Portsmouth racer vows to power on with new Venture

Peter Dredge, right
Peter Dredge, right
  • Dredge family rocked by huge crash in May
  • But Portsmouth star will not be putting brakes on
  • Venture Cup the big goal in June
  • David Gandy and Brune Senna to join team
Have your say

It is almost seven months since Portsmouth powerboating world champion Peter Dredge had his world turned upside down when his teenage son suffered life-threatening injuries after their speedboat crashed in the Solent.

And while the Dredge family will be extra thankful this festive period after Simon made a full recovery, 53-year-old Peter insists the experience has not changed his approach to the high-octane sport.

Had the boat been an open boat we would have probably all died.

Peter Dredge

With over 30 years of competitive racing experience, Peter Dredge was certainly no stranger to the dangers of the sport.

However, those perils were brought into sharp focus in May when the £1m Vector powerboat the Dredge duo and two others were travelling in struck a buoy and crashed on the River Hamble, near Swanwick.

Simon Dredge was the worst affected. He was taken to hospital in a critical condition before spending a month in an induced coma.

Thankfully he made a full recovery over the course of the summer, even acting as flag bearer for the start of September’s Cowes Torquay Powerboat Race, which his father won.

And while it remains to be seen whether the teenager will return to the boat in the future, his father – who recently confirmed his Vector Martini team will take place in next June’s Venture Cup race around the coast of Ireland – insists the current safety protocols leave his confidence in the sport intact.

Peter Dredge, who was born in Portsmouth but now lives in Warsash, said: ‘It did hit a nerve.

‘But what made me happier was the fact that although the injuries were terrible, you can understand why they were and why they wouldn’t be relevant and wouldn’t happen in normal circumstances.

‘I also knew all the work I’d done at the Royal Yachting Association during that transition period from open boats to closed boats had made the sport so much safer.

‘Had the boat been an open boat we would have probably all died.

‘I don’t like the word freak accident but it really was a bunch of circumstances which were completely inconsequential.

‘I tried to avoid something in the water which I thought were a couple of dive buoys, we took evasive action which ended up rolling the boat.

‘Simon is fine now. He started at university a couple of months back and he’s fine.

‘I think he’d like to go back in the boat but his mother is somewhat less pleased with that. I’m sure in time.

‘I’d happily take him out again. Both my kids used to come out a lot. They are very good boaters, they’ve been boating all their life.’

Peter Dredge is technical director of Vector Martini Racing and he has already started to focus on June’s Venture Cup – the toughest powerboat race in the world.

And he may be joined in the boat by a couple of famous faces – with model-turned-racer David Gandy and Bruno Senna, the nephew of Formula One legend Ayrton, being trained up.

He said: ‘We’re very lucky that we’ve got interest from a number of very high profile people in Vector Martini Racing.

‘David Gandy is going through our training process at the moment. He raced for us in August.

‘Bruno Senna is another guy we’re training up and we may have one or two of them in the boat during the race.

‘My perception of a model was somebody who might be worried about silly things but David’s jumped straight in and got involved with us.

‘They are up for it, I want to see them in there. It will also help raise the profile of the sport.

‘I think the exciting thing with the Venture Cup is it’s a different format of racing, it’s not ultimately the fastest boat.

‘It’s a marathon of several days, so it’s going to be even more about preparing yourself to run day after day which is a different mentality to just having a race which is over one day.’

For more details on Vector Martini Racing, visit vectormartiniracing.com