Powerboating to bronze

by Stephen Findlater

MALAHIDE native Colin Gaffney produced a first for Irish powerboating as he was part of the first team to claim a world championship medal last weekend, taking home bronze at Pentewan Sands and Watergate Bay in Cornwall at the UIM P750 World Championships.

Over 10 days P750 Powerboat racing, teams from around the globe competed at the highest international level, the UIM World Championships.

Within this elite grouping was a group containing members of Buccaneer Powerboat Racing Club and Irish Offshore Powerboat Racing Club. Driver Gaffney, co-pilot Lee Casey and mechanic Sean Dillon, all veterans of previous UIM European and World Championships, decided to pool their talents under the Banner of Team Air 21, supported by The GYM (Rathgar) for the elite event.

They competed in three different events, the first of which was a gruelling 120km race along the south coast of Cornwall.

Team 21 suffered an early setback and scored no points in this event, making the quest for medals that bit harder.

They bounced back in the surf competition, feeling they had the edge due to their training at Lahinch, serving them well over four races in high and windy surf.

They found out that Team South Africa also liked the surf. Team 21 had to settle for second, a result that improved their standing significantly going into the circuit race where the medal winners would be decided.

Team 21 worked long hours into the night as they damaged their engine on the previous day’s practice session. With the prospect of four races and the loss of the long-haul points, they knew they had to pull out something special.

The team decided on a strategy that would see man and machine pushed to the limit. It was a strategy that paid off as they won the circuit event which placed them ahead of the German team in the overall points, giving Team 21 overall bronze.

Speaking after the event, Gaffney said: “It’s been an amazing 10 days of racing; we have put blood, sweat and tears into every heat, every event, every practice day and we followed this up with long evening maintaining both man and machine.

“During the event, we never let our passion determination and teamwork falter and to achieve a win on the circuit event and a second on the surf event against the best competitors in the world just goes to show what a few guys with determination and teamwork can achieve.

“We are very proud to have represented Ireland on the world stage and to bring back UIM World Championship Medals in the P750 Modified Class is an honor and a privilege for all of us.”

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