Richard gets race dream back afloat

PUBLISHED: 14:55 04 August 2006 | UPDATED: 22:02 28 May 2010

1.	Scott Tilley leads the competitors round the Whittlesey course on Saturday. Scott will be hoping to maintain his good form going in to the World Championships

1. Scott Tilley leads the competitors round the Whittlesey course on Saturday. Scott will be hoping to maintain his good form going in to the World Championships

THIEVES may have stolen his chances of retaining his hovercraft racing national title, but Whittlesey s Richard Wiles was back in competition at the weekend. Following the theft of his beloved craft in May, Richard, 30, saw his chances of winning the nati

Scott Tilley - Pic: BRIAN PURDY

THIEVES may have stolen his chances of retaining his hovercraft racing national title, but

Whittlesey's Richard Wiles was back in competition at the weekend.

Following the theft of his beloved craft in May, Richard, 30, saw his chances of winning the national title disappear, but he was determined to return to the sport.

After building a new machine from scratch, reigning Formula S world champion Richard was back to compete in his home race at Bank Farm on Saturday and Sunday and only technical problems denied him an encouraging result.

Competing in the Formula 503 class, Richard began brightly in Saturday's two rounds of races, finishing third and second but a torn skirt on the bottom of his craft forced him to miss Sunday's races.

Richard's mother Beryl Wiles said: "The split in the floor of the craft was leaking water and unfortunately we didn't have time to fix the problem before Sunday.

"Richard did not want to risk further damage so he had to pull out of the competition.

She added: "But it was an encouraging performance, particularly as he was leading the second race before the technical problems forced him back in to second.

"We were aiming for a top five finish from the weekend and he was on course for that."

Being at the controls of a new craft made it difficult for Richard, as Beryl explains: "It was a very strange experience for Richard because the hovercraft felt alien to him.

"I think that there was certainly some anger and frustration for him during the races but he will slowly get to grips with it."

Fellow Whittlesey racer and reigning Formula 3 world champion, Scott Tilley was in good form in the Formula 2 class and finished second in the weekend's final standings after picking up two wins and a second place in the four races.

Scott, 28, has made alterations to his craft and before racing got underway, he felt confident of his chances. He said: "Everything feels good with the craft and I am really confident of getting a good result here and performing well at the World Championships."

Both Scott and Richard will be travelling to the World Championships, which will take place in France in two weeks.

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