Started racing: 1961
Retired from racing: 1986
Vice Chairman of the RYA Sportboat Committee late 70s and early 80s
The following piece was supplied by Brian -
Brian Grimshaw started racing in 1961 and his first racing boat, Little Gem, was a Derry powered by a 50 Mercury competing in class ET. The photo below was taken in 1962.
Brian had soon got the racing bug and in 1964, he approached Chris Tremlett to build him an XT racer. Chris was becoming well known at the time for building hot moulded ski boats that were both light and strong. The boat called Jackie G, named after Brian's daughter, was initially raced 2 up in the then XT class but this was then raced in 1965 as an XU class with just one driver on board. This boat was placed in the top 3 finishers in 8 of the 1965 National races including the Havoline Trophy and the British Class Championships. The photo below shows a Tremlett XU fitted with a Merc 100.
In 1966 Chris Tremlett decided to build a small deep Vee boat and Brian was approached by the then Electrolux Penta Company to race their 600cc Penta engine in the Paris 6 Hour race competing in class DU. In those days there were about 85 boats racing and the barges still ploughed through the course! This made the water quite rough and although he finished a respectable 3rd in class the engine finished the race being tied together with lengths of rope as the rubber mounts were shot and the engine had nearly shaken itself to bits.
1966 was also the year that Chris Tremlett and Brian decided to try their hand at Class 111 Offshore racing where Brian was to prepare and fit the engine, in this case a 100 hp Mercury, and Chris was to supply the boat. Probably the top Class 111 race at the time was the Putney Calais. In those days you actually had to know a bit about chart reading and compass work as there was no GPS to get you home if you got lost. That season brought quite a bit of silverware to both Chris and Brian
In 1967 Brian returned to Circuit Racing and that year teamed up with Ben Brown to race a Shakespeare powered by a 50 Mercury in the Paris 6 Hour race to finish 3rd in their class.
Earlier in the season Brian was approached by John Robertshaw to race with him in the Cowes Torquay race. The boat was a Tremlett powered by two of the latest Aston Martin DB6 engines. One of the distinctive features of this boat was that it must have had the loudest exhaust noise of any boat in the race, it was deafening. All was going well until the boat reached Berry Head, off Torquay, where it seized up due to gear box failure and that was that.
An engineer by profession, Brian was always keen on the design and preparation of two stroke outboard motors and so it was in 1973 that he teamed up with Tony Hall and George Higgins to try to produce a UK built OE 850cc engine called the Hallmark. This project was short lived as it was impossible to compete with the large budgets of the major Outboard manufacturers.
1973 was also the year that Brian started writing his Outboard Clinic column for the Powerboat and Waterskiing magazine.
In the early 70s Brian got together with Grant Morton of Birmingham Powerboats to produce a competitive SE racing catamaran. Again Brian was to produce the engine and Grant the boat. Brian had now switched to the 70 hp Johnson for power. Grant’s Barracuda cat was soon to become the way to go in the SE class. This very successful association with Grant Morton and later Bob Nelson lasted well into the 80s.
The SE class was given an extra boost in 1975 when Johnson brought out the 75 Stinger outboard. It was in 1975 that Bob Glenn, the MD of EP Barrus, the importers of Johnson outboards, together with Charlie Sheppard persuaded the BBC to broadcast live on BBC Grandstand circuit racing from the CMBRC course at Fairford. Brian took third place with his Barracuda Johnson.
During the late 70s a Battle Royal was developing between the two big manufactures of Outboard motors, Mercury and OMC and major sponsors were being attracted into sponsoring ON and OZ racing. With this in mind Brian wanted to sell the idea of sponsorship for the smaller classes and the best way to sell the idea was as a team package. Spectators were thrilled by the high speeds of the ON and OZ classes (Formula One) but equally they also enjoyed much closer racing in the smaller NE and NF monohull classes as these racers did their best to keep their boats on the water at venues such as the Bristol Docks races.
With this in mind Brian approached Powerboat Publicity Services run by Philipa and Stephan Neil-
Photo of the Jetcem Team 1979
(The photo is from L to R Stuart Williams, Mick Chick, Will Taylor, Andrew Elliott, Tony Humphries (Sales Director Jetcem), Brian Grimshaw and Nick Mawby)
The Jetcem team made quite an impact in their first year providing the Sponsor with a high visual impact at each race and providing sustenance to all the drivers from the smaller classes which were being dispensed from the Jetcem caravan. The team won the National NF Championship with Stuart Williams and The SE Championship with Nick Mawby and Brian coming in as runner up.
In 1980 the team was joined by Peter Faithfull as both he and Nick Mawby wanted to race abroad more.
The Jetcem sponsorship certainly injected a lot of interest in the smaller classes and continued until 1982 when Purimachos decided to explore other forms of promotion.
In 1983 Brian re-
Brian retired from active involvement in Racing in 1986.
Above: Brian the engineer and Brian the racer.
Below: Brian racing the Barracuda SE. Taken around 1971.
Above: Brian racing at Bristol, 1979.
Below: Fairford 1979. Runner-
Above: Bruce Babbington racing for the Jetcem Team at Fairford, 1983.