A Mercury Racing 200 APX competition outboard powered Ben Jelf to the 2022 Circuit Powerboat Association F2 British Championship on Oct. 9 at Stewartby Lake in the Forest Of Marston Vale in Bedfordshire. It marks the first circuit racing title won with low-emissions four-stroke Mercury Racing APX power.
“We sat down at the beginning of the season and took a bit of a gamble on the new Mercury 200 APX engine,” said Jelf. “It's not been raced here in the UK or even Europe so we knew there would be a lot of work to get the best from it. The development is still ongoing but to have secured the British Championship in its first season and for me to get the title in my first F2 season is a fantastic achievement for the whole team.”
The championship marked a successful inaugural F2 British Championship campaign for Jelf, who has previously won 15th British Powerboat Racing Championship titles in other classes. The 22-year-old Jelf began racing at 9 years old with a title in the premier F2 Championship in his sights – and in his DNA. His father, Colin Jelf, is a three-time World Champion in the class, and his uncle Owen Jelf is also competing on the international circuit.
The 3.4-liter Mercury Racing 200 APX outboard was designed to replace the Mercury Racing 200XS OptiMax and older two-stroke V6 outboards and is the first V6 four-stroke competition outboard produced by Mercury Racing. The 200 APX weighs only 30 pounds more than the two-stroke motors, and offers a huge advantage in reduced exhaust emissions, maintenance, and tuning costs.
The Jelf team decided to race the 200 APX and develop the boat and setup for Ben as he embarked on his F2 Racing career. Jelf took first and third place in the first two rounds of the championship to lead the standings heading into the final weekend. Following four races over the course of the weekend, each a fierce battle with Steve Hoult, Jelf finished second at the event but scored enough points to win the season title.