by Emma Slater
The British RYA Circuit Powerboat Championships 2012 first round was held over the Bank Holiday weekend, 6th and 7th May, in Oulton Board. GT15 reigning World Champion Ben Jelf (11, Maidstone) off to a flying start.
Ben Jelf takes the lead at Oulton Broad - British RYA Circuit Powerboat Championships 2012
Recent testing sessions had not been going to plan for the youngster but Ben and the rest of the Jelf Racing team were determined to put the pre-season gremlins behind them. With the announcement of a new major sponsor for Ben in the form of leading World Logistic Company Peters & May Racing the young racer was ready to get back on track.
The youngster showed skills beyond his years as he focussed on the job ahead of him and secured the fastest qualifying time with a 53 second lap, seconds faster than his closest rival in the six boat fleet.
With qualifying out of the way the heats got underway and Ben got his season off to a flying start taking the lead from the start and holding off the competition to take the first chequered flag of the season.
Continuing his fine form Ben went on to secure two more heat wins and with it secures the first championship win of the 2012 season. Second place went to Lancashire’s Tiegen Goodfellow with Oulton Broad’s Thomas Mantripp completing the podium line up.
Ben Jelf with TV Presenter Tiff Needell - British RYA Circuit Powerboat Championships 2012
The youngsters were awarded their Trophies by TV presenter Tiff Needell in front of the crowds of hundreds that lined the banks of Oulton Broad on the Bank Holiday Monday.
The Championship now sees the teams head to Carr Mill Dam in St Helen’s at the end of the month as Round Two gets underway on Saturday 2nd June.
Commenting on his first win of the year Ben offered praise to his fellow competitors 'Everyone raced really well this weekend and it looks like it will be a very exciting season with lots of tough races throughout the year. We’d been having problems with the engine in pre-season testing but I’ve got a great team and sponsors behind me helping every step of the way.'
He continued 'When I’m racing it’s all about me, my boat and the race ahead, but there’s a lot of people helping me achieve my goals and for that I’m very grateful; I’d like to thank My Dad, the rest of my family, my sponsors, Peters & May Racing, BS Marinesport, Tohatsu UK and RaceBatteries.co.uk as well as all the officials and safety crews that look after us whilst we’re racing.'