zippo Lighters), who finished second. The race was a proud moment for the sport’s development pilots Kerwin Rampono (#18 National Ports Authority) and Lucky Hadebe (#10 National Ports Authority), who finished third and fourth respectively, both on the same lap as the leaders. Two Lights pilots, Rodney Downey (#14 Zippo Lighters) and Schalk van Tonder (#10 Core Networks) took 5th and 6th placings respectively. -

- Shepherd took overall race honours with Fetherstonhaugh second, Hadebe taking his second successive third overall race placing and Kerwin Rampono (#18 National Ports Authority) with his best overall finish 4th overall. Rodney Downey (#14 Zippo Lighters) was fifth, Schalk van Tonder (#10 Core Networks) sixth and Paul Shepherd seventh overall for the weekend. -

- SA Championship points for the 2002/3 series: -

- 1st Timmy Fetherstonhaugh (#4 Boardwalk/Zippo Lighters) 110-

- 2nd Mark Shepherd (#11 Code) 116.5-

- 3rd Ian Mather (#2 National Ports Authority) 78-

- 4th Lucky Hadebe (#10 National Ports Authority) 74-

- 5th Russell Chard (#9 Hire Anything) 61.5-

- 6th Paul Shepard (#19 Cedar Vadec/Burcap) 60-

- 7th Schalk van Tonder (#10 Core Networks) (leading Lites) 53.5-

- The ten youngsters participating in the three races in the National Ports Authority races did well to race exceptionally well in rough water conditions. Most of the development drivers are now racing for the fourth or fifth time, with many coming from a local orphanage. -

- The youngsters were split into two groups of five each for safety considerations, and Group A was won by Zayne Goosen (14) of Alexander Road High with a third, second and win in the three 8-lap heats, with orphan Mbululani Teya (16) of Garett High School second followed by Aidan Koetaan (13) of Alexander Road High third. -

- Group B was won by pint-sized Tarquin Langson (12) from Herbert Hurd Primary with two seconds and a first, while orphan Siyabonga Mooi (14) of Elumanyanweni Primary second and one of two lady drivers, Athina Langson (15) of Alexander Road High third. -

- Whilst the F1 boats battled in the rough water, the pilots in the SKF inflatable challenge thrilled as they bounced all over the place in rough water, and in the faster 750 Blueprints Class, it was the team of Phillip Wise and Ginter van Niekert who took race honours ahead of second placed Sean Fisher/James du Preez with Neal Fisher/Dustin Bishop third. -

- The SKF P750 standard inflatable class was won by Nicolas Kelly/Chad Going ahead of second-placed Brendan Wright/Wayne Smith and Greg Upton/Sean Kendall third. -

- The 8th round of the national Formula 1 powerboat series will take place on 29 & 30 March at the National Ports Authority East London Port Festival. -

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Original article from Car