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Circuit > Powerboat Families
Derek and Mike Stark

The following was supplied by Mike Stark (August 2010).

Derek Stark

Living near Bristol, Derek was a regular spectator at the world-famous Bristol Docks Powerboat Grand Prix in the 1970s and early 1980s. For the 1982 season, however, Derek decided to go racing himself. He bought a Bristol/Mercury monohull and  joined the CMBRC. In his first season Derek competed in club races at various circuits, winning at Fairford in only his second event there.
 
In 1983 Derek fulfilled his ambition of racing at Bristol Docks, competing in the NT1 class, and a few months later he took part in the inaugural London Powerboat Grand Prix at the Royal Victoria Docks. For the 1984 season Derek bought a Blu-Fin/Evinrude monohull, and took part in National events at Chasewater, Holme Pierrepont, Carr Mill and Fairford, as well as once again competing at the Royal Victoria Docks.
 
Derek did not race in 1985, but he made a return the following year but this time sitting alongside his son Mike in their new two-seater Phantom/Mercury VP boat. With Mike driving and Derek in the co-driver/navigator’s seat, they competed in several races together. Unfortunately, in 1987 the boat was destroyed after it caught fire whilst the father and son team were competing in an offshore race near Bournemouth. From then on Derek concentrated on supporting Mike, and for the next 15 years Derek was a stalwart of circuit powerboat racing in the UK and on the continent. 
 
Mike celebrating coming 1st in Class, Rouen 1999
Mike racing Rouen 1999
Mike Stark

Mike’s first race as a driver was in 1986 in the family’s two-seater Phantom/Mercury VP boat at Chasewater. Unfortunately this boat was destroyed by fire in 1987 during an offshore race, and so for the rest of that season Mike switched to circuit club racing in his father’s old Bristol/Mercury monohull. Mike raced this boat again in 1988 and finished runner-up in the Iver-based LMBRC Club Championship. The following year Mike started competing in the T850 National Championship in a Torenvliet/Yamaha, and raced in the famous Bristol Docks Grand Prix for the first time, finishing 4 in the National Monohull event.
 
It was also during 1989 that Mike started racing for DMN-Westinghouse, a team based in Holland and run by Leo van Putten. As a result, the following season Mike started competing in the Dutch T850 series as well as in major UK events, including the 1990 Bristol Docks Grand Prix, the final year that this famous event was held. Mike continued racing in both continental events and selected UK races in 1991, also winning the LMBRC Championship in the same year.
 
In 1992 Mike raced the DMN-Westinghouse team’s new Torenvliet ‘wing’ boat. In this boat Mike achieved his first major victory, at the International Monohull Grand Prix at Lelystad in Holland. Over the next five seasons, Mike achieved  numerous national and international successes in this boat, including;
Winning the T850 class at the UK Powerboat Grand Prix (Holme Pierrepont) in 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1997.
Winning the Monohull Endurance Grand Prix at Rouen (France) in 1994.
Finishing runner-up at the T850 European Cup in Corfu in 1994.
Finishing runner-up at the T850 World Championships in 1995.
Breaking the T850 National Speed Record (72.38mph) at Windermere Records Week in 1996.
 
During this time, Mike continued to race his more conventional Torenvliet/Yamaha monohull in club and endurance events. This included the Windermere Enduro, which he won in 1995 after driving solo for the entire 2 hour event. In 1997 Mike used this enduro boat to compete in the 24 Hours of Rouen for the first time. This race is regarded by many as the toughest powerboat race in the world. Despite suffering engine damage whilst leading, which required a lengthy pit-stop, Mike finished second in the T850 class with his team-mate Chris Tricks. Mike returned to the 24 Hours of Rouen in 1999, this time with Julian Clark sharing the driving, and he went one better by winning the T850 class.
 
Sadly, close friend Trevor Hamilton-Gibbs was killed whilst racing his S850 shortly afterwards, and Mike made the decision to retire from powerboat racing. After making this difficult decision, Mike competed in one more event, a National Championship meeting at Bodymoor Heath, which he won driving a borrowed boat.
 
Since retiring from powerboat racing, Mike has continued to compete in a variety of motorsports, including the strange sport of lawn mower racing. He competes regularly in endurance mower races, including the annual 12 Hour Lawn Mower Grand Prix!
Mike at Bristol, 1990
Fairford 1989. Mike Stark (27) and Richard Wood (40) leave the T850 start line
Iver 1994. Mike and Mark Williams racing in the UK vs Holland International
 
 
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