Monday, 11 February 2008 01:48

Second successive hat trick for Shepard

Written by Paul Bedford
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Defending South African F1 Powerboat champion Paul Shepard (Team Dixon Premium Batteries) extended his lead at the top of the championship table when he scored his second successive clean sweep of heat victories in today’s Pace Promotions Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Klip Kopje Dam outside White River. Starting the first heat from pole position Shepard was never headed in any of the heats although both Tim Fetherstonhaugh (Team Remax) and Bruce Repsold (Team Rand Kerbing) were snapping at his heels.

In the first heat Brett Stuart (Team Stuart River Estates) provided the excitement. He spun out at the first turn buoy, losing his cowling in the process. He got going again, albeit at the back of the field and had worked his way up to fifth place before a spectacular barrel-roll brought a premature end to his race. Luckily for him his boat landed the right way up and the rescue crew were able to move his boat into the centre of the course without having to stop the race. At the head of the field Paul Shepard opened up commanding lead over Fetherstonhaugh and Repsold and held it to the end of the heat. Robert Shepard (Team Dixon Premium Batteries) and Elzane de Jager (Team Remax) rounded out the top five.

Brett Stuart, back on the water after his first heat accident, got away to a flyer at the start of the second heat but it was soon Paul Shepard, Repsold and Fetherstonhaugh filling the top three places. Stuart’s motor slowly lost power during the race and he dropped back through the field, eventually finishing sixth. Robert Shepard and de Jager ended fourth and fifth respectively as they did in the first heat.

In between the second and third heats the Stuart River Estates pit was a hive of activity as one of the quickest engine changes this season took place. The efforts were worth it and Stuart made it to the start line in time to take part in the day’s final heat.

Paul Shepard took the lead at the first turn buoy for the third time in the day but there was a battle royal raging behind him. Robert Shepard got a great start and was challenging Repsold for second at the first turn buoy. Repsold had the inside line and Shepard had to be content with third closely followed by Fetherstonhaugh. Fetherstonhaugh got past Robert Shepard on the fourth lap and set off after Repsold who was in turn closing the gap on Paul Shepard at the front of the field. Repsold caught Shepard but clipped a turn buoy while trying to pass him and he was penalized one lap which dropped him down to fifth place in the heat. This allowed Fetherstonhaugh to take second in the heat Behind Paul Shepard with Robert Shepard in third. Stuart ended fourth while de Jager brought her boat home in sixth.

Paul Shepard’s three heat wins gave him a comfortable overall victory. Fetherstonhaugh’s two second place and a third were good enough for second overall with a slightly unlucky Repsold having to settle for third. Robert Shepard, de Jager and Stuart completed the top six for the day.

Last modified on Wednesday, 07 April 2010 21:38
Paul Bedford

Paul Bedford

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