Following on from his European gold medal Ben Jelf this weekend (27/28 July) secured the silver medal at the UIM World GT15 Championships.
The twelve year old from Maidstone Kent travelled to Osthammar in Sweden to take part in the UIM World Championship competition. The only representative from Great Britain, Ben was one of twenty teams that contested the title with representation also from, Sweden, Norway and Estonia.
The reigning European Champion was faced with having to qualify to even be able to try to defend his 2011 World title. In some of the worst conditions he’s had to race in Ben set out with the task in hand to qualify for the World Championships.
Ben’s fastest lap time in qualifying saw him sat in thirteenthin a very close field with less than three seconds separating the top fifteen boats, but Ben had qualified and so now the proceedings moved on to the racing.
In the first of four heats of the Championship Ben sat ninth on the start grid. As the start lights went out Ben got off to a flying start making up four places straight away to sit in fifth in the pack and over the course of the race he out manoeuvred another two of the racers to finish the race in 3rd place.
The second heat saw Ben in second place behind Sweden’s Morgan Jernfast when a boat flipped causing the race to be restarted. Ben got caught in wash from the other boats on the restart and struggled to get away but managed to make up some ground to finish in fourth.
Into heat three and Ben got another flying start and was in second place behind Morgan Jernfast who led the race from start to finish. Morgan had won the first three heats of the competition crowning him the 2012 UIM World GT15 Championships through some outstanding results.
But Ben’s fight wasn’t over with silver and bronze medal places still to fight for. The British youngster focussed on the task ahead as they went into the fourth and final heat in a bid to bring home a medal.
Heat four saw Ben lead the fleet from start to finish as he drove with skill and desire to take the chequered flag. With the best three results to count Ben was announced runner up and took the silver world medal to join his 2012 European Gold Medal.
On being ranked number one in Europe and number two in the world the twelve year old had this to say: “Of course I’d have liked to have won the World title again we all go out there to race to win but Morgan thoroughly deserved it he raced really well and was great to race against.
“The fleet was really strong and my qualifying time wasn’t great because of the really rough conditions, so I had lots to do to rank in the top six let alone take a podium place. So I’m really happy to have taken the silver medal. It’s been a long couple of weeks and we’ve travelled hundreds of miles so to be able to take European Gold and World Silver home is great.
“My thanks to my parents and Uncle Kelvin and Neil my sponsor from BS Motorsport who have been with me throughout and also to my other sponsors Peters & May Racing, RacingBatteries.co.uk and Tohatsu UK for their continuing support and to everyone at home for all their words of encouragement that have helped me achieve this.”
Nikki Drummond RYA Powerboat Racing Officer commented on Ben’s achievements: “When you look at what Ben has achieved in the last two weeks and how far he’s travelled to do it you have to remember that he is only 12 years old. Taking the European title and silver at the World championships is an enormous achievement and throughout it all he’s represented the Sport of Powerboat Racing, the RYA and Great Britain with maturity and prowess he has a very bright future ahead of him and he’s certainly done us all proud.”
UIM World GT15 Results
1st Morgan Jernfast Sweden 1200 points
2nd Ben Jelf United Kingdom 1000 points
3rd Paul Zujenkov Estonia 750 points
4th Reio Käsnapuu Estonia 694 points
5th Eric Olsson Sweden 335 points
6th Sken Heidermann Estonia 325 points
7th Michelle Knudsen Norway 293 points
8th Andrea Forslund Sweden 230 points
9th Christoffer Sjöberg Sweden 198 points
10th Anton Modin Sweden 136 points
11th Sanne Vik Norway 105 points
12th Joakim Halvorsen Norway 40 points
13th Adam Gustavsson Sweden 30 points
14th Gregor Eevardi Estonia 0 points