It was a case of deja vu at the 2009 Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship Final when reigning champions Aaron Lowther, 16, and Steven Curtis, 12, both blasted their way to Championship victory once again at the PSP Southampton Boat Show today (Sunday 13th September).
Having each won their respective titles in the 2008 final, there were high hopes for repeat success in 2009 when they each qualified to represent the Eastern region in the final once again.
Both boys beat off competition from 30 other youngsters from around the country to win their respective classes and clinch the coveted titles once more.
In the 8-12 age group, Steven put in a blistering winning time of 1.07.75, some 5 seconds ahead of the nearest challenger in his age group whilst Aaron in the 13-16 age group raced home with a winning time of 1.04.21. Both skilfully manoeuvred around a tricky and testing course which included a slalom run, 360O reverse around a buoy and a man over board test.
Steven, from Paxton Lakes Sailing Club and Aaron from the Island Yacht Club both win a 4.8m Ribcraft RIB powerboat with a 50hp Honda four stroke engine complete with an Indespension trailer and Icom IC-M505 VHF radio - one complete RIB package for each class. The boys also won a selection of other goodies thanks to the event sponsors which included: a remote control boat courtesy of Honda, £100 vouchers from Ribcraft and £50 vouchers from ICOM, as well as their much deserved winner's trophies.
There were also some fantastic prizes for the runners up; second place (8-12) Fraser McMillan (Scotland), and (13-16) Luke McGill (North East), a previous champion, were presented with remote control plane courtesy of Honda, £75 from Ribcraft. Whilst third place (8-12) Max Peters (Wales) and (13-16) Adam Butt (South West), picked up a remote control helicopter again thanks to Honda and £50 from Ribcraft.
Steven said of his win: "It feels amazing to win again. I wasn't sure of it at all but I did have two really good clear runs especially my second run so thought I had done pretty well. You just don't know how well everyone else has done."
He continued: "Since I won last year and took the RIB back to my club loads more people have been learning to drive it and lots more people have entered the championship and got really good, now there will be even more opportunity for them to drive."
Cheered on by his 80 strong supporters, an emotional Aaron told us: "I am very very surprised to have won as I really didn't do my best lap, my reverse and pick up didn't go that well but luckily I still managed to pull off the win. I am very happy to be taking the win back to Canvey again as this is my last year of being able to compete in the championship."
Handing out the certificates to competitors was local Galaxy FM DJ and keen powerboater Ben Glover, who had a go at the course himself. He commented: "The kids were fantastic and I wish there had been a great completion like this when I was their age. I'm absolutely rubbish at reversing (in a boat that is) so I found the course quite challenging but I got the prize for collecting the most water whilst reversing - so everyone's a winner!"
RYA's Deputy Chairman Tom Blackburn, congratulated every competitor for making it to the finals: "To have qualified for the finals is a great success. Going fast is easy but it's the close quarter handling that is the difficult bit and that's what the championship tests - the skill I witnessed out on the race course was tremendous especially at such a young age." Thanks were given to the individuals who support the kids namely family members, clubs and instructors.
Honda to sponsor the 2010 championship
Steve Morrison, Sales Director for Honda Marine UK, who presented the awards said: "I think it's safe to say that the standard out on the water has been the best ever. All the competitors demonstrated fantastic skill, my congratulations to them all. Each and every competitor should be extremely proud of their achievements. "The championship is a great way for kids to get in to boating in a fun and safe environment, both of which are important values of Honda."
Honda also announced their continued sponsorship of the championship for 2010.
Now in its eighth year the Honda RYA Youth RIB challenge allows youngsters to demonstrate their skills as expert boat handlers and improve their skills in a safe, controlled environment. To ensure safety at all times each child is accompanied in the RIB by a competent adult/instructor. Special thanks go to Championship sponsors Honda, Ribcraft, ICOM and Indespension Trailers.
For more information about the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship, details on how to get involved and a list of results visit www.rya.org.uk/programmes/hondaryayouthrib .