Congrats on a good season. No top three finish for you this year but it seems you have had a successful season on the whole?
Carl: On the whole yes! For us, a podium would have been a great result; however, given that it was Kevin’s rookie year (his first year driving a P1 Panther), and my first year navigating alongside him, it was always going to be a challenge. Strangely enough though, we gelled pretty quickly and our best position of the whole season was actually third place in our second ever race together in Scarborough!
Not bad at all! As you say, this season saw the two of you pair up for the first time and it turned out to be a great partnership. I take it the two of you had similar strategies?
Kevin: At the start of the season we both agreed that we wanted to enjoy the racing, and that is exactly what we did. All decisions were jointly agreed either before the racing began or on the water when conditions changed – it certainly worked well.
So between you, if you could sum up your 2016 season in 3 words, what would they be?
Carl & Kevin: Consistency, Teamwork, Survival – Consistency because we always said that we need to finish each race, no matter what position, to ensure we picked up points; teamwork because without that, it’s not worth turning up – it’s all about working together and trusting each other and survival, we needed to make sure we looked after the boat.
Sounds like a good strategy, especially up against some tough competition and in some rough conditions! What was the biggest challenge Team Typhoo faced this year?
Carl: The biggest challenge was trying to get some practice and testing time (Carl & Kevin are based more than 250miles apart). The distance between our two home towns meant we had a lot of logistics to contend with.
Kevin: There were inevitably a few technical challenges we came up against as well. In Greenock, we ran the whole event with the engine running on only 5 cylinders. Despite our best endeavours to fix it, working until 1.30am on the Sunday morning, the problem still plagued us that weekend but we got the points we needed. It was still a great event and the thousands of people that came to watch on the Saturday was amazing. It was brilliant to interact with the crowds and local sponsors, without whom the racing would not happen. We must have had at least 20 selfies taken by members of the public in Greenock!
Speaking of good times, what were your best moments during the season?
Carl: One thing we are both proud of is the fact that going into the final day of the season at Bournemouth, we were one of only three teams to have completed all of the races throughout the season. Unfortunately, we spoke too soon and that record disappeared after the first race on the final day as our engine mounts snapped and we couldn’t compete in the final race. For Kevin, the best moment has to be at Cardiff when the RYA commissioner for the event commended him on the smooth way in which he was driving.
Kevin, Carl’s right, you had a blinder in Cardiff last year, and it looks to have been your highest scoring race this year, so would it be safe to say it’s your favourite racing venue?
Kevin: Yes, I do like Cardiff! Everything is within walking distance - the hotel, wet pits and the restaurants. With the event coinciding with the Cardiff Harbour Festival over the August Bank Holiday it makes for a very good spectacle for the public. Spectators can get up close to the boats in the pits and when the racing is on it is a great showcase for the promotion of P1 and the sport of powerboating.
Speaking of sports, Kevin, you have an impressive resume as a former Motorcross driver, British club class parakarting champion, and to top it off you also have an excellent London Marathon time! Have you have picked up any skills from these experiences that have helped you in your powerboat racing?
Kevin: My adventures in sport were all previously undertaken solo until my best friend and I entered the world of 4X4 racing. This was the first time I had competed with someone else which gave me an insight into working as a team competitively. This, along with working as a team in the fire service under difficult situations, has given me an excellent background to draw on.
Of course, you’ve been a firefighter for over 40 years, does handling the heat off the water help with dealing with the heat and pressure on the water?
Kevin: You could say I know a bit about water pressure. My job has taught me how to deal with ever- changing situations, calmly and methodically, but until you have experienced that first mark, eleven boats side by side at speed (which is a total rush by the way), nothing in my job comes close.
Carl, you’ve been involved with P1 for a number of years in different ways, and first got on board initially as a sponsor and supporter. How was the transition from supporter/sponsor to racing?
Carl: In fairness, the transition went easier than I expected! After sponsoring Sam Whitaker and Jono Searby in One Hull of a Boat in 2013 and then Dave Taft and Gavin Feldt in Hull Speed Ahead during 2014, I was hooked. Friend and powerboat racer, Arran Scott then encouraged me to complete my RYA Powerboat Level 2 and VHF licence that October. This was then followed up with completing my Race Training a few months later in February 2015 with the hope of competing that season. The training went really well and I completed my first offshore race at Allhallows in April 2015. The first opportunity to compete in the P1 SuperStock series arose in Hull that year. Some rough conditions in the previous round had left the Arthur J. Gallagher boat without a navigator and I was asked if I would step in to accompany driver Mark Moore for the weekend. There was very little hesitation from me…and the rest, as they say, is history!
So what do you feel are the vital ingredients for success in powerboat racing? And what advice would you give to someone looking to get involved in the sport?
Kevin: Preparation, consistency, and driving to the conditions will give you a better chance of not breaking you or the boat. To win you have to finish.
For someone looking to get involved in racing, get some good sponsorship, be prepared for anything and everything and don’t be afraid to ask questions from others that have done it themselves.
Some sound advice, so tell us guys what are your plans for next year? Will we see you back out on the water?
Carl: Our plans for next year are more of the same, with a mission to improve on where we finished this season – a lot will depend on the competition! With all but one race under our belt this season we know we can work together successfully and subject to getting the necessary funding and sponsorship in place we will be back out on the water next season. We have also expressed our interest in being part of the British contingent that will be racing in Mumbai in March next year – we will have to hear whether we get the call up but of course we would love to be part of it!
Yes, India certainly sounds like it is shaping up to be a great event and we will keep our fingers crossed for you guys. So tell us, who do you have on the side-lines wherever you are out there racing?
Kevin: Supporting us at each event are Jane and Aaron (Carl’s long-suffering wife and son) and whenever work permits my wife, Lorna, attends. They are a great support and it was actually Lorna who suggested Carl as a possible team-mate when she and Jane got to know each other at Cardiff last year. We were also fortunate that we also had the support and technical knowhow of fellow racer Mark Moore at some of the events in 2016.
Carl, you mentioned yo ur son Aaron who we all know as a cheeky little chappy on hand to help out at events. He looks the part with his matching gear and knows the race timings back to front. Is he a Team Manager in the making?
Carl: Aaron has been ever-present since my involvement in P1 Superstock and has shown an increasing interest in it. As you say, he has his own team gear and race suit although during the course of the season he seemed to go on a bit of a growth spurt so you may not see him in it next year! I am on the lookout for a new larger outfit at the moment! He studies the Race Instructions and timings very closely and even put Shelley Jory-Leigh right on one occasion recently! I think, given half a chance, rather than Team Manager he would like to follow in my footsteps and actually compete!
Brilliant, a potential racing star in the making! We will keep a look out! One last question for you both to finish off: If you could have a choice of a celebrity to race as your teammate next season, who would you choose and why?
Kevin: Bizarrely, we both said Guy Martin, independently of each other. Why, because he’s an adrenaline junkie and would jump at the challenge and as Guy himself would put it – ‘he’d be up for the crack’!
For more information on Kevin and Carl, you can check out their profile at: http://www.p1superstock.co.uk/Team-info/Typhoo/UK/2016/854
Anyone interested in sponsoring one of the P1 SuperStock race teams or in getting into racing themselves can contact the P1 Head Office on 020 7258 8446.