Andy Elliot - Fast On Water 2017

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Andy Elliot

Circuit > Hall of Fame
Started racing: 1969
Retired: ?
 
1969,'70,'71 and '72 - British Junior Champion.
1980 - Runner-up T2 World Championship, Bristol.
1981 - Winner British Monohull Championships, T2.
1982 - National Champion, T2; World Champion, T2; Winner British Grand Prix, F4.
1983 - World Sprint Champion, T1; British Champion, T2; Wold Sprint Champion, T2; 2nd in European Championship, T2; runer-up in F4 National Championship; European Champion, F4; World Champion, F4; winner Paris six hours, F4.
1984 - F3 World Champion; 4th overall in F3 National Championships.
1985 - Winner of T1 and T2 National Series; 2nd in T1 European Championship; 3rd in T1 World Championship; 7th overall in F3 World Series; 4th paris six hours, F3.
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Andy with mum, and dad, surrounded by his Junior Class trophies.
Bristol 1981, Andy (80) leads the pack.
Andy at Bristol, 1983.
Bristol 1985, Andy (104) at the Cumberland Basin turn.
Bristol 1979.
Bristol 1981.
Nottingham 1981.
The following article is compiled from those that appeared in Powerboat 84 and Powerboat 85 Yearbooks.
 
Andy Elliot started racing when he was 12, when his parents, two previous powerboat racers, gave him a boat for Christmas. Andy was British Junior Champion for the next four years. He also achieved the junior speed record at fourteen – ‘a  daring thirty miles per hour,’ he recalls. He had to retire at sixteen, as he couldn’t afford the step up into the seniors.
 
A draughtsman by trade, Andy scraped and saved until, at twenty-one, he could afford to try again. ‘I bought an old Bristol boat and a Mercury engine for about £500 and did a year of club meetings plus the occasional national. That was good  fun but at the first meeting of the following year I blew the engine up.’ Andy couldn’t afford to replace the engine so he spent the season watching from the sidelines. The following year he was approached by Brian Grimshaw, Johnson dealer and former driver. Grimshaw was organising a team sponsored by Jetcem and he offered Andy a ride.
 
‘I had to supply a motor and propeller which I couldn’t afford but there was no way I was going to turn down an offer like that. I obtained a loan from my company. I think Brian would now admit he was a little doubtful of my potential. I had relatively little experience and he had never seen me race. My early positions didn’t boost his confidence much either. I was getting fourteenth, fifteenth, even eighteenth places. The Suzuki team was winning everything at that time. Our best Johnson driver was Mick Chick and he was mostly taking thirds.’
 
Grimshaw’s persistent hopes for Elliot in the 750 cc powered monohull class began to pay off. Unfortunately his triumph was short-lived as he blew his engine the following year and yet again could not afford to replace it. Nevertheless, the points he had earned in early season still got him third place in the British Championship, behind two Suzuki drivers. Young Andy had certainly begun to show his potential and the new Yamaha team in 1981 considered him the man to beat. Little did they know that Jetcem had withdrawn their sponsorship and that he didn’t even have an engine. ‘I wasn’t even considered for the team because they thought I would be racing the new Johnson 60 HP. I would have been if I could have afforded it! I started off the year as mechanic to Billy Field, who had been my mechanic for the last two years. That really made me feel bad – here was my mechanic going racing when I couldn’t afford to! Anyway, we turned up at the first meeting, at Fairford,  and no one could understand what I was doing. Where was my boat? They all asked me.’
 
‘But at the next club meeting at Iver, they realised I wasn’t joking and Phil Duggan, one of the Yamaha team, persuaded Bill Brown and Gavin Shaw from Yamaha to offer me a ride in their spare boat. I used that until I nose-dived it about  five races later and smashed in the decking. I asked Yamaha if I could use their engine on my boat, and I got four firsts, eleven seconds and one third.’ Elliot had established his reputation as a winner but he knew that monohull racing wouldn't attract a large sponsor and his dream of becoming a professional driver was still a long way off.
 
He was beginning to beat Mick Chick in 1982 but a week after the famous Bristol event, Chick, one of Andy’s closest friends as well as team-mate and competitor, was killed in a club race. The close competition they had had was not replaced. The only real contention for Andy’s first places was from Clive Chapman, but only once during the remaining twelve races did the 20 year-old Chapman take the leading position from Elliot. ‘We had some great battles,’ said Andy, ‘he was quicker than me but his boat was very light and temperamental. He would get away faster than me at the start, but I’d always catch him in the end.’ Clive never returned to racing after the death of his father, Colin Chapman.
 
With the help of Phil Duggan, Andy won sponsorship from Bobcat to compete in Formula 4. ‘I bought a boat, got an engine off Yamaha and came eleventh in my first race. I came fifth in the next two and won the British Grand Prix, an international event with a strong field of Danish entrants. Nobody believed it but they can’t have been more surprised than I was! I was so used to driving a monohull without any power trim that I hardly used the trim buttons – when I did it was usually the wrong way!’ Andy won one more Formula 4 race in 1982 before the four-year-old kes-cat needed major repairs.
 
Andy started 1983 without a sponsor. One of the highlights of the season was the Rolatruc Grand Prix at Bristol, where Andy won all four of the classes he entered. ‘I won’t do it again but it was an experience I shall never forget and perhaps it got me noticed!’
 
Dave Burgess, designer and builder of Roger Jenkins’ World Championship winning Formula 1 rig, was itching to build an extremely light and fast Formula 4 cat for Andy to race at the European Championships at Chasewater. But there was no sponsorship so Andy had to tell Burgess to hold fire. He continued to notch up results in his old Kes-cat, until Peter Zivy of Kazed Doors and the instigator of Saint Racing offered to buy the Burgess for Elliott. With his new rig Andy went on, not only to win the European Championships at Chasewater, but the next seven Grands prix in a row, including the world Championships at Hobro, Denmark. The end of the season brought Elliott his biggest coup. First, he took his boat to Paris and along with his team-mate, Ken McCrorie, lasted out the entire six hours without a problem from the Yamaha engine. They beat all Formula 3 boats and came fourth overall. And to finish the season on a high note, Andy borrowed a T1 monohull and engine from Bristol boats and in his first T1 ride of the season, went out and beat all competitors to win the World Sprint Championships.
 
Elliot raced in Formula 3 in 1984 and ‘85
 
The following is taken from the F1 H2O website.
 
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 2nd of June, 2009 - The long sorting out of a number two driver to defending World Champion Jay Price on the 2008 Team Championship winning Qatar Team has been settled as outstanding English veteran Andy Elliott will link up with the driver whom he has known for over 20 years as they head off for the next round of the 2009 U.I.M
 
Unfortunately Andy crashed in practice for the 2009 St. Petersburg Grand Prix.
 
While the Qatar Team were enjoying their number one driver's success they also were hoping for the quick recovery of their second driver Andy Elliott who crashed heavily in this mornings practice and was in hospital recovering from injuries sustained in his massive flip down on the north end of the circuit as he was preparing for his 137th career F1 start for the two time former winner. St. Petersburg, Russia – Saturday, August 8, 2009.
 
Andy returned the following season along side Price but after a problematic season he was replaced at the Qatar Team.
 
 
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