Proving that Peters & May have an eye for young powerboat racing talent—and a willingness to support it—Ben Jelf has successfully defended his UIM GT15 European Championship title. The 12-year-old Brit, who is sponsored by the global leader in yacht/powerboat transportation and shipping logistics, also took the title in 2011—as an 11-year-old.
I'm not really sure how I won it," said Jelf, Britain’s youngest-ever powerboat racing world champion after the final heat-race in Tallin, Estonia. "There was some really strong competition out there and I just raced the best I could."
Jelf got off to a rough start on day one with a middle-of-the-pack finish in the 11-boat field. But in the second and final heat of the day, he took first place.
In the next day’s racing, Jelf had the pole position for the first heat. He jumped to an early lead, which he held for three laps, before being passed by Estonia's Paul Zujenkov and ending up third in a photo-finish with Estonian Reio Kasnapuu. In the final heat, Jelf once again got off to a great start and took the lead, a lead he didn’t relinquish, and actually extended, despite a relentless charge from Zujenko.
Jelf’s third- and first-place finishes were enough to earn him the overall championship.
"The support from my family, friends, and sponsors has helped me get here and it wouldn't be possible without them,” he said. “It's been a real team effort.”
Next up for the adolescent powerboat racing phenomenon are the UIM GT15 World Championships in Osthammar, Sweden, starting July 29.
"It was exhilarating to watch Ben push the boat, and the level of competition was phenomenal," said Neil McKeown, a member of the Peters & May marine team. "Ben and his family should be very proud, as we are at Peters & May.”
Related Story: Peters And May Farm Youth Leagues for Powerboat Racing Talent.