Powerboat Racing champions honoured at RYA Gala awards ceremony

Powerboating champions from across the UK came together over the weekend (Saturday 6 February) for the annual RYA National Powerboat Racing Awards Ceremony.

50 of the UK's best powerboat racers claim prizes at ceremony

50 of the UK's best powerboat racers claim prizes at ceremony

Held at the prestigious De Vere Royal Bath hotel in Bournemouth, 50 of the UK’s best racers, starting from just age 12, from the disciplines of Jet sport, Offshore and Circuit racing claimed their awards, recognising their achievements throughout the 2009 season in front of some 150 friends, family and supporters.

The evening was hosted by one of the United Kingdom’s leading powerboat racers and the first female British champion in her field, Shelley Jory Leigh who was part of the first all female team to win a Powerboat P1 SuperSport Grand Prix, in Istanbul last year and the RYA’s Powerboat Racing manager John Puddifoot, who himself claimed the 2009 National Sprint SL250 Champion award during the evenings proceedings.

John and Shelley were joined on stage by little known powerboat racer, but world renowned sailor and the first man to sail single handed around the world, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston CBE, who presented the evenings awards.

“I’m delighted to be here this evening celebrating the success of our powerboat racing champions. It’s great to see so many youngsters here collecting their awards and any event that celebrates the success of people out on the water is absolutely fantastic.

“The boats are extremely sexy, but clearly these guys are all mad!” commented Sir Robin, who competed in the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes race with Shelley in 2009, of which he said: “I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I don’t think I’ll be doing it again!”

Alongside the annual awards a number of special awards were presented including the Offshore sponsors award that went to Scorpion RIBs, the BJ Noone award presented to a youth racer who has demonstrated extraordinary achievements through the season, presented to Scott Curtis 2009 F4 World Champion and the Tony Needell Award which recognises services to the sport, which went to Cliff Watts from the circuit discipline.

Amongst the winners and one of the few female winners on the evening was Anya Colley who claimed the 2009 World Jet Sport Expert Ski Limited & Amateur Ski Open Champion, she said of the evening: “This is my third year at the awards and I think they are wonderful and really well done. It’s a great opportunity for everyone to celebrate what they’ve achieved and have their moment in the spotlight.

“Not many people know about jet-sport so it’s a great opportunity for the other disciplines to hear what we’ve been doing and for us to hear about all the other sports and what they’ve achieved.”

The awards are hosted each year by the RYA in recognition of the UK’s Powerboat Racers achievements, John Puddifoot, RYA Powerboat Racing manager explained: “Year after year the UK’s powerboat racers excel both nationally and internationally doing their country proud and we hold our awards to celebrate these successes. It is also the one opportunity that our champions from every discipline get the chance to get together.”

Once more it has been a fantastic year for Powerboat Racing in the UK during 2009. Some 900 people took to the water and there have been 51 national championships decided, 9 World Championships secured; with 2 New World Records and 11 National Records set.

The UK also played host to its first ever Junior JT250 European championship along with the final round of the OSY400 European championships, a busy year indeed.

Special thanks to Denis Swann for sponsoring the evenings’ drinks reception and to Rotary Watches for donating a selection of watches for a special ‘International Recognition Award’.

To find out more about how you can get involved with any of the power racing disciplines visit the RYA website www.rya.org.uk or call the RYA Powerboat Racing team on 0845 345 0378