Cole McGowan has announced that he has entered the 60th Anniversary Cowes Torquay Cowes, the longest-running offshore powerboat race. McGowan will partner Blastoff Racing’s Dorian Griffith and Jack Weller in Pippa, a Fabio Buzzi-designed boat powered by twin Seatek 750-hp diesel engines.
The team’s primary Cougar R12 hull, Argentum, has been sidelined after suffering a terminal engine failure. A rod shot through one of the two Ilmor engines in testing last week. In the highest act of sportsmanship, Pippa owner Dan Smith graciously made his boat available for Blastoff’s use as there is not ample time to source parts and complete necessary repairs to the Cougar.
The Cowes Classic is a 220 mile offshore endurance powerboat race which sees teams start the race in The Solent between the Isle of Wight and Southampton, through Christchurch Bay and Poole Bay before reaching Torquay Bay where teams turn to make the journey back.
Following a second place overall in the 2016 Cowes Torquay Cowes and a consistent presence since, Blastoff Racing returns this year uniquely energized and ambitious in its crusade for a win.
“I am looking forward to the Cowes race as it is the pinnacle of the international racing season, as it is a proper offshore adventure with man and machine against the elements and just to finish the race is a feat in itself,” Griffith says. “The race means a lot to me as my late father used to compete with my mother in a souped up cruiser in the late 1960’s so it has become part of my life and it is the race I really want to do well in with my best finishing position of 2nd overall in the toughest race ever held in 2016, to do one better in the podium would mean everything to me and my family. Having Cole from America on board will be brilliant as we can experience his excitement and emotions as he tackles this prestigious race for the first time.”
“Cowes is a special race to me personally, and to all of us in this sport,” adds team manager Shelley Jory-Leigh. “The purpose of offshore racing is to be offshore. While most races have moved to shorter courses and protected waters, Cowes stands out as one of the last real offshore races. As a team, we’re all very excited about this year’s competition. Having known and worked with Cole for nearly ten years observing his enthusiasm and seriousness for the sport, I believe he is prepared for whatever this race throws his way.”
Taking part in this historic and illustrious competition is particularly exciting, McGowan says. “As I have found my way through this sport, Cowes stood out to me very early on as a challenge I wanted to undertake. This race is one of the last which reflect the true spirit of the sport of offshore racing which is what made it so attractive to me. I’m eminently grateful to Shelley Jory-Leigh and Dorian Griffith for making this possible so early in my career. Likewise, I owe thanks to my partners for supporting me in this endeavor. To be the only American racer this year in Class 1 and one of relatively few over history, and among the youngest ever adds to the significance of this opportunity.”
Founded by Dorian Griffith, Blastoff Racing established a Marathon Class C record at 83.49 mph on Lake Coniston in late 2015 and then achieved a second place overall in the 2016 Cowes Torquay Cowes.
Jory–Leigh is a British Powerboat Champion, World Record holder, BBC and Sky Sports presenter, and motivational speaker. McGowan is a marketing and PR professional in the powerboat and sportscar racing industries, working most notably with the Miss GEICO racing team. He has completed several tests in offshore race boats, sharing cockpits with the likes of Steve Curtis and Billy Moore.