Richard Carr in the archives: Powerboat racer escapes death

In the first of a set of four archive pieces from Richard Carr’s powerboat career, we look at an incident which made the front page of the Evening Echo back in August, 1992.

Richard Carr escapes death

Richard Carr was well known for his aggressive racing style during his early years as a powerboat racer, and although it won him many admirers, it almost proved to be his undoing.

As reported on the front page of the Evening Echo on Monday 24 August, 1992, Carr came close to death in a high-speed drama off Poole.

It was during the annual Needles race, which Richard had won the previous year, when his catamaran hit a huge wave, forcing him into a three metre high wall of water, whilst travelling at 75mph.

Saved by his cockpit

A special safety cockpit was the difference between life and death for Carr with a spokesperson saying he would have been in “very grave danger” had it not been fitted.

The submerged engines failed, whilst Carr and co-driver Peter Dredge escaped unharmed, trapped in a water right cockpit. The canopy roof surrounding Carr’s cockpit had only become a standard safety feature two years earlier, following the death of racer Stefano Castraghi.

Hopes of European title dashed

Amid all the drama, Carr’s hopes of winning the European championship race were brought to an abrupt end. Carr and Dredge had built up a commanding lead of a quarter mile over their nearest rival, 25 miles into the 146 mile race.

A victory in front of his home crowd would have seen him become joint leader in the Class One European Power Boat Championships.

Speaking to the Echo, Richard Carr said: “We were in an excellent position, the engine was running beautifully and then suddenly we were under water. I actually thought we were going to sink, water just poured into the boat. The fact we were able to escape really is tribute to the design of the boat.”

About Richard Carr

Richard Carr is one of the UK’s most experienced and successful powerboat racers, who has competed in the sport globally.

He has won numerous domestic and international honours: he became British Class 1 Champion in 1991; he was the winner of the coveted Needles Trophy and he also came second in the Cowes Torquay Cowes race in 1992. It was the year the race was controversially competed in the fog and it has been argued for many years that he actually won the race.

He is known in the sport for his aggressive racing character in rough seas and recently raced in the USA for Geico in 2011.