Flying Panther's Martin Robinson & Nick Williams celebrate their 2015 season triumph
The 2015 SuperStock season will be remembered for a number of things: a typically British summer, often severe sea conditions, welcoming Scarborough on board as a host venue and a thrilling title race.
Like all good thrillers, the P1 championship maintained the suspense until the final chapter, when it was a case of who will do it rather than who dunnit. Going in to the final round of racing on the Dorset coast with a 16 point lead at the top of the SuperStock standings, the Flying Panther crew of Nick Williams and Martin Robinson knew that they had to master not only the testing conditions, with a fierce southerly wind churning up the sea in Bournemouth Bay, but also resist the determined challenge from John Wilson and Daisy Coleman in the Pertemps Network boat.
Everyone knows that when the going gets tough, Wilson gets going. And that’s exactly what he did. Williams and Robinson went into the weekend realising that to finish first, first you need to finish. And that’s exactly what they did. Thrilling stuff right to the final page. It was a case of ‘like father, like son’ as driver Nick Williams emulated his father Tony by becoming a powerboat champion. “Martin and I are battered and bruised and overwhelmed” said an emotional Williams.
Wilson and Coleman could not have done more, winning three of the four races to finish runners-up in the championship. The brutal seas took their toll on the P1 fleet, putting paid to any hopes GD Environmental may have had of successfully defending their UK title. The Welsh duo of James Norvill and Charlie Parsons-Young now focus their efforts on retaining their USA championship crown where they currently lead the series with one round remaining. But Welsh fans had much to cheer as they saw the Visit Wales boat finish third in Bournemouth to lift them to third overall in the table. With his daughter Jade alongside him in the cockpit, driver Vincent Berridge said with a broad smile: “It’s been an up and down season, but it’s ended on a great note. Finishing third in the championship is way beyond our expectations.”
Looking back across the five-venue race series that began in Scarborough in May, P1 chief operating officer Robert Wicks regards the season as being probably the most competitive and demanding in the five years of SuperStock racing. “The teams have had to contend with some hugely challenging conditions at times and the battle for the title was enthralling right through to the final day of the season. Andy Warhol would be delighted that every team had it’s 15 minutes of fame. Our fleet of eleven one-design P1 Panther race boats has entertained around 150,000 spectators this summer, together with television viewers in more than 100 countries.”
Wicks is well advanced in his 2016 planning and will announce the provisional race calendar at the P1 Annual Awards gala dinner in London in November. “We will be returning to some established, favourite venues and adding at least one new name. Partnerships are at the heart of our business model and we recognise the increasing importance of sports events in the travel and tourism industry.”