What is the Cowes Torquay Cowes?

A race that Richard Carr believes he was cheated out of back in 1991, the Cowes Torquay Cowes is an annual powerboat race around the Solent.

A 200-mile classic

The Cowes Torquay Cowes has long been recognised as one of powerboat racings toughest challenges. In terms of sporting comparisons, the race has been mentioned in the same breath as Le Mans and the Indy 500.

Normally around 20 boats race between Cowes and Torbay, with the race generally lasting around three hours.

The race, which will be 55 years-old this summer, is the brainchild of newspaper tycoon and World War 2 fighter pilot, Sir Max Aitken.

The first on August 27th took seven hours and 17 minutes to complete and was won by Thunderbolt, a Christina-hull craft driven by the former saloon-car racer Tommy Sopwith.

A race for everyone

During the early years of the race, a variety of famous people competed with arguably the most notable of those being Lord Lucan. The seventh Earl, who notoriously vanished in 1974, made his debut in 1963 and tried in vain to win the race over the following two years.

Over the years, it became established as one of the leading races in Europe and if you hadn’t raced and finished it, then you hadn’t achieved much as a powerboat racer.

1991 race was one to remember

Sponsored by Richard Carr’s company at the time, Allied Leisure, the 1991 race is remembered more for its failings than successes. 23 boats started, but only nine finished with 12 retiring and a further two disqualified for missing marks.

Richard finished the race fifth, but was the beneficiary of the disqualifications and was promoted to second place.

Richard gave his account of the race in an exclusive blog on his site.

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.


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