by Don Burgess
If you want some excitement this summer, then look no further than the new local jet ski league.
Jet skiers hope to take part in race days for the first time in a decade in the contest running from May to September – and organisers are promising some spectacular sights at Ferry Reach.
Robert Cardwell, the commodore at the Bermuda Power Boat Association which is organising the competition, said: “We’re expecting as many as 20 racers by the time we kick off, so it’s going to be pretty exciting for spectators to watch them because they come with some really powerful jet skis. They can do 80 to 100 miles per hour.
“Jet skis are just pure excitement.”
Mr Cardwell added that jet skis would be racing inshore, so fans will be able to see the entire race, compared with powerboats, which race both inshore and offshore.
Dakari White is in agreement.
Mr White, who has been instrumental in setting up the jet ski league, has loved the sport since the days his father, Delton, was actively involved.
“The Bermuda Power Boat Association sent an invite out for the jet ski racers,” Mr White said.
“My dad used to race jet skis in Bermuda when was I was younger so I had a background in it.”
Mr White reflected on an amusing memory from when he was aged 7.
“He gave me a ride and me, without having any experience, I just mashed the throttle and left him swimming in the water. I went for a nice little ride for five minutes before I realised he wasn’t with me.”
He fondly remembers the days of going down to Ferry Reach and watching his father competing and hopes to instil that love of the sport in others.
Mr White also has first-hand experience of speed sports of his own, having competed in semi-professional motorcycle racing in the United States.
“The jet ski racing will be more interactive racing, especially since we will be racing inshore,” he said.
“The boats are like you see them, then they go offshore. But with the jet skis we can have events right in front of the spectators and they’ll be able to see everything that is going on.”
Competitors will include former racers, some new to the sport, and at least two women.
Racing will take place in the stock class and modified class. There will also be racing on the Round The Island date in August but, due to time constraints, the jet skis will be running along North Shore to Hamilton to Dockyard then straight across to St George’s.
“We do plan on doing a circumnavigation race, but it just won’t happen on Round The Island,” Mr White said.
Two early rounds of the league were called off due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the Government, but in late April Mr Cardwell remained confident the rest of the schedule would go ahead.
Mr Cardwell said spectators would be allowed to park along Ferry Reach and watch safely from their vehicles under Covid-19 protocols. Powerboat race days will start at 10.30am with the Junior League with jet skis running at noon and 2pm, while powerboats will race at 1pm and 3pm.