After securing a fifth-placed finish in E Marine last year, where the duo raced in support of Help for Heroes, a switch to Pickfords for the 2017 season will see the sons of famous powerboat racer Doug Norvall look to mount a challenge for a top three finish.
Before the UK series had even begun, the brothers were preparing for their latest challenge by competing in the first ever SuperStock World Championships in Mumbai. The event welcomed the best Superstock racers from the UK and the US championships and racing on the Mumbai shores produced an industry first with a defined course on the water.
The experience was unique for Lee, and the Southend-on-Sea local admitted that the local climate made things difficult during their time on the sub-continent.
“Mumbai is a fantastic global location and a very interesting place to visit,” he said.
“The heat and time difference took some time to get used to but we had a couple of days before the racing to acclimatise. The temperature would also have an effect on the way the boat performed as the water conditions were slightly different and fuel would react differently to what we are used to in the UK.”
Despite the difficult conditions, the brothers managed to excel while racing for the Money on Mobile Marlins team, who entered two boats into the championships. Competing against some of the most talented crews on the planet, they excelled to finish third on the podium in the team championship and sixth in the world individually.
Lee conceded that their rivals made the event tough but the competition on show is no doubt improving the sport and in the meantime helped him and his brother prepare for the current 2017 campaign.
“It was great to meet the other racers from all over the world and it goes to show how a sport like powerboat racing attracts some genuinely friendly and helpful people. The racing was tough and there were a lot of great racers with years of experience beyond us but as always we gave it 100%. I think the length of the races helped towards our endurance conditioning and the local waters had some surprises for us.”
With Denmark welcoming the P1 Superstock Championship for the first race of the 2017 campaign, the brothers secured fifth in Aalborg, an achievement made even more impressive by the fact that they could only finish eighth in qualifying.
Despite their slow start, Lee was delighted that the duo managed to turn their fortunes around, and admits that they had to take a risky approach in order to push themselves up the leader board and take home as many points as possible.
“Denmark was a great success for us but qualifying was not great. We were down on speed in qualifying even though we were taking a wider approach on the course so not to rip speed off in the corners. After that we knew we had to pull something out of the bag.
“In both of our heats that day we picked up two third-place finishes and narrowly missed out on second. This gave us pole position in the plate final the next day and nothing less than first place would do. Glynn and I chatted about our strategy and the risk of forfeiting the points in the plate for a position in the final. If the boat had a mechanic fault we would have lost our points from the plate and this would heavily set us back in the championships. The gamble paid off and we leaped one space in the leaderboard for a final fifth position.”
Internet businessman Lee is no stranger to the competitive and physical nature of sport. He trained for six years in Muay Thai (Thai boxing) and knows that you have to learn from your mistakes. This is certainly something the brothers will be doing from their Aalborg performance, with an error costing them second place in one of their heats. The mistake may be in the past, but it is certainly something Lee would change now that he reflects back on the race.
Reflecting on their performance, he said: “In our first race (heat two), even though we were on the outside of the fleet, we got a reasonable start and we were soon lining up with Milford and Pertemps. Milford were concentrating on Pertemps on the inside of them and not paying that much attention to us so coming into the top corner.
“We pulled off a little move and switched from the outside to the inside of team Milford and we started to take the lead. A couple of laps later we saw Pertemps take their pit lap and got ahead of them as they re-joined the main circuit. This put us into first place but we had not taken our own pit lap yet. A lap later I called the pit lap when I should have let us run in clean water for as long as possible and taken the pit lap on the white flag.
"While pitting I saw team Milford enter the corner on the main circuit and a tried to push Glynn a bit harder and I think we overcooked it a little. Coming off the pit lap, Milford was half a boat lengths ahead of us and had right of way pushing us to the pin and we had to let off. These mistakes cost us second place but the thing with mistakes is you don’t make them twice.”
Greenock will host the second race of the 2017 calendar this weekend, and you can keep up to date with all of the action on our Facebook page.