by Emma Slater
UIM European GT15 Championship 2011 was held at Lake Viljandi in Estonia between 15th and 17th July 2011.
Ben Jelf - GT15 European Championships 2011
Eleven year old Ben Jelf from Maidstone, Kent has done it again clinching the title of GT15 European Champion at the inaugural UIM European GT15 Championship.
The British youngster who was crowned UIM 2011 World GT15 Champion at his home club of Stewartby in June, making him one of Britain’s youngest ever world powerboat racing champions, knew that the competition in Estonia would be fierce as the top boats in Europe came to challenge for the title.
Competitors from Sweden and Estonia joined the Brit to lay claim to the title in the GT15 European Championship in which the best three results from the four heat event would count.
With qualifying out of the way Ben had his sights firmly on the top spot, as he took pole position with a 1.12 second lead on his closest rival Matthias Agur of Estonia.
By the end of the first days racing Ben was in a strong position in the championship taking two first places in the heats despite being overtaken in the second heat by Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast and having to battle hard to reclaim his lead and take the win.
As Sunday dawned it was back to business where one more win would see Ben dominate the competition and take the European Title.
As the third heat got underway Ben got a fantastic start and took the lead which he held to the finish, securing the win and with it the European Title.
Despite already securing the championship Ben decided to take to the water for the final heat and took a clean sweep of wins just to confirm the title. Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast took the silver European medal with Estonia’s Matthias Agur taking the Bronze to complete the Podium.
On securing his first European title Ben commented: 'I’m really happy to have won the European title, I knew I was in with a chance after winning the World championship, but there’s some strong competitors in Europe so I knew it wouldn’t be easy, I’d have to race hard and we’d be pushing each other all the way.'
Proud Mum Jeni commented 'Everybody in the family and team are really proud of Ben winning the 2011 European Championship. He raced really well as did all the competitors'
She continued 'There’s always a bit of pressure on him to do well and follow in his father’s footsteps but Ben isn’t fazed by this at all he just goes out and races to the best of his ability. His Dad and I have told him that the most important thing is that he enjoys himself whilst racing and if he makes a mistake we can learn from it, and if he wins that’s great!'
To find out more about how you can get involved in Powerboat Racing visit the RYA website