St Helens StarPowerboat racers head to National Final in Southampton (From St Helens Star)

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Powerboat racers head to National Final in Southampton

St Helens Star: Jordan Muckles in action Jordan Muckles in action

Two young North West youngsters, one a powerboating ace, the other a newcomer, will take on the UK’s best young RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) driving talent when they compete at the National Final of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship, to be held at the PSP Southampton Boat Show on Sunday 16 September 2012.

After a summer of regional finals across the UK, this year’s national final is gearing up to be a real nail biter and the 2012 Championship has already seen some very close finishes. Youngsters will compete in two age categories; 8-12 years, and 13-16 years with a total of 29 competitors.

Jordan Muckles, age 16 from Lancashire Powerboat Racing Club, in St Helens is stepping up to the challenge. After putting in an impressive performance in the regional finals, Jordan certainly does look like the one to watch and he is no stranger to winning this competition after already winning this national event in 2007 when he was a total rookie driver in the class. He now races a GP 30 Powerboat and lies in third place in the RYA National Powerboat GP Championship In 2007 Jordan took to the sport like seasoned pro and stunned onlookers, officials, fellow competitors and spectators alike with his precision driving and boat handling skills. He fought off tough challenges and stiff competition from the most experienced drivers to win the prestigious National title.

When asked about his chances of winning in Southampton, Jordan said: "I am feeling confident about getting back out on the water in a RIB boat. I have not had chance for any more practice in this type of boat, so this does give my competitors an advantage. But I have had lots of water-time in my GT30 powerboat so although it is a completely different type of boat, I am hopeful that this training has given me the boat handling expertise that I need. I feel like I am at the top of my game and up for the challenge. I want to win the event and I will be going all-out to do so.

Jess Pulford, age 12 from West Kirkby Sailing Club who attends Birkenhead School on the Wirral is representing the region in the younger 8-12 year category.

Jess said:”I am feeling a bit anxious now the final is approaching but I am also really looking forward to it. I have been out practicing a couple of times and I have decreased my time by a minute and a half which is really good and will hopefully put me in a strong position to win. All of my family like the boat show so it'll be a great attraction that we will get to be enjoy while I am competing there. I am hoping to get out one more time before the final and hopefully trim some more valuable seconds off my time. I will also be cheering Jordan on too!”

The final will see 29 regional champions from across the UK race against the clock and put their RIB driving skill, cntrol and speed to the test around the championship course to secure the prestigious title – 2012 Honda RYA Youth RIB National Champion. The course will involve tricky timed manoeuvres, including a high speed slalom, a stop exercise and a blast to the finish line, to test every aspect of the youngsters’ powerboat driving skills.

Now in its 11th year, finalists will be battling it out on the water in the hope of winning a fantastic prize. In the 8-12 age group the championship winner will receive a Honwave T40 RIB with a Honda BF20 engine for their club, whilst in the 13-16 age group the winner will receive, again for their club, a 4.8m Ribcraft RIB with a Honda BF60 engine.

Andrew Norton, RYA Motor Cruising Projects Manager and Event Director said: “This year’s competition has seen exceptional talent take to the water and we are expecting to see some fierce competition and some very exciting races in the national final”

“The youngsters who participate are the future of sailing clubs and the Honda RYA Youth RIB championship is a fantastic way for them to gain invaluable boat handling and safety skills which are an asset to any sailing club”.

The 2012 Honda RYA Youth RIB Champions will be named at the winner’s presentation held on the Sea Theatre Live Stage at approximately 17.20pm.

The Honda RYA Youth Rib Championship, sponsored by Honda and Ribcraft, is a National Championship in which 8-16 year old RIB (Rigid Inflatable Boat) drivers can demonstrate their boat handling skills in a race against the clock in the hope of winning a 4.8m Ribcraft or Honwave T40 for their club.

David Hodgkinson, Marketing Communications Manager for event sponsor Honda said: “Honda strives to be "a company that society wants to exist", and so as a major manufacturer of engines and inflatables we are delighted to be sponsoring the 11th year of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship. Inspiring and encouraging young people to discover and pursue a passion for boating, is as important as giving them the skills to do so in a safe and responsible way. We are proud together with the RYA to be doing both through this unique competition”.

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