The fifth running of the Watergate Bay Sprint near Newquay once again brought motorsport into the heart of Cornwall as the action-packed closed-road speed event witnessed a thrilling two days of racing last weekend [16/17 September].
Around one hundred cars and competitors descended on the region from across the UK to tackle the 850-metre course which used the B3276 coast road between Newquay and Padstow.
Organised by a partnership between Truro and District Motor Club, Newquay Auto Club, Plymouth Motor Club and Camel Vale Motor Club, the flagship event provided thousands of spectators who flocked to the venue with an exciting weekend of thrills, spills, and fast-paced motor racing with the spectacular backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
After starting life as a Hillclimb in 2018, it transitioned into a Sprint format in 2021 and continues to be one of only a handful of closed-road speed events in the UK. Its unique format attracts some of the fastest drivers in the country to the challenging course, all eager to beat the class records or secure the coveted Fastest Time of the Day award.
A huge array of machinery from standard road cars to classic racers and the Ralli 22 Group B rally cars from the past entertained a bumper crowd of spectators who flocked to the venue over the weekend, enjoying an impressive view of the course, range of displays, trade stands and access to the drivers and cars in the paddock.
The fight for the quickest time of the opening day would see the honour head to South Wales as Mike Rudge stormed to a time of 26.15 seconds during his second run in what was perfect conditions. The Force SR8 driver was uncatchable in the dry, although his final attempt of the day would see him spin off the track, but his previous run was enough to take the trophy.
With the weather closing in on Sunday, it offered the chance for the tin-top machinery to bid for the accolade, and the second day would see the highly regarded speed event break new ground.
Watergate Bay Sprint introduced several new initiatives for 2023, which saw the introduction of a new all-electric vehicle class, one of only a handful of events to do so since their inclusion in active motorsport in the UK.
And that move would prove fruitful, as Sunday’s fastest time of 28.40 seconds would come from John Chambers in his Tesla Model 3 Performance, an all-electric vehicle, the first time the event’s top honour would go to an EV. It’s also understood to be the first time an electric vehicle would take that honour on a closed-road Sprint event in the country.
Once again, local charities will benefit from the weekend, with profits being donated to the vital work of Cornwall Air Ambulance. Since 2018, Watergate Bay Motorsport has secured over £30,000 to worthy causes and organisers will announce this year’s addition to that total shortly.
“Once again Watergate Bay Sprint has continued to push the boundaries of what can be done in motorsport and we are delighted to have run yet another successful weekend of sport for Cornwall and in fact, the UK” said Event Director Dave Brenton.
“Putting on an event like this is a mammoth undertaking but it makes it all worthwhile when you see the crowds watching the action out on track and enjoying getting up close to a fantastic array of cars. There really isn’t another event quite like Watergate Bay Sprint and the feedback we have had has been extremely positive.
“Introducing a range of new environmentally positive measures has been an important part of the event’s development so seeing an electric vehicle take the fastest time of the day on Sunday is a true testament to the hard work of the team to enable them to compete. We have had support from many people including the sport’s governing body Motorsport UK and its Chairman, David Richards CBE, and it’s an exciting time for the next generation of motorsport vehicles”.
“I’d also like to extend our thanks to all the sponsors, local supporters and backers that have made the event possible once again and we are already looking at how to make 2024 bigger and better than ever.”
Images courtesy of Doom Media