Summer Walk Report No 15, Zapcat Racing on the Tyne - Sunday 31st August 2014.


Morpeth Camera Clubs 2014 Summer Walks & Visits Programme came to an end on Sunday 31st August with an
outing to the Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside. This was to watch and photograph the third annual NE1 Zapcat
Powerboat Grand Prix that was held throughout the day.
Zapcat Powerboats are fast, lightweight and very manoeuvrable so were well suited to the course laid out on
the River Tyne between the Millennium Bridge and The Swing Bridge. Reaching speeds of over forty five miles
per hour, the tight turns and proximity of the crowd lining both sides of the river added to the adrenalin fuelled
racing for the crew of two on each boat.
Once again we were rewarded with a sunny day and warm sunshine as seven boats competed in each of the
heats leading to the final where the NE1 Zapcat Grand Prix Trophy was the prize.
From a photography point of view both the quaysides and the bridges provided excellent positions from which
to catch the action. Members enjoyed the spectacle with some staying for the day whilst others dropped in to
catch a few races.
As a spectator the attraction of any motorsport is the speed,the thrill of the chase or a mistake made and
powerboating is no different. Several minor bumps and near misses kept the attention whilst boats jostled for
position. One such coming together near the Millennium Bridge, saw a crew member thrown into the river and
the inflatable rib on one of the powerboats punctured, forcing the crew to retire whist in a strong position.
Safety is of the highest standard, with rescue boats crewed by volunteers ranging from paramedics to RNLI
lifeboatmen and with competitors wearing crash helmets, wetsuits and lifejackets, Zapcat racing has an
excellent safety record.
This was a good day out with hundreds of images taken at an event which is a bit different and a worthwhile
experience to improve and practice our photography.
                                                                        Davy Bolam.