Congratulations to the NZ team who did well at the North American Blokart Sailing Champs, the warm up event for the worlds.
In production class, Ray Kelly was 1st in Middleweights, with David Tillman 3rd. Michael Denton won the Heavies and Chris Pretty was 3rd in Super Heavies.
David Heilbron was 1st in Performance Lightweights, and his daughter Natalya was 3rd by 1 point and a couple of points back was John Pavard in 4th.
Barry Cole won the Performance Middles, from Alex Morris, Torkel Stillefors was 2nd in Heavies.
Wayne Osborne won the Performance Super Heavies, with Terry Helm 3rd. Here is hoping they can carry their form into the worlds.
Results can be found on the blokartworlds.com site.
There has been a delay to the start of the worlds due to rain flooding the lake. Hopefully it drains quickly so the worlds can get underway.
Below from Barry Emms is a review of the worlds event.
The world champs are held every two years and this is the 5th event. Past worlds have been 2008 – New Zealand, 2010 – Belgium, 2012 – USA, 2014 – Australia, 2016 – USA.
Race dates for 2016 are; 9th, 10th, 11th, 13th, 14th. Note the 12th is a reserve day if required.
There are several previous world champ winners at this year’s event.; The most prodigious and decorated winner is Santi Oliver also known as Mr Blokart Spain – In2008 and 2010 he was sailing Production Heavy and won at both events, for 2012 Santi moved to Performance Heavy but was knocked back to 2nd place by Sean Fidler. In 2014 he was back in the box seat winning Performance Heavy again. Santi was one of the team that sailed a Blokart across the Gobi desert some years back. He is famous for his friendship and his beard and also owns the airport in Mallorca where the Spanish do all their sailing. Sean Fidler is an American more familiar with wet sailing. He has sailed in a New Zealand Open about 10 years ago. He must be very quick to have outperformed Santi in 2012 and will probably be a major threat at this year’s event.
Wayne Osborne won the Performance Super Heavy class in 2012, Wayne is an Auckland member, I have seen him in action on a number of occasions and he is super quick, especially in light wind conditions. Theo Vondervoort won Performance Super Heavy in 2014. he is a member of the Bay club, an excellent sailor and one that you should not under estimate.
The only other world champions that I know anything about are Haydn Ingall and Russell Harray. Neither are competing this year, I don’t know much about Haydn but Russell is well known and respected as one of New Zealand’s top Blokart sailors and both are double world champions.
There were about 77 competitors in the NABSA series and these numbers have increased to 93 for the worlds. It is a pity that Production has not received the support from those countries where the class is very strong. I suspect that Michael Denton requires some really aggressive opposition.
We will see some great battles ahead is in Performance Middleweight where the competition will be closely fought between Barry Cole, Alex Morris and Russell Whitehouse from Australia. Barry is an Auckland member and always provides hard competition. Alex headed Barry off at the 2015 SIO and there is no reason why he can’t do the same at this event. Russell is a bit of a bulldog, a classic Aussie, he looks like he’s down but hangs on to the bitter end fighting all the way. He has entered past New Zealand competitions including the 2015 SIO and NZO.
An even larger battle looms in Performance Heavy where you have a small group who are all capable of making the top three. The fight will be between Santi Oliver, Sean Fidler, Torkel Stillefors, Ross Vickers, Bob Jelley and Bruce Hales. The last three are New Zealanders, Ross is an Auckland member and based in Hing Kong at the moment, a very capable sailor. Bob is always a danger and Auckland member Bruce Hales is also very capable and not to be underestimated.
The Super Heavyweight class is also going to be exciting. There is no doubt that Wayne Osborne is in the box seat but he can be beaten. I would predict the most likely sailors capable of coming close or making the top three would be Theo Vondervoort, Terry Helm or Paul Beckett. Theo, a member of the Bay club, is the most likely and the unknown in this competition, he is the reigning champion and that counts in his favour. I have included Paul, Blokart designer and member of the Bay club. Although at times he can be totally unpredictable and make strange decisions, he is also blindingly fast and can be at the front of the field in a flash. Terry is also capable and when he finds his groove the results are impressive. Other possibilities would be Colin Davidson and Ian Timperley, both are New Zealand sailors and very capable.
Thanks to Russell Harray for providing some of the information.
Photo credit Steve Irby.