Two young Midlands powerboaters will bid to land their first national crown as they take part in their fourth Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship national final on Sunday (17 September).
Midlands Area champions Aga Czartolomna, 12, and 14-year-old George Baxter will go head-to-head with the other UK Area winners in the 8-12 years and 13-16 years age-groups respectively at the grand final at the Yachtmarket.com Southampton Boat Show.
Aga, who achieved a best ever result of third overall at her third national finals last year, heads to the Southampton as the second fastest qualifier in her age-group having clocked a time of 1:09:69 to win her fourth consecutive Midlands Area title at Staunton Harold SC in Derbyshire in July. She sails and is trained in powerboat driving at South Staffs SC.
Meanwhile George, who narrowly missed out on the podium in finishing fourth on his last national final outing two years ago, competes in the older age-group for the first time and goes in as the fourth fastest qualifier with an Area final winning time of 1:12:53. He sails and is trained in powerboat driving at Girton SC on the Nottinghamshire / Lincolnshire border.
Now in its 16th year, the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship is Britain’s leading programme introducing kids to powerboats and training them to be safe, proficient drivers and excellent boat handlers. RIBs are light, manoeuvrable craft and the boats driven in the Championship can hit speeds of up to 25mph.
With the emphasis on swift, efficient and safe manoeuvring, the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championships final course will involve tricky timed manoeuvres, including a high speed slalom, stop exercise, and a blast to the finish line, to test every aspect of the youngsters’ powerboat driving skills.
Sponsored by Honda and Highfield, the 8-12 age-group champion will win a Honwave T40 RIB with a Honda BF20 engine whilst the 13-16 age group winner will receive a Highfield 460 RIB with a Honda BF50 engine for their clubs.
Benn Freeman, Honda RYA Youth RIB Event Manager, said: "The skill of the competitors who have made it to this year’s national final means we are going to have a close fought battle to see who can become this year’s champion in both age categories.”
Andrew Norton, RYA Powerboat Project Manager and Event Director, added: "Qualifying for the national final of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship is a huge achievement as it not only means these youngsters can drive the RIBs at speed but they can handle them safely under pressure."
Meanwhile, having won the 13-16 years national title for a second time last year, Aga’s older sister Kamila will also be returning to Southampton to go head-to-head with whoever lifts the 2017 trophy in the perpetual Champion of Clubs Trophy showdown. South Staffs won RIBS in both 2014 and 2016 thanks to Kamila's prowess in the competition.
George actually represented his club in this trophy last year too, after his Girton club mate, Max Mawer, had won the 2015 13-16 years national title.
Medals, certificates and other prizes will also be presented to the first, second and third places in each age group. For more information about the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship visit www.rya.org.uk/go/hondayouthrib