Two Nottinghamshire boys will go head-to-head with the country’s best young powerboat drivers when they compete at the national final of the 2018 Honda RYA Youth RIB Championships this Sunday (16 September).

Mansfield's Edward Ryder, 10, and 15-year-old George Baxter, from Newark, travel to the Southampton Boat Show for the national showdown after claiming victory in the 8-12 years and 13-16 year categories respectively at the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championships Midlands Area Finals hosted at Staunton Harold Sailing Club, Derbyshire in June.

Now in its 17th year, the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship is Britain’s leading programme introducing kids to powerboats and training them to be safe, proficient drivers. With the emphasis on swift, efficient and safe boat handling, competitors take part in timed runs, tackling tricky manoeuvres, including a high-speed slalom, stop exercise, 360 reverse around a buoy and a blast to the finish, to test all aspects of their driving skills.

Girton Sailing Club's George heads to his fifth national finals with the second fastest qualifying time overall, his heat lap of 1:00:12 just two seconds off the quickest qualifier and 2016 national 8-12 years champion, Jamie Paterson from Scotland.

Meanwhile, having made his Honda RYA Youth RIB debut at this year's Area Finals, Edward, representing Welbeck Sailing Club, goes to his first nationals as the fifth fastest qualifier in his 12-strong age-group.

The age-group winners of all 12 Area Finals will battle it out for the overall Championship crowns, with the national 8-12 years champion winning a Honwave T40 RIB with a Honda BF20 engine for their club / organisation, and the winner of the 13-16 age group claiming a Highfield 460 RIB with a Honda BF50 engine.

RIBs are light, manoeuvrable craft and the boats driven in the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship can hit speeds of up to 25mph.

Steff Evans, Honda RYA RIB Youth Championship National 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 national champion in both age categories.”

Andrew Norton, RYA Powerboat Project Manager and Event Director continued: “Qualifying for the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship national final 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.”

Steve Morris, Head of Power Equipment for Honda (UK), added: “Honda and our boat partner, Highfield, are delighted to support the RYA in its endeavours to motivate and encourage young people to develop their skills and to promote safe and responsible racing through this unique and exciting championship.”

For more details about the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship visit www.rya.org.uk/go/hondayouthrib or like our Facebook page at Honda RYA Youth RIB.