A SPLASH of colour coupled with a healthy dose of enthusiasm ensured Bournemouth gave the P1 SuperStock Powerboat series a sun-kissed start – on and off the water.
As the crowd jostled for the best vantage point at the end of Bournemouth Pier, the eye-catching new Team Bournemouth vessel, marshalled by husband-and-wife team Stuart and Sara Cureton, fought hard for a place on the podium.
Having secured third spot in Saturday’s opener, things took a turn for the worse when the striking fluorescent orange and yellow boat found itself second-from-last halfway through the second race.
But the Lindford-based spouses, who enjoyed a touch-and-go tussle with Lycamobile Racing’s Arran Scott and Christian Schreiber throughout, dragged their way up to fifth spot to remain in contention.
In the third and final showdown, Team Bournemouth ran imperious triple-race winners IFX Racing closer than anyone had all weekend to mark a memorable debut in the P1 Panther 250 Class.
“We were very positive about the event but it was a step into the unknown as to how we were going to do,” said Stuart Cureton.
“We have raced together for a long time and knew we could perform but it was a case of getting used to the new boat. It was different but worked really well.
“It was quicker, bigger and more powerful. It doesn’t accept mistakes well and whenever you make one it really punishes you.
“You’ll probably make 500 mistakes and 20 big ones and if you can get that down to 100 and five big ones, you might actually win. We lost second place on the first day because I made a very big error on a corner and ran really wide.
“To get on the podium was phenomenal, I would have been happy with top five so it was a great start to the series.”
And with locals buoyed by distinctive sights and high-pitched sounds of the boats roaring along at 70 mph, he added that the town’s support had made the achievement extra special.
“Everybody waved every time we went past the pier, we knew some of them but most were complete strangers out there just to support us,” said Cureton.
“When the trailer drove through the town everybody was honking their horns, it was brilliant.”
Navigator of the winning IFX boat, Martin Robinson, 42, admitted Team Bournemouth could have snatched success with an extra lap in the final showdown.
“It was quite choppy out there in the final race, we had problems with our radios in the last two so managed to devise a series of hand signals which saw us through,” added 34-year-old IFX driver Nick Williams.
The event, which included AquaX racing across a host of classes, will be followed by further showdowns in Hull, Cardiff, Torquay and Gosport.