For a driver that hasn’t raced a boat fitted with an outboard engine since 2011, Ivan Brigada showed that he certainly hasn’t lost any of his boat handling flair when he took the UIM F2 European Championship title with one heat to spare.
Much to the delight of the huge crowds gathered around the lakeside, all enjoying the warm autumnal sunshine, Brigada set about his hunt for the title with renewed vigour after the BaBa team had spent the night fine tuning the balance of their latest creation.
During heat one he felt that they had chosen the wrong propeller, so for the early morning free practice they changed it to a smaller one which totally transformed the boat. “We knew that using a smaller prop would cost us top end speed” said Brigada “but on this short course it’s all about acceleration.” It was a move that would soon pay dividends because he comfortably took heat two though it would take a restart to complete the race. As the seventeen drivers headed for the demarcation buoy Owen Jelf and Erik Edin both made superb starts and shot off into the lead. It would prove to be short lived though as they both hit the wash of one of the local ferries and took off. “We just didn’t see it soon enough” said Jelf “it must have been one maybe two metres high, for both of us to crash out it must have been huge.” Although the damage to Jelf’s BaBa hull was superficial the team didn’t have the right spare parts so Jelf’s weekend was over. Edin was slightly more fortunate as his damage Molgaard was repaired.
As the remaining drivers lined up for the heat two restart, their number had dropped, as both Stahl and Temper had returned to the pits with minor damage. Once again Brigada took the lead and he was quickly followed by David Del Pin. Pierre Lundin, the heat one winner, had struggled to get off the line. “The engine just didn’t start” said the Swede. “Afterwards we checked the Efi box and it was ok, so we are still looking to find the problem.” To his relief he still managed to finish third but stood no chance of catching the two Italians in front of him.
Heat three would produce the same result, so it would all come down to the fourth and final one. Once again the drivers were held on the start pontoon as the officials were now very wary of the wash being created by the passing local traffic, something they had no control over. As the red start lights went out Tomas Cermak suddenly found himself in the lead much too the delight of the local I-Boat sponsors. Try as he might he was unable to hold off Lundin and Del Pin, so opted for a safe third place. Also taking the safety first route was Brigada. “The team had told me that I had done enough to take the title before the heat had started but I wanted to go out there to show some respect to my fellow competitors and to the race organiser. I took the cautious approach at the start as I knew the water was rough and I didn’t want to break the boat.”
Safely ashore he then watched as Lundin took the honours and along with it enough points for second place in the championship. “After the first heat today I thought the best I could get would be third place, so even though I’m a little bit disappointed with the way the weekend has gone I know it could have been worse” said Lundin. “I’m happy for both Brigada and Massimo Roggerio, they put all their cards on the table at this event and it paid off for them.” Roggiero said that it was the best weekend he had had in the last few years, “I’m was more than happy that we took pole position yesterday, as that was a true test of what this boat is capable of, so for Brigada to win the European Championship is just amazing.”
Third overall went to an equally delighted David Del Pin. “Yesterday morning I looked at this course and said it was impossible to drive” he said. “Then after the first time trial I got my head in gear and told myself that there was nothing I could do to change the course and that I should just get out there and race it.” It obviously did the trick as the young Italian driver out drove his more experienced F2 competitors and took the third step on the podium. “I must thank my brother Antony, who along with Pectro, are my race mechanics, plus thanks to my father who is on the radio and of course to my mother, who is the boss.”
With Brigada now finding his motivation once again to race F2 the question remains will he be back in the BaBa hull. “I had an agreement with them to race just this weekend. If they want me back for the race in Milan in a couple of weeks, they have my phone number.”