The RYA Powerboat Racing Awards is an annual event, which is designed to give recognition to the season’s outstanding racers, was hosted by team owner, Grant Harrison, alongside Ruth Morse, ex-Commodore of Lancashire Powerboat Club. They were also joined on the night by special guest, Tiff Needell, well known for presenting TV show, Top Gear and more recently, the Discovery Channel’s Fifth Gear.
The ceremony saw the presentation of more than 50 awards. Some of the younger racers to receive accolades included Ben Jelf, Jessica Stoneman and Thomas Mantripp. But there were also some surprise presentations – not least for Kayleigh Priestley, who drove her Phantom 19 at the World Powerboat Championship in Guernsey last year to become the youngest competitor on the circuit. The 16-year old was awarded the RYA Anne Robinson Best Newcomer Award, leaving her as shocked as she was delighted.
It was also a big night for relative veteran, Ben Morse. Having been racing since the extraordinary age of nine (achieving virtually unmatched successes in the process), he was presented with the BJ Noone Award, alongside his RYA PGP F4s British Championship, RYA PGP F4s Spring Championship and RYA British 0850 speed record of 100.05mph.
Jeni Jelf, RYA Powerboat Racing Manager (and herself the matriarch of a family packed with racing pedigree) said: “The Powerboat Racing Awards are extremely important, as they recognise the achievements and hard work that all the teams and crews put into their season”.
As regards the impact kids’ racing is continuing to make (not least in the shape of her multi-championship winning son), she was very upbeat about the future: “Youth racing in becoming even more popular and the standard is phenomenal. It gives a really strong sense of a great future for the sport.”
As well as giving powerboat racers the formal recognition their efforts all too often lack, the evening raised more than £3,000 for The Red Lipstick Foundation – a charity set up to support those who have lost a loved one to suicide.
To find out more about UK powerboat racing, visit the RYA. To see some video action from the awards ceremony itself, see below.