Eleven year old Ben Jelf of Maidstone, Kent earlier this year declared Britain’s youngest ever World and European Powerboat Racing Champion. On the 3st1 October – 4th November Ben went a step further by becoming Britain’s youngest World Powerboat Speed Record holder at the 41st annual Coniston Powerboat Records Week held in Cumbria.
Ben also managed to raise over £2000 for the Everyman Cancer Campaign at the same time.
Coniston Powerboat Records Week was action packed - 191 record attempts were made by 41 competitors. Records were set and broken some 46 times, resulting in six World and 16 National records being submitted for approval to the UIM and RYA, the governing bodies of powerboat racing.
By Thursday, Ben, who already has a string of titles to his name that most powerboat racers only dream of including, one World, one European and four RYA British titles to his name in just three years of racing, had set a new British RYA GT15 record and was inching closer to the World Record.
Having waited for the optimum conditions for his boat and style of driving, which presented themselves on Thursday morning, Ben took to the water for the first run of the day.
Jelf Racing Team waited anxiously as the results came in knowing the boat was capable of the speed from an earlier one way run in the week! With fingers crossed the Officer of the Day announced Ben Jelf as the new GT15 World and British speed record holder at 42.92mph.
However, after discussions amongst the team Ben felt he could still get some more speed and wanted another go to break his new title. So in a fantastic finale the eleven year old powerboating ace was once more back out on the water and managed to improve on his world record time in the GT15 class to 43.11mph.
Ben told us: 'I feel really overwhelmed at the moment. At one point I was going to give up but I just kept on trying. I’m still really shocked with what I’ve achieved.
'It takes lots of concentration when you’re speeding along but it makes me really excited too. I’m so happy with what I’ve achieved today and I would like to thank my Mum and Dad and the whole of Team Jelf for their support. I’d also like to thank everybody that donated money to my charity campaign.'
Ben also established a new British record for the S250 Class at 31.92mph.
Ben like his dad Colin and Uncle Owen followed into powerboat racing after his Grandfather Ted who began racing in 1966. With both of Ben’s grandfathers suffering from prostate cancer he decided to use his record attempt to raise money and awareness for the Everyman Cancer Campaign. The frequency of male cancer is rising rapidly, one man dies every hour from prostate cancer in the UK and testicular cancer is now the most common cancer in men between the ages of 15-44 which could affect over 56% of RYA Powerboat racers.
With online donations, a swear jar amongst racers at Coniston and a donations bucket by his side as he kept up with his school work during the week Ben successfully raised well over £2000 for the charity. That works out at approximately £46 per mile per hour!