Young Worksop powerboat driver, George Baxter, will be hoping it is third time lucky as he bids to complete a hat-trick of national Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship final qualifications at the Championship’s East Midlands’ heats next Saturday (27 June).
George, 12, has won the last two regional titles in the 8-12 age-group and gone on to finish 10th (2013) and eighth (2014) respectively at the national grand final, which always takes place at the Southampton Boat Show every September.
Now in its 14th year, the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship is Britain’s leading programme introducing kids to powerboats and training them to be safe, proficient drivers and excellent boat handlers.
This is the last year that Worksop College Preparatory School’s George will be competing in the younger age-group before he turns 13 in January and moves into the 13-16 years age band for next year’s Championships.
Now, as he once again prepares for the regional finals, which take place on his home waters of Girton Sailing Club near Newark, George has one thing on his mind. “I’d obviously love to get through to the Nationals again and then to be placed higher there,” he said.
“The Nationals take place on the sea at Southampton, whereas the East Midlands final is on a lake. I learned from last year’s national final that driving is very different on the sea. You have to take account of waves and the wind a lot more.”
RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) are light, manoeuvrable craft and the boats driven in the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship can hit speeds of up to 25mph. The youngsters compete in time trials around sets of marks with the driver with the fastest time in each age-group qualifying for the national final. Skills they must show include slalom, stopping, reversing round a mark and a blast to the finish.
The overall national champion in each age-group wins a Honwave T40 RIB with a Honda BF20 engine (8-12 years) or a Highfield 460 RIB with a Honda BF50 engine (13-16 years) for their club.
George will be honing his skills at Girton in the build up to the East Midlands finals, while also hoping to get some sailing practice in in his Topper dinghy. Although too young currently, George is looking forward to putting his driving skills to good use in assisting in providing safety boat cover at Girton SC, to help the club run safe sailing.
Steve Morris, Head of Power Equipment for Honda (UK), added: “We are pleased to continue our long and successful partnership with the RYA in supporting the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship in its 14th year. 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 event.”
For more information about the Honda RYA Youth RIB Championship visit www.rya.org.uk/go/hondayouthrib.