Ken McCrorie - Fast On Water 2017

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Ken McCrorie

Circuit > Driver Profiles (UK)
The following was written by Ken McCrorie and given to Fast On Water on 20.02.17

Ken McCrorie Racing Career

I started racing Junior Class at LMBRC around 1974 and won a British Championship.
This all came about because when I was around 7 years of age we moved to a house in between Ascot & Bracknell, and after few months I met Andrew Elliott. At this time Andrew wasn’t racing but later on both his parents started to race powerboats at the LMBRC Club. Around 13 or 14 years of age, Andrew started to race in junior class and after a year or so Andrew’s parents persuaded my parents to buy me a junior boat. Another factor was the help we received from Jackie Wilson.

At this time Jackie was a Mercury dealer and he sold us a brand new 10hp Mercury. The set up was very simple and within a matter of weeks I was racing at Iver. So my racing career is very much related to the help and support I had from the Elliott family, my parents and Jackie Wilson.

My friendship with Andrew has lasted for over 50 years. After racing junior we both moved to senior racing. Without a doubt Andrew had some very special talents which made him a multiple champion. To this day I would say Andrew is still my best mate.

I spent time working st a race mechanic with Peter Faithfull in the late 1970’s early 80s’s in SE and I started to go to OMC Brugge, with Peter after he purchased the new OMC Engine FT-19s, which was developed to compete with the Mercury 650xs. I was also part of the Jetchem team as a mechanic.

This was the Duchess of York Trophy (solid silver very expensive! I think I won this twice). On my left is Ian Andrews who crewed for me over a couple of seasons on my right is Roy Allen, who raced SD but then stopped racing and crewed for me over a number of years. Really good guy who had lots of good boat handling experience.
With Murray Walker, Boat Show presentation of the 1982 National NSE Champion Trophy
To my right, Paul Hopkins who was a friend (work colleague from BMW) who came with me for a season acting as race crew. Next to him is Nick Doody and Liam Rice and Paul Blackburn on the far left
I then started racing in Formul4 in 1984 and won the British Championship that year, sponsored by Peter Zivvy. I continued in F4 winning the Championship in 1987 driving for Yamaha under Tony Hall. I had a fantastic F4 Burgess Boat and a very good engine, but when we went to World Championship level, we were totally off the pace. Much of the Scandinavian drivers had done some very clever modifications to their engines – no more to be said on this topic !

Another career highlight was winning the Formula 4 class at the Paris 6 hour race, teamed with Andrew Elliot. We drove a very small F4 boat powered by a 60hp Yamaha. We won the index of performance and was only a few laps behind the F1 boats. The French wanted to disqualify us because they felt the boat was not long enough! But it was.

I had a big break in 1990, when I raced the first enclosed cockpit F3 Burgess Boat at Nottingham, finishing in the top ten and sponsored by OMC.

In 1990, I made my first trip to South Africa, racing F1, under the Lindenberg team. I drove in South Africa on 3 more occasions in F1. A lovely place to race and great people. Each year I would always meet up with Craig Baily from Australia who also raced F1.

Back in the UK (1991) I teamed up with Danny Bertels to race World F3, sponsored by Valvoline. I won in Nottingham and finished 3rd in the World Championship. After beating Danny in Nottingham, it was clear my future as his team mate was limited!

I then teamed up with Guido Bolendrine and continued in world F3 – not a good season but still managed to finish in the top ten. I raced with Guido for 2 seasons.

Following this I moved to Chambers & Cook, racing with Paul Blackburn. Again I was now with a team which looked and felt very professional. Paul was that little bit quicker but he had good money behind him to invest in new propellers and engine development. We had around 5 years together before Paul moved to F1. During my time in F3 I also acted as the drivers representative which involved attending many UIM meetings but I managed to make some changes in F3 which helped all drivers.

I continued racing with Chambers & Cook before moving to race with Jamey Stallard. This was a very good partnership, Jamey had just moved into F3 and between us we proved to be very professional and attracted some more sponsorship. I continued with Jamey / JDS Racing until I retired.

In 1998 I won the F3 World Championship – What can I say, this was the best moment in my racing career wining that World Championship. I had been so close in the past but this was the year.

In between racing F4 & F3 I drove in Rouen for Yamaha, OMC and Mercury. I was drafted into these teams to race with French drivers. Never really had much luck racing in Rouen, boats breaking, engine failures or French Drivers barrel rolling within half a lap of starting the race! This was really annoying as Mercury had put a lot of effort into this team. Another early trip back home!

I retired from racing in 2001, just as F3 was starting to finish due to lack of investment into more race venues and the lack of engine’s etc.

In closing, powerboat racing has and always will be a big part of my life. I managed to race all over the world and meet many people on the way, some of whom have become very close friends. I also had to experience some very dark times seeing fellow drivers losing their lives; the hardest one for me being Mick Chick. I will never forget that day, it was so awful. The previous weeks he had raced in Bristol, then he lost his life in a club race. This just proved to me racing at all levels can and still is dangerous but we all knew the risks we took.

For me another part of racing was to be very presentable to my sponsors etc, I always prided myself on the approach I took in always having a boat presented in the best possible way and the way my crew looked in ensuring we always where dressed in a very smart and professional manner. A lot of this way of thinking came from my career with BMW. I still believe a number of drivers would think I had huge amount of sponsorship which was totally not true, I had to watch every penny I spent and most years I would use my own money to support my racing.

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