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Who’s who in tethered hydroplanes

Norman........... John DeMott....................

John is currently Midland secretary of the tethered hydroplane section of the MPBA. Former A Class record holder.

How did you start in Hydro’s?
After going to Naul’s Mill Park regattas in Coventry in the 50’s and reading all information, which in those days was in the Model Engineer magazine.

What made you choose the classes you are competing in?
Home built engines were required for A, B and C Classes

What engines do you run?
Own design and build 10, 15, 30cc

Hulls, built to your own design, or based on someone else’s plan?
Own design

Which win has given you the most satisfaction?
France 2000, 133mph with 10cc own built engine, which I believe is the highest speed for own built engine.
Also holding the 30cc world record at 123.73mph for 8 years from 1991.

Current ambition?
To survive, and help others in this great hobby

What do you consider to be the most crucial element in getting a boat to run quickly?
Good preparation, plenty of testing and NEVER give in.

Is there any boat from the past you would have liked to have seen run?
George Lines', Big Sparky

Immensely powerful 30cc motor The only homebuilt motor run in A3 George Lines with 'Big Sparky'


 

Who’s who in tethered hydroplanes

Jim Free

In 2000 Jim set the British B1 record at 154.91mph. Holds Super Novice record at 111.30mph, Novice record at 107.97mph, B1R record at 121.32mph. Now holds the new B1Sport Class record at 126.01mph.

How did you start in Hydro’s?
The first model that I built when I was 9 was an Airfix, Spitfire, it was later in life that I started to build and fly control line models. I joined the Blackheath MPBC in 1964 and started my model boating interest (obsession) with a series of straight running craft powered by both IC and electric motors. I also dabbled in the early days of fast electrics.I started to get serious about hydro's in the late 60's early 70's.

What made you choose the B1 class(airscrew) to compete in?
I was inspired to start building airscrew hydro's after reading about Mike Drinkwater's efforts in this country, and reading in Model Boats Mag the reports of the high speed obtained by the B1 class craft in international competition.
I was only producing very mediocre speeds at first until I met the then French Champion Jean Marie Piednoir at St. Albans in 1978 who helped me push my speeds from the high 90's to speeds of over 100mph. I then met Hratcha Shahazizian in 1985 at the world champs in Holland, and then Alexander Tupekin in 1987 in the world champs in East Germany, both these guys were getting speeds of over 160+ mph when all around were doing 130-140mph. It was with their help with engine set up and prop technology that I set a new british record of just over 143mph in 1988

What engines do you run?
It used to be Rossi but when they stopped production I started to use Irvine in the open class B1, and MDS 15 in the B1R class

Hulls, built to your own design, or based on someone else’s plan?
I look at other designs and try and incorporate them into my own plans.

Which win has given you the most satisfaction?
1988 in Welwyn Garden City, all I heard was the time 7.2 sec, then I realised that I had got the British record at 143 mph.

Do you have an engineering background?
Yes, I took an apprenticeship with Henry Sykes, makers of water pumps and attended College at Woolwich, worked for Sykes from 63 to 81, then Head Lab Tech at Thames Poly for four years.

Most crucial element in getting a boat to go fast
Only make one alteration at a time, and careful attention to detail.

Is there any boat you would liked to have raced?
Bluebird, but failing that one of Ken Hyder's, Slipper series of hydro's, the last one being beautifully shaped, chrome yellow in colour and powered by a McCoy 60 engine
 

Straight running Jim the photographer Jim and Sue at Payre  Jim's Snapdragon with Slipper


 

Who’s who in tethered hydroplanes


Norman Lara


Norman is currently Chairman of the tethered hydroplane section of the MPBA. Holder of the A3 Class record at a speed of 141.07mph set in 2014.

Norman's achievements over the years include Gold Medal in A3 and Silver Medal in A2 at European Championships 2008. Double silver medallist at the 2013 World Championships. Silver medal in A3 at the 2014 European Championships. In July 2014 Norman broke his long standing A3 record at 141.07mph, becoming the first run at over 140mph in this country, which set a new outright hydroplane record. A very active member of the Victoria Club.

How did you start in Hydro’s?
Been racing since I was ten, my whole family used to be involved in the hydro scene. Every Sunday, Len my father would take mum, my sister and me on the bus to the Victoria Club, loaded down with gear. Father participated in all the classes, mum in 5cc and 10, while sister ran a 5.

Norman's father worked for Chubbs and it was a family joke that he was a 'professional safe breaker' as he used to be employed to open the safes for people who had lost their keys.

What made you choose the A3 class to compete in? (C restricted is now A3)
So I could compete against Terry Everitt.

What engines do you run?
OPS and Picco

Hulls, built to your own design, or based on someone else’s plan?
Built to my own design

Which win has given you the most satisfaction?
Winning the silver medal in 1993 at the World Championships in Poland.

Do you have an engineering background?
Yes, did an apprenticeship in mechanical and electrical engineering with Robert Rigby. After that I then ran a dry cleaning company.
(Robert Rigby, manufacturers and suppliers of film, video and audio equipment)
 


 

Who’s who in tethered hydroplanes.

Stuart Robinson

Stuart is well known in both the tether car and hydro world, having been involved in all layers of both disciplines. He has held World and British records, was secretary of the Hydro Section of MPBA, Vice President of Naviga, and President of the MPBA. Stuart currently works as the British International Secretary, and also as an International judge, a position that has taken him to Europe, the Eastern Block and China.  He attended every meeting from 1967 to 2017 either as a competitor or a judge.

How did you start in Hydro’s?
It all started with my dad taking the family to Eaton Bray.  Real interest in the modelling started when I was 11 and bought a Nordec. Bedford ME Soc arranged a coach trip to Victoria Park Lake, which was the first time I saw hydros. Visited St Albans and spent about 18 months going round all the regattas. Dick Phillips sold me his home built C class boat and engine named ‘Foz’. The challenge was to get it to go quicker than Dick had. Spent a lot of time hunting for a McCoy 60 engine, found one eventually in Graingers in Walsall, cost me £12.10 shillings. Arthur Wall joined the same time as I did and it was a battle between us to see who could beat the 100mph mark. Managed a 98mph in Germany with a Super Tigre and then three weeks later at Woburn I clocked the 100 but Arthur had beaten me a few weeks before. He was the first to reach 100 mph.

What made you choose the A3 class to compete in? (C restricted is now A3)
Regard it as the Formula 1 of racing. Also raced A2, put up a £5 reward for first to 100mph, which I then won.

What engines did you run?
McCoy, Picco, OS Max, Super Tigre, and Rossi

Hulls, built to your own design, or based on someone else’s plan?
My own design and build, the Russians have influenced me however. As far as I am aware I was the first to put a wing on the back of a waterscrew boat in this country. You can shape the hull using the same principles found in car design.
I also introduced the Bulgarian bungee launching system to this country. 

Which win has given you the most satisfaction?
1978/79 the British Record I won at St Albans with the OPS at 128mph. Set the world record at 128mph in Bulgaria a week before, but they wouldn’t allow it to stand as “the powers that be” in Naviga said that the necessary judges were not in attendance when the record was set.

Do you have an engineering background?
At school I won the Allen prize for Engineering Drawing 5 times and built a “special” sports car when I was still at school. Father ran a garage, so I worked there, then joined the Army, came out and took over the garage business and went full size car racing with small sports cars and Formula Junior, so I’ve always been involved with engines.

What do you consider to be the most crucial element in getting a boat to run quickly?
Preparation is everything, having the right props and engine play a part of course.  I make my own props, Prop Shop use one of my designs.

Is there any boat from the past you would have liked to have raced?
Faro’ the very size of it thundering around was quite spectacular.
 

Ken Williams 'Faro' 1935 Hydroplane racer Car racer Chief Judge