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Supernova National Championships - Runners and Riders

by Chris Hawley 29 May 08:47 BST 6-8 July 2018
Alex Horlock at the 2017 Supernova National Championships © Richard Craig /

With just over a month to go until the Supernova National Championships it is time to analyse the fleet and see who might be in the running to take the crown (odds are just for fun!).

The event has already attracted 110 entries, so looks to be one of the largest single handed events in the UK for the third year running demonstrating the strength of the Supernova Class. Entries close on 15 June, so there is still time to get your entry in.

The Supernova Association thanks the event sponsors, Hartley Boats and Allen Brothers for their continued support.

Gold Fleet

Alex Horlock – Odds 6:1
Defending national champion. Lives in the gym and when he isn't there he is praying for wind, wind and even more wind. With the energy of a Duracell bunny, can this guy be beaten in windy wavy stuff? Holder of the best ever result of the Supernova Association in the Endeavour trophy.

Cliff Milliner – Odds 6:1
Previous national champion and current inland champion. Cliff will be at the business end regardless of the conditions. A really natural sailor and always has the ability to step up a gear or two to cut through the fleet. Joint leader in the overall national championships league table.

Mark Hartley – Odds 6:1
Previous national champion and the other joint leader in the overall national championships league table. Mark builds them and certainly knows how to sail them. Has a penchant for a big night in the bar and has been known to sleep in his boat when it's been really "big"! Being 7 foot tall will help if the waves get big.

Mike Gibson - Odds 8:1
Previous national champion and multiple inland champion. Previously known as Mr Consistent, but has recently been posting some inconsistent results. If Mike gets his head in gear has the potential to leave the fleet standing. Best performance usually in the mid-airs.

Tim Hand - Odds 10:1
Tim has an uncanny knack to sneak around the racecourse unnoticed and end up at the front. One of the most determined guys on the racecourse and nicest guys off it – always good for some banter in the bar.

Richard Pakes - Odds 10:1
Richard is a machine – not just on cider drinking - he seems to have an ability not to tire when hiking. Pioneer in the raking rig, you can see Richard's trademark extreme mast rake from the shore.

Sam Knight - Odds 10:1
Who? Sam is new to the Supernova Class, but is the master of jumping in a boat and winning. Sails a RS400 at Bartley, winner of the Steve Nicholson trophy, is there anything this guy is missing? Oh yeah – a boat – anyone got one they can lend him for the weekend....

Gavin Young - Odds 15:1
Affectionately known as the Bridesmaid of the class. Cliff's training partner, but make no mistake this guy doesn't play second fiddle to Cliff. Winner of countless open meetings (and destroyer of glass trophies). Gav is probably the nicest guy on the circuit and always willing to offer help on and off the water.

Mike Critchley - Odds 20:1
Mike's performance this year in his new boat is going down in the history books in Bolton Sailing club (maybe the custom stainless steel gooseneck makes all the difference?). Seems to have found a new gear and a definite contender for the title if the wind stays around F2-3 all weekend.

Steve Hawley - Odds 30:1
Will 8 spin classes a week win you the nationals? No. But it might win you a race or two – it did last year! Even more determined than ever and king of the ridiculous commitment to an outside "bang the corners" approach.

Mark Platt - Odds 30:1
Mark is a GP14 legend and a genuinely excellent sailor. Knows how to get round the course, strong in all conditions and always in the right place at the right time. Borrowing his son's boat, has he had enough time on the water this year?

Peter Mackin - Odds 40:1
Peter is the youngest gold fleet member and winner of the youth fleet last year. Peter has amazing pace on the course and likes it windy. The big question is whether Peter has his mind in "RS300" mode or can switch back to the Supernova.

Andy Flitcroft - Odds 40:1
Andy is one of the Class' original stalwarts – he loves the big breeze and waves. Andy does make the odd mistake though so expect to see the bottom of his boat more than once over the weekend!

Iain Wilson - Odds 50:1
Iain is tough and powerful – upright rig and max power at all times. A top guy who likes a beer or two, which only seems to make him go faster the following morning.

Will Willett - Odds 50:1
One of just two Mark 1's in the gold fleet. Will won the silver fleet last year with some very credible overall results. Another of the "power crew" who isn't usually seen more than a few metres from Iain Wilson.

Tony Critchley - Odds 50:1
Tony is known as the "old guy at the front". Having suffered bad injury for the last few years Tony does struggle when the wind gets up. Very good at reading the wind and virtually impossible to get past on the racecourse.

Matt Williams - Odds 60:1
Matt "suns out guns out" Williams is a king of the first beat. A great starter, probably favours line starts to gates, but sure to be in the top few at the windward mark. Question is whether he will be in the top few at the leeward mark....

Chris Williams - Odds 75:1
The other half of team Williams. The competition is on between Chris and Matt, and although Chris is unlikely to win the event expect at least one moment of glory over the three days!

Chris Hawley - Odds 100:1
"The Chairman" is sporting one of the best looking boats on the circuit – just a few weeks old, the fluorescent orange and black machine is sure to be spotted on the race course. Chris is never going to win the event and if it is more than a force 3 – 4 is likely to be propping up the gold fleet table.

Derrick Jackson - Odds 100:1
Winner of the Scammandon Dam open a few times, his home club. Untested on the sea, where the Mark 1 may not fair quite as well. We look forward to seeing how Derrick will perform.

Richard Lambert - Odds 100:1
Winner of the Bough Beech open a few times, his home club. A solid sailor, and in 2017 popped on a small sail and found his way to the front. Don't write off Richard, a solid performer.

Silver Fleet

This is wide open, but with some excellent sailors in the silver fleet some of the names will definitely be towards the front end of the overall results. Names to watch include:

  • Jon Pebody – previous gold fleet member and this year sporting a shiny new boat – has he worked out the new control lines yet?
  • Garry Butterfield – Bartley fleet captain. Has been having coaching from one of the laser hotshots, very quick in the light airs.
  • Paul Undrell – not sure how this guy isn't in the gold fleet – a quality sailor, particularly in the breeze.
  • Tony Bleasdale – the most "pimped" Mark 1 on the circuit? Staggering pace in light airs partly due to new svelte physique.
  • Ray Workman – he knows the weather, but can he keep his head out of the clouds?
  • Tom Chadfield – One of Blithfield's finest, particularly quick in a blow.
  • Jeremy Higson – Untested in a supernova, but her certainly knows which way to point a laser – definitely one to watch
  • Jonny Everett – Mental this guy isn't in gold fleet. This year with a new boat, he will have a point to prove.
  • Alex Walton – Super fast, but the odd mistake. Has he spent enough time in the boat this year?

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