Sunday, July 23, 2006

Honda speedboats

The power and the glory........

I was rudely awakened from my sleep at 03.20 yesterday morning by an almighty thunderstorm which was right overhead, the noise and the lightning strikes were enough to ensure that I could not get back to sleep. I was due to start work at the Corner Shop at 06.00 and felt quite tired for most of the morning, however, I was secure in the knowledge that I would be getting away by 13.00 to get myself down to the Sandhaven Beach in South Shields with my camera to bring my readers pictures of another top event taking place for free.

The Honda Formula 4-stroke powerboat championship was in town for two races, the second round in the national championship this year. The whole Honda circus was encamped in the Water's Edge car park near Trow Rocks, where the action promised to be fasr and furious. Unfortunately on my arrival there with Junior Curly, a dense mist was lingering over the water, making visibility for the thousands of spectators qhite difficult, yet a few hundred yards inland there was no mist at all! The event had attracted visitors from all over the U.K. so many, in fact, that the "Dragon" on the Bents Park was used as an emergency overflow car park.

The powerboats were racing over a circuit marked out with huge bright yellow buoys placed on the sea, and they were followed by helicopters carrying camera crews for newspaper and television, it had all of the theatre of Formula 1 motor racing! In the "paddock" was the Honda engined Formula 1 car with a fantastic computer generated simulator which attracted great queues of young men and women waiting to sit in the car and drive a couple of laps on the simulator, there was another simulator attached to the Honda s2000 sports coupe, great fun. There were also lots of static displays from official Honda dealerships showing the latest cars, motorbykes and scooters, boats and engines, and also lawnmowers! The lucky VIPs had a great hospitality marquee where they could enjoy cordon bleu food and fine wines, complete with giant screens to watch the racing.

Junior got real lucky, one of the Honda dealers had his car parked outside, an Aston Martin DB9 and he hasked Junior if he would like to sit in the leather upholstered driving seat, lucky young man! The sound of the engine purring like a great cat was intoxicating. It's probably the first time that I've evr seen an Aston Martin in this town and it managed to retain an interested crown of onlookers.

Curly was almost as lucky, got to chat with a couple of "Pit Babes" who's job was to hand out brochures and programmes for the afternoon!

Here are a few pictures, click on the thumbnails to enlarge.

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