A funny thing happened on the way to the finish line of the 26 January Heroes Day East End Surf Challenge jet ski extravaganza.
As the whine of roaring engines grew silent, an unknown stole the show from the remainder of the local riders.
It was the coming out party for 15-year-old Nathan McLean and he took everyone by surprise when he finished third in the Super Stock Class behind First Place Eric Francis of Tony’s Toys and Second Place Curtis Rienburg (both Americans) in the field of 15 riders.
He hasn’t come all the way down to earth yet.
‘Honestly, I was very surprised. I entered just for the fun of it, and to gain some experience,’ said McLean, who first manned a jet ski at age seven. He also added some loot and hardware.
He took away a cash prize, a trophy and a whole lot of bragging rights. His day was not done, either, for he won the coveted Nayaman award given to the rider who races the entire race without backup assistance, displays exceptional sportsman through organized, strong, fearless conduct and shows great tactical manoeuvring on the race course.
Only time will tell, but a sibling rivalry might have broke out. Nathan’s older brother Jordan is a veteran in the sport and one of the hot favourites on Heroes Day, especially after his triumph in the 2008 Jet Around Cayman. Yet Jordan would be trailing his brother to the line in fifth.
‘Oh yeah, it was nice beating him, but I guess he will be coming at me even harder the next time,’ Nathan believes.
And while he credits his brother’s advice with a lot of his success, the younger McLean is obviously charged up for the next encounter, which will probably be the 2009 edition of Jet Around Cayman, the local ‘Super Bowl’ of jet ski racing. He’s pounding the pavement and hitting the weights already.
‘I’m really looking forward to it. I didn’t know quite what to expect in East End because it was my first race and I had some problem mid-way with my endurance, but I’ll be better prepared the next time. East End was really nice, it was a lot of fun and we all had a nice time.’
Speak for yourself, young man. Perhaps not everybody had such an enjoyable time, like those who followed you to the finish line. However, we all know the only thing nicer than ‘Tryin’ a Ting’ is actually succeeding at it.
Nathan has, and when he did, another hand went in the game to be continued on the Queen’s Birthday in June.
Among those that oversaw McLean reach his mark were Head Marshal Tony Coe, Alfred Rankine, Kenroy Watler, Damian Solomon, Sam Rankine, Eric Solomon, Junior Ebanks and Joval Mclaughlin.