Last weekend (6/7 August) saw Maidstone’s Ben Jelf secure his 12th British Championship crown as he claimed the 2016 Powerboat GP RYA British GT30 Sprint Championship. The 16 year old beat some of Britain’s top Powerboat racers to claim his 12th British title in 6 years.
Ben Jelf and the rest of Jelf Racing team headed to Stewartby Powerboat & Hydroplane Racing Club in Bedford for the annual powerboat sprint championship in search of 4 British championship titles.
The focussed youngster headed out with only one job on his mind, claiming his 12th British Title. Each competitor would compete in qualifying and then over three heats to challenge for the Sprint championship. In qualifying Ben set pole position but young female racer Tiegen Goodfellow was hot on his wake with half a second separating the two formidable youngsters.
As the lights went out for the first heat of the weekend Ben got off to a storming start leading the race from start to finish Tiegen piled on the pressure but Jelf remained calm and collected holding his lead to the chequered flag.
With deteriorating conditions expected for the Sunday officials decided to move forward with the competition so the fleet headed out for heat two. Once again as the start lights went out Ben got a fantastic start heading into the first turn with only thing on his mind, getting the job done. As the spray cleared and the boats rounded the buoy Jelf once more had a clear lead with every twist of the course Goodfellow was right with Jelf but he remained poised once more to the chequered flag taking two straight wins.
Sunday’s weather saw officials forced to cancel the final heats racing for all classes but with all fleets having completed two heats on the Saturday the champions could be declared. So with two clean wins Ben claimed his 12th British Championship in a phenomenal achievement for the youngster and his team.
Ben also competed for the F4 Catamaran Sprint Championship, in qualifying he set the second fastest lap time after championship leader Sam Whittle who once more put in a strong performance, but little separated him from Rob Veares in very strong third place.
Two strong third place finishes in the heats saw Ben return to the podium securing Bronze overall in the 2016 Powerboat GP RYA British F4 Sprint Championship.
Also securing silverware for the Jelf Racing team was the team’s youngest racer George Elmore the eleven year old has been improving with every race and this weekend despite some very taxing conditions the youngster showed skill and determination to take the silver medal in the GT15 Sprint championship and his highest finish of his racing career. A flawless performance from Thomas Mantripp saw him secure the junior crown ahead of the Jelf junior.
Junior racer Jonathan Brewer was unfortunately taken ill and forced to retire after the first heat of the weekend as he watched his championship dreams disappear.
F2 Driver Colin Jelf once more suffered engine problems that saw him forced to settle for 6th place and despite all the teams best efforts to resolve the problem the former champion had to watch as his hopes of a back to back Sprint titles slipped away with every turn of the course as once more his adversary Paul Balfour claimed the crown.
Team Manager Colin Jelf spoke of the teams achievements “Ben and George have done us all proud this weekend, conditions were tough out there on Saturday and racing an extra heat adds to the pressure. Ben competed in two classes meaning he had little time to recover in between and also helping the rest of the team in between races, but as always he remained focussed and kept his cool about him. It’s a great achievement for him to have secured his 12th British Championship title this weekend in 6 years of racing and at the age of just 16.”
He continued “George raced really hard this weekend the conditions were tough and there was strong competition out there but he persevered and his hard work paid off. The whole team is extremely proud of both the youngsters and all the teams’ achievements this weekend.”
The team now have 6 weeks off before they compete in the final round of the Powerboat GP RYA British Championships in Stewartby on the 17th & 18th September.